AMERICAN CANYON — In a 34-0 win at Petaluma High the week before, the American Canyon offense hadn’t looked at full strength.
The Wolves looked literally twice as dominant Friday night, showing their full might in a 68-0 blasting of Sonoma Valley at Wolf Den Stadium in their homecoming game.
“Sonoma has some scrappy kids over there that played hard, and they’ve had a rough season. I’ve been there. In this profession, sometimes you eat and sometimes you get eaten,” American Canyon head coach John Montante said. “Our kids worked hard and it was really, really good to see their work pay off on homecoming. I wish Sonoma luck going forward. They have some good kids over there.”
The Dragons (1-5, 0-2 VVAL) were the recipients of a rout for the third straight week, having lost 71-0 to Piner two weeks ago and then 62-19 to Napa High.
Sonoma Valley moved the ball well on its first play, as former Justin-Siena running back Francisco Morales took a counter around the left side for 13 yards. But it would be one of only a handful of solid gains for the Dragons, who quickly had to punt and let the Wolves’ offense go to work.
Vance Eschenburg connected on two deep passes to open the drive and Kaave Gaviola added his first touchdown of the game on a 7-yard rush to the right side of the end zone.
American Canyon (6-0, 2-0 VVAL), which has started slow offensively in the first quarter for most of the season, struggled to move the ball after Gaviola’s score. Each defense played well to finish the first quarter, as each offense turned over the ball on downs.
But the Wolves struck again early in the second quarter when Gaviola pounded his way inside for a 3-yard touchdown run. On the ensuing kickoff, the ball landed right in front of a Sonoma Valley player and bounced into the hands of American Canyon’s Justin Del Rosario. On the next play, Wolves quarterback Vance Eschenburg found Gaviola wide open down the left side of the field for a 27-yard touchdown pass.
“I felt like we finally did what we needed to do,” Eschenburg said. “The past weeks, we were never content with what we did, and tonight we did exactly what we’re supposed to do on offense.”
The Dragons were never able to recover from the shellshock of 14 points being scored in under 10 seconds. Eschenburg sliced up the Sonoma Valley defense on the following drive, finding Del Rosario on a slant route to put up American Canyon 28-0.
For the second straight week, Montante managed the clock to perfection before halftime as the Wolves quickly stopped the Dragons and got the ball back with less than two minutes left. Eschenburg then picked up his third passing touchdown of the game, with Del Rosario the target of the 12-yard throw, for a 35-0 halftime lead.
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With a running clock not required until the fourth quarter, the Wolves remained red hot during their first drive of the second half. Eschenburg capped it with a 1-yard quarterback keeper to make it 42-0. The senior finished 11 of 20 passing for 132 yards and added 64 rushing on 10 carries. The Wolves had 449 yards of total offense, compared to only 32 for the Dragons. It was the second straight week American Canyon’s defense held the opponent to under 100 total yards.
The Wolves showed depth at their running back position, as their top two rushers played mainly in the second half. Ezekiel Anderson was quiet for most of the game, but the junior running back broke free with a 69-yard touchdown run in the third quarter for a 49-0 lead. Anderson had a game-high 84 yards on only four carries.
“It feels good to know that whoever’s in there is going to do their assignment,” Eschenburg said. “I feel like anybody who has the ball in their hands in this offense can score, and everybody that will be playing knows that. It’s gonna be hard to game plan for us.”
Sonoma Valley had success in the second half running the same trick play five times, a direct snap to the fullback. But James Larson followed up his touchdown against Petaluma last week with a 30-yard scoring burst to finish off the third quarter with American Canyon up 56-0.
Camren Lee was the star of the fourth quarter for the Wolves. The 5-foot-7, 165-pound junior running back couldn’t be stopped, scoring on his second carry of the game on a 12-yard burst. Lee grabbed himself another score on a 55-yard run up the middle as time expired. With only three carries, all in the fourth quarter, Lee was the Wolves’ second-leading rusher with 74 yards.
American Canyon travels up to Memorial Stadium next week to square off with a resurgent Napa team.
“Every week is a one-week season. The new coach over there has done a good job turning things around,” Montante said of first-year Napa High head coach Richie Wessman. “They’ve got some good players. We’ve got to prepare and we’ve got to execute, week in and week out. That’s what we preach.”
American Canyon JV 28, Sonoma Valley 6
Roman Webb ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries and Kapono Liu added 83 yards and a score on eight carries as the Wolves improved to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the VVAL.
Kaleb Anderson added 35 yards on three totes. Webb was 2 of 7 passing for 59 yards, hitting Croix Stewart for a 52-yard touchdown and Sean Yumang for a 7-yard completion.