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Canyon can finally celebrate a victory
ORANGE - Running back Troy Kurtz rushed for 251 yards and five touchdowns Thursday to help Canyon's football players accomplish something they didn't do all of last season: raise their helmets in victory.
Behind the powerful running of Kurtz and fellow running back Andrew Derlin, the Comanches held on to defeat Fullerton, 35-28, in a wild season-opening game at El Modena.
Canyon finished 0-10 in a challenging 2011 season which included Coach Brent McKee's fight against kidney cancer.
"I've waited so long for this victory — it's just feels so good," Kurtz said. "We've been practicing for 9, 10 months to get to this point. I'm excited for the year."
Canyon (1-0) withstood a furious fourth-quarter push by Fullerton (0-1). The Indians scored 21 points in the final frame, including two scores in a 11-second stretch to trim the Canyon lead to 35-28 with 4:43 left.
The Indians also stopped Canyon on a fourth-and-1 at the Fullerton 16 with 49 seconds left to give themselves one last shot. Fullerton quickly connected on two passes to move to the Canyon 27 with 10 seconds left but its final play ended near Canyon's 22 as time expired.
"We got a zero on our record and it's in the right column," McKee told his players afterward.
Kurtz scored his fifth touchdown on a 10-yard run with 5:54 left in the fourth quarter to give Canyon a 35-14 lead.
The 5-foot-10, 210-pound senior also scored on runs of 5, 34, 45 and 8 yards.
Derlin finished with 119 yards rushing as Canyon racked up 386 yards on the ground.
The Comanches tallied the production despite playing without their top running back, Rob Mallen West (hamstring).
But Kurtz and Derlin found holes thanks to offensive linemen Darien Revis, Lose Moala, Cameron Henry, Ahmad Sunda and Garrett Burrough.
"I just thank my offensive line for that -- it's all them," Kurtz said.
Fullerton quarterback Scott Lloyd helped Fullerton surge in the fourth.
The junior scored on a 4-yard run early in the fourth and later tossed a ï€¸5-yard touchdown pass to running back Jesus Nodarse with 4:54 left to help the Indians cut the deficit to 35-21.
Fullerton recovered the ensuing onside kick, and on the next play, Lloyd tossed a 50-yard touchdown pass to wide out James Hubbard. The junior took a quick out pass and raced along the sideline as the Indians trimmed the Comanches' lead to ï€¸35-28 with 4:43 left.
But Canyon chewed up about the next four minutes before Fullerton got its final chance. Lloyd excelled in the Indians' short passing attack, completing 27 of 32 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns.
Early in the third quarter, Canyon linebacker Matthew Treanor tipped an interception to himself for the only turnover of the game. Kurtz helped the Comanches capitalize with an 8-yard touchdown run for a 28-7 lead with 3:25 left in the third.
The Comanches approached their point total from 2011 in one game. Last season, they scored just 50 points and were shut out four times.
"Going off last year's team, we didn't really have a good attitude going into the games -- it was kind of sluggish," Kurtz said. "But this year, we're just excited. We actually want to play football."
Next week, Canyon plays at San Juan Hills, which also went 0-10 in 2011 but won its season-opener earlier this week.