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Zacharia Leads Canyon to a 53-0 Rout Over Serra

Times Staff Writer

Whoever matched Canyon against Serra in the first round of the Northwestern Conference playoffs must be a pretty sadistic character.

Putting a top-seeded Canyon team, which was riding a 34-game win streak, against a wildcard team was like throwing a piece of meat to a kennel full of hungry pit bulls.

Canyon scored on its third play of the game and continued the assault throughout Friday night’s game. The result was a 53-0 laugher.

Serra Coach Dale Washburn, however, wasn’t exactly hysterical after the beating.

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“Going into the game I really thought we had a chance,” he said. “But we just stunk up the place and they really kicked our butts.”

Canyon noseguard Joe Zacharia did more than his share of the kicking. The 6-foot, 206-pound senior blocked one Cavalier punt out of the end zone for a safety and deflected another punt, which resulted in an eight-yard return for a touchdown by Chad Zeigler.

But Zacharia’s path of destruction was not just limited to Serra’s special teams. He also recovered a fumble and sacked quarterback Darryl Jackson three times.

Zacharia’s performance overshadowed the solid play of linebacker Randy Austin, who normally draws most of the attention from the Cowboys’ opposition.

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“Randy is a greata player, but I want what’s coming to me, too,” said Zacharia. “I’m just going to keep giving the people a show and continue playing crazy until I do.”

Defense was never a concern for Canyon Coach Harry Welch. The Cowboys entered the game with the Valley area’s top defense, yielding only 132 yards per game. Against Serra, they gave up 119 in recording their sixth shutout of the season.

There were still some doubts about the Canyon offense, which was entering the playoffs without the services of standout quarterback John Watkins, who had passed for 1,178 yards. He fractured his wrist last week against Antelope Valley, leaving the job to junior Ken Sollom, who passed only 28 times during the regular season.

Sollom responded by completing 10 of 17 passes for 163 yards and 1 touchdown.

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His performance didn’t surprise Welch.

“He’s like Johnny Unitas out there,” Welch said. “Ken just goes out there and guns the ball. He was sensational tonight. Even his incomplete passes were beautiful.”

Canyon also received exceptional performances from the other members of the backfield. Tailback Lance Cross, who gained 982 yards and scored 13 touchdowns during the regular season, rushed for 45 yards on 10 carries and scored 2 touchdowns, both on two-yard runs. Fullback Paul Chadwell added 62 yards on five carries and scored on runs of 23 and 32 yards.

The Cowboys, who have won the last two Northwestern Conference titles, will travel to Santa Maria next week to play Santa Maria High in the second round of the playoffs.

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