SCV Football Scoring Big
November, 2004 - Issue #2
What an incredible first month of football. In the 15 games played by Canyon, Hart, Santa Clarita Christian, Saugus and Valencia high schools, plus the four games played by College of the Canyons, football in Santa Clarita is a combined 17-2.

The month of September saw the resurgence of Saugus football, a Valencia quarterback that continues to amaze, a new star running back at Canyon, a quarterback controversy at Hart, a Cardinals team that is proving 2003 was no fluke, and a junior college football team that is proving it is second to none in the national polls.

Hart High

The Hart Indians are the defending CIF Division II champions, but many of their big strike weapons from the 2003 squad have moved on. A midsummer's quarterback controversy between senior Robbie Moore and junior Tyler Lyon faded away as Lyon began taking more snaps during passing tournaments. Lyon had a great first game, a 55-20 win over Moorpark in which he was 20-of-33 for 357 yards and two touchdowns. The second game against Division IV power St. Bonaventure proved to be a different story as Lyon slumped off the field with a mild concussion and bruised ribs. The Seraphs beat Hart (2-1) at home 38-29. Lyon rebounded the following week against Westlake, completing 17-of-31 for 260 yards in the 32-14 Indian win.

Valencia High

After a sensational sophomore season in which he earned all-state honors, Michael Herrick could have been excused for slipping into a "junior jinx." Coming off his first year as the Vikings' quarterback and completing 65-percent of his passes for nearly 3,200 yards, Head Coach Brian Stiman and staff knew defenses will be coming after Herrick. Instead, the 6-foot-1, 155-pound quarterback has been spectacular in helping the Vikings go 3-0. Herrick has completed 66-percent of his passes in 2004 for 960 yards and 12 touchdowns, spreading his passes out evenly to Jason Trujillo (17 receptions), Shane Morales (14) and Chris Wright (13). What may be the best offensive surprise for the Vikings has been the emergence of sophomore running back Shane Vereen, who ran for over 100 yards in each of his first two games.

Canyon High

With five different players from last year's CIF semi-finalist team going on to play college football, the assumption of a talent drop-off could be made for Canyon. But Head Coach Harry Welch has re-created "Cowboy football" - the mystique that helped carry Welch and the Cowboys to three straight CIF titles in the mid-80s. Leading the charge is Justin Williams, a 5-foot-9, 200-pound running back who has rushed for 603 yards and 12 TDs in the Cowboys' (3-0) first three games. And Canyon fans are thrilled with the return of wide receiver/kick returner Dejon Negron. The senior leads the team in receptions (11) and has a punt return average of over 30 yards per return and a kickoff return average of nearly 30 yards.

Yet the Cowboys have been hit hard by the injury bug, the most recent to senior center Ryan Bremler who broke his ankle in week three's win against Simi Valley. Eight different starters have now fallen to injury for the Cowboys.

Saugus High

The Saugus Centurions have had back-to-back 2-8 seasons in the last two years. Ron Hilton stepped down as head coach of the football team in the summer of 2003, leaving his successor, Jason Bornn, very little time to prepare his new charges. The result was a 2-8 team that lost every single league game (0-5) to close the season.

2004 promised to be different as Bornn now had the off-season to prepare his team. Call it the Bornn Identity if you want, but the kids have responded. In the first three games of the season, the Centurions are 3-0. They have outscored their opponents 106-39 and average 244 yards rushing the football per game. Three-year returning quarterback Travis Babin, however, has a partially torn ACL, leaving the quarterbacking duties to junior Zach Summers, a 6-foot-3, 170-pound slinger who appears very confident in his role. One of his best weapons lines up behind him; running back Zach Schafer has 272 yards rushing and has averaged over eight yards per carry in the first three games.

Santa Clarita Christian

Santa Clarita Christian had the school's best odds of football ever in 2003 when the Cardinals advanced to the CIF Eight-Man Large School Championship. The nucleus of that team returns with quarterback/linebacker Stephen Mercier and running back/linebacker Orlando Pena. Week three saw the Cardinals get tripped up by the only team that beat them during the regular season last year - Thacher. Yet injuries have hurt Garrick Moss' team as well. The good news is those injuries are mostly strains and sprains.

College of the Canyons

The College of the Canyons Cougars have been dominating in their first four games of the 2004 campaign. As with each of the seven years Head Coach Chuck Lyon has been in charge of the program, the Cougars stared the season with two quarterbacks - Cory Miles (Westlake/Ventura College) and Marcel Marquez (Notre Dame). After Marquez injured his hand, Miles took over the position full-time and has not disappointed. His favorite target has become Tyrell Smith, the sophomore who leads the state with 43 receptions in the first four weeks. Against Pierce College in week three, Smith set a new Cougars' single-game record catching 13 passes. Smith is making his case known he is a junior college football All-American candidate, and with the Cougars ranked number-one in the nation, there may be no reason to think otherwise.

League play and conference play are right around the corner. It's going to be a great finish.

• David Caldwell is the sports director at KHTS AM-1220, Santa Clarita's hometown station.
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