By Matt Lechuga
For The Signal
It took everything they had, but for the first time since the 2014 season the Canyon Cowboys claimed victory over the Golden Valley Grizzlies, winning on a last-minute nail biter, 24-21, on Friday at Canyon High.
Down 21-17 with 4:12 to play in the game, the Cowboys (5-2, 1-2) started at their own 20-yard line looking to score, but also to drain the clock and ensure Golden Valley didn’t have enough time for its own last-minute scoring drive. The strategy worked as Canyon capped the 10-play drive with a 4-yard rush from Ganisten Turner with 29 seconds left to play.
The Cowboys’ coverage on the ensuing kickoff was superb, downing the Grizzlies at their own 10-yard line, and on the next play Canyon defensive back Ronald Ricks intercepted Golden Valley quarterback Brandon Contreras’ pass to seal the game.
“[Ganisten] did a great job at the end there getting into the hole, getting skinny, and getting in the end zone,” said Cowboys head coach Ken Holsenbeck. “We’re back going strong, getting that run going for the playoffs now. That’s our ultimate goal, to win a CIF championship. Every week we have to continue to improve. The heart and soul of this team is fantastic and they came through with a win tonight.”
The Golden Valley (2-6, 0-4) offense dominated the time of possession game with multiple drives of 10 or more plays and the brunt of the offense went through senior running back Isaiah Orozco, who finished the game with 157 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries.
Down 10-2 at the half, Golden Valley came out strong to start the third quarter, intercepting Canyon quarterback Sebastian Martinez on the Cowboys’ first play. From there on it was the Orozco show as the Grizzlies fed him six straight times until he found the end zone from four yards out to cut the Canyon lead to 10-8.
It was the same to start the fourth quarter as well when Orozco scored from 14 yards out on a sweep to the left, giving the Grizzlies their first lead of the game at 14-10.
“After the game, when you come up short, it doesn’t feel good at all,” said Orozco. “I told my boys that stuff happens. It’s part of life. We came up short but at the end of the day we still have to be structured and our mindset now is, West Ranch, we’re coming.”
The Grizzlies’ lead was short-lived, when Jeremiah Taylor took the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and a Canyon 17-14 lead.
From there Golden Valley went back to the workhorse, feeding Orozco on eight of its next 12 plays until he hit paydirt again on another sweep to the left, this time from 5 yards out, giving the Grizzlies a 21-17 lead they held until there were 29 seconds on the clock and Turner gave the Cowboys the lead back for good.
“It took us some time to get the offense going. At halftime we made some adjustments, and you saw in the second half we were able to put some points on the board,” said Golden Valley head coach Dan Kelley. “We battled back. It came down to whoever had the ball last. They did and they have some great players over there, the coaches have done a great job, so hats off to them.”
Next week Golden Valley will face West Ranch and Canyon will travel to take on Hart.