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COACH OF THE YEAR

Canyon Melds Under Welch

January 03, 2006|Dan Loumena

If you want to judge your program on an annual basis, there's no better place to start than scheduling Newhall Hart and Valencia.

Hart defeated Southern Section Division I champion Los Angeles Loyola, 14-7, in nonleague play and snapped a 26-game winning streak by Mission Viejo with a 24-12 victory in the Division II playoffs. Valencia defeated the Serra League's La Puente Bishop Amat and Bellflower St. John Bosco by a combined score of 65-24 in nonleague play.

Canyon Country Canyon, which was 13-1 this season, has a record of 6-2 the last three seasons against Hart and Valencia, beating each twice this season while capturing the league and Division II championships. The accomplishment has landed Canyon's Harry Welch as The Times' coach of the year.

"If you were looking for a team with a bunch of guys who were going to be stars [in college] on Saturday, this might not have been the team," said Welch, who guided the Cowboys to three section titles in a row in the 1980s. "This was a great high school football team.

"We were effective in all three areas of football. Our kicking game and special teams became very effective. I was real proud of the defense. I'm not sure there were any tougher teams. We were very quick and smart."

The Cowboys will be a formidable opponent next season, with star running back J.J. DiLuigi returning along with Canyon's top four offensive linemen and several defensive starters.

-- Dan Loumena

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