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The High Schools : Canyon Foes Jumpy Over the Flex

The Flex.

Sounds like a new dance. Or maybe an old one made famous by Chubby Checker.

Come on baby ... let’s do the Flex.

“We’ve been doing it for seven years,” Canyon offensive line coach Brian Stiman said.

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The Flex is fun. The Flex is easier to learn than your ABCs. The Flex often is good for 5 yards and a first down.

Actually, the Flex is a synchronized movement before the snap by the Cowboys’ offensive line. Several teams use similar movement, but Canyon’s is especially crisp.

“The Flex is an identity for our offensive line,” said Stiman, an assistant under Harry Welch the past 7 years. “And I think it has worked to our advantage.”

Hawthorne jumped offside 6 times and was penalized 32 yards in Canyon’s 29-14 Southern Section Division II quarterfinal win 2 weeks ago. Earlier this season, Thousand Oaks jumped offside 11 times. Last year, Pasadena jumped 9 times.

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“We’re happy to get it,” Welch said, “but we don’t really work on it. Once in a while, we go on the first cadence, so they haven’t flexed yet. The other team doesn’t know if we’re going to flex or go on the first cadence, so they jump. They think, ‘I waited last time and got drilled.’ ”

Add Canyon: Although Canyon’s defense has been hurt by injuries, fresh young Cowboys always seem ready to fill the breach.

When knee surgery ended linebacker Justin Lee’s season 4 weeks ago, Scott Blade was promoted from the sophomore team and immediately won praise from Welch, who was especially impressed when the 5-10, 165-pound linebacker tackled Hawthorne quarterback Curtis Conway in the open field. Conway, who placed second in last year’s state 100-meter race, is a Division I college prospect as a quarterback or wide receiver.

“Blade has instinct and moves,” Welch said. “He’s coachable and he’s tough. Some guys you have to coach it into them, but he’s got it.”

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No basketball for White: Russell White, Crespi’s All-American running back, said that he will skip basketball season in order to concentrate on his college choice. White, the state’s all-time rushing and scoring leader, rates among the top prospects in the country.

He has narrowed his choices to USC, Notre Dame, Cal, Penn State and Washington. He said he will make trips to all 5 schools beginning in January.

White first played basketball for the Crespi junior varsity team last season under the stipulation that he promise to play his senior year. But basketball Coach Paul Muff excused White from that promise.

“We didn’t realize last year where he’d be with recruiting,” Muff said. “That obviously is more important to him. I understand and there are no bad feelings.”

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White said that he will compete in track again, concentrating on the 100- and 200-meter dashes and the long jump. White placed second in the triple jump (49 feet, 7 1/4 inches) at the 1987 state championships in Sacramento as a sophomore, but a bruised heel prevented him from competing in the championship meets in that event in 1988.

Concentrating on other events, White ran personal bests of 10.79 seconds in the 100, 21.52 in the 200 and leaped 23-4 in the long jump.

Water laurels: Royal’s Steve Robinson has been named the Marmonte League’s water polo MVP and second team All-Southern Section in the 3-A Division. Robinson’s brother, Jim, earned league MVP last season.

Royal teammate Devon Hurst was third-team All-Southern Section and Todd Hurst was honorable mention. Both are juniors and were named to the all-league first team, as was Highlander goalie Mike Joel.

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Crespi’s Tom Woiwode is third-team All-Southern Section.

Reincarnation: After scoring 23 and 21 points in the first two games of the Simi Valley tournament, Simi Valley junior Steve Carnes posted only 6 in a win over Oxnard in the consolation final. Tough night? Not according to Simi Valley Coach Dean Bradshaw.

“We felt like it was his best game this year,” Bradshaw said. “He played point guard, and that’s a tough position to play if you haven’t played it a lot before. Steve kept us in our offense.”

Actually, Carnes played the point for much of the summer until 6-5 center Mike Wawryk’s family moved north. Carnes, the only returning varsity player from last season’s Southern Section 4-A champion, moved to the wing to better take advantage of his scoring ability. Wawryk, however, has moved back to Simi Valley, which takes some of the scoring load off Carnes. Wawryk had a game-high 27 points Sunday.

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Staff writers Tim Brown, Vince Kowalick and John Lynch contributed to this notebook.


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