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Deer Valley 36, American Canyon 21

American Canyon's offense sputters in 36-21 season-opening loss to Deer Valley

From the Napa Valley Prep Football 2018: Week 1 Review series
  • Updated

AMERICAN CANYON — The Deer Valley-Antioch High School football team was delayed getting to American Canyon because of its bus breaking down.

The game started 25 minutes late as a result.

However, when Friday night’s game began, it was the American Canyon Wolves that had the look of a malfunctioning engine in a 36-21 defeat to the Wolverines in head coach John Montante’s debut as American Canyon head coach.

The Wolves’ problems were rooted in turnovers and a slow starting defense that had little success slowing down the Deer Valley offense, especially in the first half. On the game’s opening possession, the Wolverines marched 14 plays and 80 yards to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

American Canyon committed four turnovers, but it was essentially seven when one factored in three onside kicks recovered by the Wolverines. In the first quarter, Deer Valley ran 26 plays to American Canyon’s two.

“It’s hard to score when you never have the ball,” Montante said. “I give them credit. They did it better than we did, so we have to fix that.”

Once the Wolves got their hands on the ball, they moved it pretty solidly, generating 276 yards despite the lack of ball possession in the first quarter. Three untimely turnovers in the red zone (inside the 20) were another portion of the Wolves’ undoing.

“When we had the ball, we were moving it,” Montante said. “They didn’t really stop our offense, we stopped ourselves. It was turnovers and other mistakes that could have been avoided.”

The Wolves’ offense did not have one player putting up gaudy numbers. Rather, it was a mixture of Justin Del Rosario (seven carries, 53 yards), Eddie Byrdsong (11 carries, 46 yards), Darius Thomas (nine carries, 44 yards) and Vance Eschenburg (nine carries, 32 yards). Eschenburg completed 3 of 4 passes for 71 yards.

For Deer Valley, it was a mixture of Joshua Scott running quarterback power and running back Patrick Robinson out of the pistol. The former carried 29 times for 216 yards and the latter amassed 150 yards on 24 carries.

“We had guys in position and it didn’t happen,” Montante said. “The key was there and it wasn’t triggered, but that’s on me because there was a disconnect where we thought we had it covered in practice and it didn’t produce.”

Scott scored on runs of 2, 4, 5 and 9 yards. Robinson scored on an 11-yard run.

For American Canyon, Thomas scored on a 2-yard run, DelRosario crossed the goal-line from 5 yards out, and Eschenburg connected with Kaave Gaviola on a 26-yard touchdown pass.

Defensively for the Wolves, Derrick Conner had three tackles for losses, and Billy Biondini, Alec Hoover, Alec Tadlip and Ronald Hamilton each had one. Hamilton and Thomas each had two impact tackles (gains resulting in 0-3 yards), and Brandon Seay and Conner each had one.

The road gets no easier for the Wolves this Friday, when they travel to perennial powerhouse Inderkum-Sacramento.

When asked what he hopes to find out about his team, Montante answered with, “How resilient they are.”

NOTE: There was no JV game based on Deer Valley not having enough players to field a team.

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