Advertisement
Share

Sierra Canyon has it all working in 42-0 rout of Oaks Christian

Sierra Canyon’s Jason Jones runs for a first down against Oaks Christian in the first quarter March 26, 2021, in Chatsworth.
Sierra Canyon’s Jason Jones runs for a first down against Oaks Christian in the first quarter March 26, 2021, in Chatsworth.
(Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

Heading into the delayed and shortened 2020-21 football season, the lingering question surrounding Chatsworth Sierra Canyon was how the Trailblazers would absorb the loss of four All-CIF players off last year’s Division 1-AA state finalist.

The first two games — a 42-21 setback to reigning CIF Open Division state bowl champion Bellflower St. John Bosco and a 56-0 shutout of Playa del Rey St. Bernard — provided no definitive answer. However, Friday night’s 42-0 trouncing of powerhouse Westlake Village Oaks Christian was proof that the Trailblazers can line up opposite the elites in the Southern Section’s top division.

Avenging a 21-14 nonleague defeat in 2019 — its only regular-season blemish one year ago — Sierra Canyon was impressive in all three phases in building a 21-0 halftime lead. By intermission Jason Jones had rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns, Virginia Tech signee DJ Harvey had a 48-yard touchdown catch, a sack and an interception, while kicker Josh Bryan, a Notre Dame commit, had four touchbacks and was three for three on extra points. Jones closed the scoring with a 62-yard scoring reception late in the third quarter.

Sometimes teams bond more after a disappointing loss than a rousing win and that was the case for Sierra Canyon after its opener.

Advertisement

“We competed with the best team in the nation for a half,” Harvey said of the St. John Bosco game. “We were being negative and getting down on each other a little bit but the St. Bernard game was a learning lesson. That turned us around.”

Oaks Christian (2-1) figured to have the advantage at quarterback with returner Cole Tannenbaum, but he completed only six of his 13 pass attempts in the first half and had two passes intercepted.

Sierra Canyon newcomer Daniel Duran, meanwhile, completed nine of 16 throws for more than 150 yards in the first half and threw a 52-yard scoring strike to Harvey on the third play of the third quarter. He had amassed more than 300 yards in the air through three quarters.

Advertisement

Despite returning nine starters on both sides of the ball, 14-year head coach Jon Ellinghouse had to replace graduated linebacker JD Hernandez and running back/cornerback Brendon Gamble, and deal with the loss of quarterback Chayden Peery (an early enrollee to Georgia Tech) and running back JD Sumlin, who transferred to Mission Hills Bishop Alemany.

“I was super impressed with Daniel [Duran] and have been ever since he got here,” Ellinghouse said. “He’s got a great arm and he’s a great talent. After the first week, we felt we could’ve played [Bosco] even tougher but I was really proud of all the kids tonight. We dominated every facet of the game.”

Ellinghouse was anticipating a competitive game and worried about the Lions’ talented tailback tandem of junior Derek Boyd, who already has offers from Boise State and Oregon State, and senior Semaj Freeman (Nevada and New Mexico). The two combined for 13 rushing touchdowns last year but were held under 100 combined yards Friday.

“DJ [Harvey] loves to compete and he’s what this program is all about,” Ellinghouse said. “He did it all. He’s like a son to me.”

Advertisement

Sierra Canyon bolstered its lineup with seven key transfers, including four from Sherman Oaks Notre Dame: running back Anthony Spearman, who scored on a 10-yard run in the third quarter Friday; receiver/defensive back Elias Larry; his younger brother Ezekiel Larry, a linebacker/defensive end; and tight end Henry Deakins.

Junior Amari Powell, who transferred from Sierra Canyon to Oaks Christian, replaced Tannenbaum in the third quarter and drove the Lions inside the Sierra Canyon 10-yard line, but on fourth down Powell’s former team tackled Carson Schwesinger at the seven-yard line on a fake field goal.

“I think we’ve shown so far this season that we can compete with any team out there,” Ellinghouse said.

Advertisement

Oaks Christian quarterback Cole Tannenbaum throws a pass against Sierra Canyon Friday night in Chatsworth.
Oaks Christian quarterback Cole Tannenbaum throws a pass against Sierra Canyon Friday night in Chatsworth.
(Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)


Advertisement