Canyon High will play for high stakes in the high desert Friday night when it attempts to extend its winning streak to a Southern Section record 47 games at Antelope Valley.
The Cowboys, ranked No. 1 in the area by The Times, last week equaled the record set from 1969 to 1973 by Temple City with a victory over Quartz Hill. A win would also tie the state record set by Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa from 1972 to 1977. It is almost incidental that the game will be for the Golden League title.
Antelope Valley, ranked fifth in the Coastal Conference, was the victim in game Nos. 2, 20, 34 and 38 of Canyon's streak. The Antelopes came closest to beating the Cowboys in last season's Northwestern Conference title game when they lost, 9-7. Most key players are back from that team, a fact that has Canyon Coach Harry Welch fearful.
"They scare the hell out of me," Welch said. "We don't match up well on paper. Their four interior people on defense overmatch our offensive line and they have more overall speed."
Several people who know both teams believe Antelope Valley can end the streak. "Canyon had better be ready or the streak is going to go up in smoke," said Burroughs of Ridgecrest Coach Gene Vejtasa, whose team has been beaten by Canyon (8-0, 3-0) and Antelope Valley (6-1-1, 3-0).
Antelope Valley's offense is explosive and the game could be as high-scoring as Canyon's 42-32 season-opening win over Hart.
Tailback Eric Mortensen has rushed for 1,035 yards and scored 16 touchdowns on 152 carries. Fullback Byron Russell has 530 yards and gained 181 on six carries last week. Quarterback Ron Whipple has passed for 814 yards and nine touchdowns. Wide receiver Shon Grimes has caught 33 passes and has averaged 12 yards per punt return.
Antelope Valley Coach Brent Newcomb would rather talk about the linebackers in his split-6 defensive alignment, however. "Mike Stewart and Billy Wilson have that look in their eyes like they want to make every tackle," he said.
Stewart and Wilson use tackles James Richards and Brian Cardwell, both of whom are 240 pounds, to shield themselves from blockers. "They are a couple of telephone poles in there," Newcomb said of the linemen. Because Richards and Cardwell don't rush the passer very quickly, Antelope Valley can be expected to blitz often.
"Canyon has a superior passing attack," Newcomb said. "We'll use different stunts, let them have the short stuff and hopefully won't get beat on a big play."
Canyon quarterback Ken Sollom, the Southern Section's leading passer with 1,854 yards and 19 touchdowns, does not call an audible when he believes a blitz is coming. "Our linemen and running backs adjust and pick up the blitz," he said. "The play never changes."
Sollom's favorite receiver, cousin Chad Zeigler, returned last week after missing three games with a head injury and caught two touchdown passes in the first quarter. Canyon's other wide receiver, Trevor Doyle, leads the area with 750 yards receiving.
All of Canyon's starters at skill positions--including running backs Lance Cross and Paul Chadwell--are returning starters who have never lost to the Antelopes. Yet no one is taking them lightly.
"This is a totally new deal for us and them," Cross said. "There is no relation between this game and any other we've played."
The Cowboys just hope the result is familiar.
CANYON'S WINNING STREAK
OCTOBER, 1983, TO PRESENT
Date Opponent Score Oct. 7, 1983 Dominguez 34-0 Oct. 14 Antelope Valley 14-6 Oct. 21 Palmdale 21-7 Oct. 28 Saugus 52-13 Nov. 4 Burroughs (R) 33-20 Nov. 11 Quartz Hill 40-21 Nov. 18 Blair 41-20 Nov. 25 Mary Star 14-7 Dec. 2 Monrovia 27-25 Dec. 10 Bishop Montgomery 40-24 Sept. 7, 1984 Hart 21-6 Sept. 14 St. Genevieve 46-7 Sept. 21 Thousand Oaks 19-14 Sept. 28 Notre Dame 20-7 Oct. 5 Crespi 46-0 Oct. 12 Palmdale 47-3 Oct. 19 Saugus 35-6 Oct. 26 Burroughs (R) 21-0 Nov. 2 Quartz Hill 28-6 Nov. 9 Antelope Valley 26-14 Nov. 16 St. Joseph 8-7 Nov. 23 St. Bernard 19-9 Nov. 30 Atascadero 27-6 Dec. 7 Santa Maria 33-6 Sept. 13, 1985 Hart 6-3 Sept. 20 La Canada 35-9 Sept. 27 Thousand Oaks 21-0 Oct. 4 Notre Dame 21-14 Oct. 11 Crespi 35-0 Oct. 18 Palmdale 14-0 Oct. 25 Saugus 42-0 Nov. 1 Burroughs (R) 62-6 Nov. 8 Quartz Hill 33-0 Nov. 15 Antelope Valley 30-6 Nov. 22 Serra 53-0 Nov. 29 Santa Maria 35-7 Dec. 6 Lompoc 30-6 Dec. 13 Antelope Valley 9-7 Sept. 12, 1986 Hart 42-32 Sept. 19 La Canada 42-6 Sept. 26 Thousand Oaks 26-7 Oct. 3 Notre Dame 28-7 Oct. 10 Alemany 21-3 Oct. 17 Saugus 40-7 Oct. 24 Burroughs (R) 35-3 Oct. 31 Quartz Hill 45-13
CANYON VS. ANTELOPE VALLEY
School Rushing Passing Total Yds. Avg. Pts. Scored Canyon 1,172 1,885 3,057 382.1 279 Antelope Valley 1,803 943 2,746 343.2 237
School Rushing Passing Total Yds. Avg. Pts. Against Canyon 593 1,068 1,661 207.6 78 Antelope Valley 947 763 1,710 213.7 105
Those who coached Temple City to a 46-game streak never thought it would be topped. / Page 8