Canyon High got the two things it wanted most from Friday night's game at La Canada: a win and a strong defensive performance.
The outcome of the game was never in question. Canyon ran away from the Spartans, 42-6. The victory extended the Cowboys' win streak to 40 games.
Canyon's offensive prowess was expected. But Cowboy Coach Harry Welch was happier about his defense. After giving up 450 yards and 32 points against Hart last week, Canyon allowed La Canada only 136 total yards and held the Spartans scoreless for the last three quarters.
La Canada is no Hart, but Welch said his young defense needs all the confidence-builders it can get.
"They are such inexperienced kids. This will help their confidence," Welch said.
Before the game, first-year Spartan Coach Steve Gillette had hoped to surprise the Canyon defenders with some trick plays on offense.
But about the only surprises La Canada could offer came from its punting team--and they weren't pleasant surprises.
Three minutes into the game, Chad Lems blocked a Spartan punt at the 19 yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Ken Sollom scored from the one.
La Canada looked as if it might keep pace, at least for the first five minutes of the game. Junior quarterback Mark Hansen directed a seven-play, 72-yard touchdown drive on the Spartan's second possession. Hansen passed to Dave Paladino for the score.
From then on, it was all Canyon.
In fact, the Cowboys scored every time they touched the ball in the first half. After their opening touchdown, the Cowboys scored on drives of 72, 63 and 36 yards.
Then, with seconds remaining in the half, the center's snap sailed over the head of La Canada's punter. The Cowboys pounced on the ball at La Canada's 10-yard line and scored on the next play. Canyon led at the half, 35-6.
After halftime, both teams turned as cold as the night air. Canyon scored the only second-half touchdown in the third quarter.
La Canada coach Steve Gillette complained to Welch after the game that the Cowboys had run up the score.
"Look, Harry, I'm trying to build a program here and you're trying to rub it in," Gillette complained. "It was in poor taste."
Welch remained philosophical.
"The reality is, had we wanted to, we could have scored four or five more times," he said.
Canyon, of the Golden League, is 2-0. La Canada, of the Rio Hondo League, is 1-1.