VALLEJO – On a night when neither the scoreboard nor game clock was functioning at Corbus Field, the American Canyon High football team liked how the actual proceedings on the field transpired in a 41-12 win over the Vallejo Redhawks.
The Wolves are 3-3 overall, having won three straight after an 0-3 start. Most importantly, they have completed the first of the five necessary steps to winning what they hope is their sixth Solano County Athletic Conference title, solo or shared, in as many seasons.
The second step, however, will be a much more stringent test at home next Friday night against Vanden, which defeated Bethel 47-12. The SCAC figures to be a three-horse race once again between American Canyon, Vanden and Benicia, which defeated Fairfield 48-8.
“I think we made some good game-time adjustments,” Wolves head coach Larry Singer said. “We saw them in an even front on film and then they come out in an odd front. They came out in an offense that we hadn’t seen on film. I thought the boys made some good adjustments.
“Vanden is going to be physical. This game was a good way to get tuned up for that.”
To further Singer’s explanation, an even front has the defensive lineman directly in front of his offensive counterpart. In an odd front, the defensive lineman is aligned in a gap.
Defensively, the Wolves allowed 247 yards rushing. But that total was misleading because 170 came on two plays, 85-yard scoring runs by T.Y. Hunter and Elijah Dixon, when the game was long since decided.
Alec Hoover had a tackle for a loss and Malik Maxwell led the Wolves with three impact tackles (gains resulting in 0-3 yards). Alfredo Calderon and Adrian Anicete added two such stops, and Darius Thomas, Brendan Johnson, Derrick Conner, Hunter Snyder, Kekoa Wilson and Hoover each totaled one.
“We tackled better, but we need to tackle and fall forward,” Singer said. “We tend to tackle and fall backward. That extra 1-3 yards against a good team will cost you. It is something we have to work on. Defensively, they did a great job of recognizing things and understanding, ‘hey, this isn’t a big deal. We know what to do.’”
The Wolves started fast, taking a 20-0 lead after one quarter, and were never threatened. Quarterback LaVar Seay set the tone with a 30-yard touchdown run and added another from 48 yards away. Kama Aalona scored on touchdown runs of 28 and 8 yards as well as on an 86-yard kickoff return. Seay also connected with Johnson on a 67-yard touchdown strike.
Though his numbers appear pedestrian with 51 yards on 15 carries, the presence of Eddie Byrdsong continued to be an asset. The Redhawks’ defense keyed on the battering ram, but Aalona, Johnson and Seay saw lanes open up like hospitality suites.
“Kama can run for days,” Singer said. “You’re not going to catch him. I think having a dynamic runner like Eddie and two more dynamic guys back there is going to help us every week. We’re only going to get better.”
What also pleased Singer was Aalona’s kickoff return TD. Last season, the Wolves had seven such scoring plays. Singer believes that element could be advantageous in future contests.
“We haven’t been real productive on special teams as far as taking advantage of those opportunities, so that was a big boost for us,” Singer said. “We have been emphasizing it the last couple weeks.”
American Canyon JV 30, Vallejo 0
The Wolves limited Vallejo to a meager 10 yards of offense on 35 snaps. Linebacker James Larson had four tackles for losses and three impact tackles. Ezekiel Anderson, Vance Eschenburg, Ronald Hamilton and Vincent Espejo each had one tackle for lost yardage. Alexander Guevara had three impact tackles, and Eschenburg, Hamilton and Espejo each added one. Hamilton recovered a fumble, and Larson also intercepted a pass.
Led by the offensive line of Jeffrey Brown, Juan Hurtado, Daniel Luu, Davion Salanga and Hamilton, American Canyon ran for 402 yards.
Justin Del Rosario had 218 yards on 12 carries, including a 54-yard scoring run. Del Rosario also booted a 26-yard field goal and made good on three extra points. Larson scored on a 46-yard run, and Eschenburg scored from 11 yards away. Quarterback Nate Countoriotis connected with Kaave Gaviola for a 9-yard scoring pass.