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Canyon KOs Palmdale With Right Cross, 42-21

Times Staff Writer

Canyon High halfback Lance Cross had not been himself all season. And it was making Coach Harry Welch very cross, indeed.

Welch remembered the Cross who rushed for 2,440 yards as a sophomore and junior, the Cross who bounced off defenders like a pinball, the Cross who at 5-7 and 160 pounds embodied Canyon’s overwhelming will to win.

A combination of injuries and an admitted lack of motivation had reduced Cross to an average back, though. He had only 504 yards in nine games and often appeared to be picking his way through holes rather than bursting through them.

Lance Cross found himself Friday night. And after losing its own identity last week--the 46-game winning streak--Canyon found itself with a 42-21 win at home over Palmdale.

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On his second carry, Cross careened off two Palmdale players, kept his balance, and dashed 57 yards for a touchdown. He finished with 120 yards on 15 carries and also scored Canyon’s last touchdown.

“We’ve been working on my running all week,” Cross said. “I wasn’t being aggressive. The injuries were part of it, but I just wasn’t preparing the way I should have been.”

A few heart-to-heart chats with Welch this week helped.

“Lance and I spent breakfast, lunch and dinner going over things,” Welch said. “Some were nice fatherly discussions and some were ugly.”

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But there was nothing ugly about the way both Cross and Welch smiled after the game.

The score was somewhat deceiving. Sure, Canyon took a 28-7 lead into the fourth quarter, but Palmdale scored twice to cut the margin to seven. Canyon was faced with a third-and-11 from midfield with 3 minutes to go in the game when quarterback Ken Sollom and wide receiver Chad Zeigler connected on a 34-yard pass play. Paul Chadwell scored on a 17-yard run on the next play and Canyon had a comfortable 36-21 lead.

“It was supposed to be a short pattern,” Welch said of the 34-yard pass play. “That was Ken and Chad knowing one another well enough to adjust mid-play. Certainly, it was the game’s key play.”

Zeigler, who dropped three passes and was visibly frustrated most of the evening, also made a 10-yard touchdown catch. Sollom was 11 for 25 for 213 yards and two touchdowns.

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Palmdale (6-4 overall, 3-2 in the Golden League) was successful on two fake punts, scored on a pitch-pass and rushed for more than 230 yards.


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