Sierra Canyon football beats Notre Dame/Sherman Oaks and wins the Mission League
The Sierra Canyon football team came full circle this regular season. The Trailblazers started 1-3 overall and the sky was falling.
However, head coach Jon ELlinghouse wouldn’t let the rough times continue. Ellinghouse and the coaching staff stepped up its game and the players kept working.
It all culminated Friday night in a 42-21 Mission League victory against Notre Dame. Not only did the Trailblazers win their fourth game in a row, they earned an outright league championship after Serra came back on the road to beat Chaminade,
“The kids and the coaches all got better,” Ellinghouse said. “It was a rough start but maybe we aren’t here without it. Everybody kept showing up and wanted to turn it around. I like where we are at. We want to keep it going.”
Sierra Canyon (6-4, 4-1) found itself scratching its head after losses to JSerra, Oaks Christian and Mission Viejo. The team was 1-3 and nobody was sure of anything moving forward. A victory against Westlake was a step in the right direction and Sierra Canyon dominated Bishop Amat for 41 minutes before blowing a 14-point lead and missing three field goals in regulation, the first overtime and second overtime. Despite the loss to open up league play, Ellinghouse knew the team was coming together.
“We were getting healthy and learning how to play our way,” Ellinghouse said. “That loss was very tough but we knew where we were going and more importantly how to get there.”
Sierra Canyon hasn’t lost a game since. Wins over Alemany, Serra, Chaminade and Notre Dame have made Sierra Canyon the team no program wants to play November 4th in the Division 2 playoffs. Sierra Canyon is clearly getting better and better and trending in the right direction.
Once again, Friday night, against Notre Dame it was the Dunn and Cooks show.
Dane Dunn, a sophomore, rushed for 193 yards on 19 carries with four touchdowns. Terrell Cooks gained 102 yards on eight carries and found paydirt on a 60-yard score.
Alonzo Esparza completed 9 of 14 passes for 149 yards, including a 35-yard scoring strike to BYU-bound wide receiver JoJo Phillips. Phillps finished with 59 yards on three catches.
The defense was stout, as always. Madden Riordan and Nevada Miller each had interceptions and Notre Dame gained just 49 yards rushing on 26 carries. Sierra Canyon had 12 tackles for loss, including five sacks.
“It all starts up front,” Ellinghouse said. “We did a good job controlling the line of scrimmage and getting a good push off the ball.”
Wyatt Becker was the lone bright spot for the Knights completing 13 of 22 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
Sierra Canyon now waits its fate Sunday when the Southern Section releases its playoff brackets.