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High School Sports

Sierra Canyon makes a statement with victory over Santa Margarita

Sierra Canyon’s DJ Harvey gets airborne after a catch and run
Chatsworth Sierra Canyon’s DJ Harvey gets airborne after a catch and run against Rancho Santa Margarita during a CIF Southern Section playoff game on Friday.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

There was a time Chatsworth Sierra Canyon football was in Division 10 and hardly considered a threat to anyone. That was 10 years ago. Two state titles and four Southern Section titles later, the Trailblazers accomplished something Friday night that sends a clear message where the program is headed: They took down their first Trinity League opponent.

Yes, Santa Margarita (3-8) finished last in the Trinity League, but the Eagles were no easy first-round draw in the newly created Division 2, where the 16-team bracket included eight teams that would normally be in Division 1.

Top-seeded Sierra Canyon (10-1) fell behind in the second quarter before regaining momentum and confidence en route to a 35-21 victory. The Trailblazers will face Vista Murrieta in the quarterfinals. Vista Murrieta won 24-21 on a 34-yard field goal in the final seconds.

One of the reasons Sierra Canyon has put itself in position to win a title is the play of junior quarterback Chayden Peery. In 11 games, he has no interceptions. He completed 20 of 31 passes on Friday for 295 yards and three touchdowns.

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His job is to get the ball to his playmakers.

“We don’t do anything crazy,” Peery said. “I do what my coaches ask me.”

Said Santa Margarita coach Brent Vieselmeyer: “Very efficient. Doesn’t kill them. Does a good job distributing the ball.”

Sierra Canyon burned the Eagles with screens and short passes that were turned into long gains. A 57-yard interception return for a touchdown by DJ Harvey in the fourth quarter clinched the win.

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Donovan Williams caught five passes for 108 yards and had touchdown receptions of 67 and 22 yards. Brendon Gamble was a human battering ram for the Trailblazers, picking up a 30-yard touchdown while running over a few Santa Margarita defenders and later adding a 44-yard run.

Santa Margarita quarterback Colt Fulton passed for 264 yards, including touchdown passes of 66 yards to sophomore Ian Grogan and six yards to Tyler Wetmore, who had eight receptions for 136 yards.

Williams’ 67-yard touchdown reception on the second play of the game -- in which he ran through the Santa Margarita secondary untouched -- might have been a little too much success too early for the Trailblazers. The offense soon went into hibernation mode and Santa Margarita took a 14-7 lead with 4:24 left in the second quarter when Grogan caught a 66-yard touchdown on a blown coverage.

That touchdown woke up the Trailblazers. They responded with a 25-yard touchdown reception by JD Sumlin and a 30-yard touchdown run Gamble for a 21-14 halftime lead. Sierra Canyon had three touchdowns nullified by holding penalties and lost an onside kick.

It was quite a night for first-round games in Division 2, which makes the Southern Section decision to only have an eight-team Division 1 bracket look good. Among the memorable games was Long Beach Poly pulling out a 27-24 overtime win over Orange Lutheran.


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