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ED CRISOSTOMO, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Canyon's Charlie Treanor, center, celebrates with teammates Chris Tsirtsis, left, and Daniel Malinowski after returning an interception for a touchdown against Foothill. Canyon has a 3-2 record and is ranked No. 1 this week in the Southern Division.

Albano notes: Tough schedule paying off for Canyon

STAFF WRITER

Canyon’s football team is showing what a challenging nonleague schedule and strong senior leadership can accomplish.

The Comanches have used those ingredients to post a 3-2 record and rise to No. 1 in their playoff division heading into their rivalry game Thursday against Villa Park (5-0) at El Modena.

Canyon notched arguably its biggest victory of the season this past Friday by defeating Foothill, 31-17.The Comanches snapped a five-year losing streak against their ex-Century League rival.

Canyon lost to seventh-ranked San Juan Hills, 32-14, and Edison, 35-0, in consecutive games in early September.

San Juan Hills and Edison reside in the West Valley Division, considered the equivalent of Division II for the playoffs and a much higher grouping than the Southern Division.

“The tough schedule is definitely paying off,” said Canyon second-year coach Mike Ogas, whose team is ranked No. 1 this week in the Southern Division.

“Having played San Juan Hills and Edison, and you play Foothill and Villa Park and they’re not quite as good as Edison and San Juan Hills. We expect to have success … If you can kind of fight through that tough schedule and get through it with minimal injuries, it does definitely pay off.”

Ogas, son of former Santa Ana College coach Dave Ogas, saw the benefits of a challenging schedule last season. The Comanches fell to San Juan Hills and Los Alamitos while going 1-6 in nonleague games, but went 3-0 in the North Hills League and reached the Southern Division semifinals.

Ogas’ relationships with San Juan Hills coach Aaron Flowers and Edison coach Dave White has helped with scheduling. He was college roommates with Flowers and played for White at Edison.

“Their program is where we want to be eventually,” Ogas said of Edison.

Canyon also is relying on its senior leaders who gained valuable experience last season. Ogas said seniors Charlie Treanor, Trace Hobbs, Jason Harman, Avery Jones and Blake Suttle have led the way.

Harman, Canyon’s quarterback, passed for 280 yards and three touchdowns against Foothill and also rushed for 88 yards. Middle linebacker Luke Boyd added seven tackles, and two-way standout Treanor forced a fumble, returned an interception for a touchdown and rushed for a season-high 121 yards.

“We have really good senior leadership, and because of that we have really good chemistry,” Ogas said. “We’re playing pretty well right now. The kids play really hard. They believe that we can beat just about anybody we play. … They’re learning how to win.”

MODSTER UPDATE

Tesoro quarterback Devon Modster, who suffered a shoulder injury this past Friday in a victory against San Clemente, said Monday he expects to play Friday this week. The Titans (5-1) take on El Toro (4-2) on Friday in the teams’ South Coast League opener.

“Nothing major,” Modster, a senior, said Monday night. “Feeling a lot better. … I'll play.”

The Arizona commit was expected to undergo a medical exam Monday, Titans coach Matt Poston said over the weekend.

NEW RECEIVERS AT BUENA PARK

Touted junior receivers Taariq Johnson (6-3, 220) of Hawkins of Los Angeles and Victor Bates (6-0, 175) of Lakewood have enrolled at Buena Park, Coyotes coach Anthony White confirmed.

White said Johnson didn’t play this season for Hawkins and arrived at Buena Park about three weeks ago. Johnson, who had four catches for 58 yards against Western last week, reportedly has offers from Notre Dame, Michigan and Tennessee among others.

Bates’ first day at Buena Park (4-1) was Monday. He has been offered by Oregon State, White said. The coach said he didn’t know what Bates’ status would be for the Coyotes’ Freeway League opener Friday at Fullerton (4-1).

NOTES

Tustin senior Alema Pilimai has committed to Utah as an outside linebacker, Tillers coach Winter Welz said. … Pacifica (4-1) broke into the Southwest rankings Monday at No. 10 after its 67-21 victory against Westminster. … Running back Jahquon Speed and Darren Sandoval get plenty of attention for Valencia (5-0), but linebacker Jacob Briggs is another player to watch. The senior leads the Tigers in tackles and receiving yards (373).

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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