Las Vegas Sun

February 26, 2024

Canyon Springs knocks off Desert Pines 45-21

Updated Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009 | 1:43 a.m.

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Eight seconds. That’s how long it took Canyon Springs to hush a homecoming crowd, take control of a pivotal football game and pencil in another chapter of a feel-good turnaround story.

Canyon Springs beat Desert Pines 45-21.

“I told them to go out and set the tempo from the first kick,” Pioneers coach Hunkie Cooper said.

And literally follow Cooper’s words they did.

Pioneers defensive back Chris Slack met Desert Pines kick returner Noel Darden head-on just outside the 15-yard line on the opening kickoff Friday night, the senior’s crushing shoulder-to-shoulder hit dislodging the ball high into the air.

After a perfect Pioneer bounce was gobbled up by Jamaal King, the junior had a straight path to the end zone and one play in, Cooper’s tempo was set and the lead was Canyon Springs’ for good.

As delirious as the Pioneers sideline was after the touchdown, it was equally as deflating on the other side.

“It set the tone,” Desert Pines coach Paul Bennett said. “And, obviously, it wasn’t a good tone for us.”

The Jaguars put the ball on the ground on each of their next two possessions, and after their first possession without turning the ball over, stalled early in the second quarter.

Canyon Springs’ Deangelo Johnson blocked the ensuing punt.

Two plays later, quarterback Tyler Ward pump-faked right and threw left, finding fellow senior Jonathon James in the back of the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown.

“After the special teams did their job, the offense wanted to get out there and put some points on the board,” Ward said.

Ward finished with 166 yards on 12-for-20 passing with two touchdowns.

Junior running back Malik Brown left nothing to doubt when he scored on late first-half touchdown runs of six and 11 yards, increasing the Pioneers’ lead to 31-0 at the half.

“I’m proud of my guys,” Cooper said. “They played physical, they played aggressive and we can run the football and put it in the end zone.”

The win improves Canyon Springs record to 3-1 on the season, looking very much in playoff contention just a year after posting a 1-8 record.

“Our mindset is to get through the regular season, into the playoffs and do our thing,” King said. “It’s totally different from last year.”

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