There wasn’t a whole lot that was fancy about Friday night’s District 3-4A opener between unbeaten Canyon ISD teams Randall and Canyon.
When it ended, though, it was Randall which proved the master of the basic formula, and the Raiders enjoy an early upper hand in the district race.
In a game where both teams emphasized running games, Randall eventually wore out the Eagles by the fourth quarter, and they left Happy State Bank Field at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium with a 23-13 victory. Not only did the Raiders (6-0, 1-0 in district) claim CISD gridiron bragging rights for the next year, but they made a statement in the first meeting between the schools when both entered the game undefeated.
Since both teams entered giving up fewer than 250 yards a game, offense didn’t figure to be easy to come by, and it wasn’t. By the end, though, the Raiders were like a fighter who held on in the final rounds with a lead on points.
“I didn’t think that we could wear (the Eagles) down because they did live up to all expectations defensively,” Randall coach Bryan Wood said.
Canyon (5-1, 0-1) was intent on making an offensive statement to start the second half, and the Eagles held the ball for 11 plays after the second half kickoff as they drove to Randall’s 7-yard line. But the drive stalled, and Ryan Guevara kicked his second field goal of the night from 27 yards, and Canyon cut Randall’s lead to 17-13.
The two teams exchanged punts on their next two possessions and the Raiders took over at their 32 in the final minute of the third quarter. They went on an 11-play drive, 10 of which were passes, that culminated when quarterback Collin Bowen ran 4 yards for his third touchdown to give Randall a 23-13 lead.
“I did expect to run it a lot but Canyon’s defense was every bit as good as we thought,” said Bowen, who ran for 108 yards on 25 carries. “We were just able to find some holes. I have to give credit to Canyon because they made us work for every bit of it.”
Bowen threw only four passes (and just one in the second half) as Randall’s offense was even more heavily run-oriented than usual. The Raiders produced two 100-yard rushers as Tyler Junell ran for 131 yards on 19 carries.
“All week in practice we were talking about how fast (the Eagles) were and they shut down the edge,” Junell said.
“We felt like we had to go to the middle of the field but I that’s where we do best.”
Canyon set the tone on its first offensive series. The Eagles held the ball for 12 plays before the drive stalled and Guevara kicked a 32-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
The Raiders then scored on their next two possessions, ending both drives with short scoring runs by Bowen. Randall went 83 and 91 yards, respectively, to score on both drives, with Bowen scoring on runs of 4 and 1 yard for a 14-3 lead.
Canyon got into the end zone late in the second when Hunter Burrell scored on a 2-yard run to cut the lead to 14-10. The Raiders answered by scoring on the last play of the half on a 31-yard field goal by Nick Dominguez for a 17-10 lead.
Canyon sophomore quarterback Cade McCallie, making his first career start in place of the injured Blake Weaver, completed 11 of 17 passes for 112 yards and running for 35 yards.
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Randall 7 10 0 6 — 23
Canyon 3 7 3 0 — 13
C—Ryan Guevara FG 32
R—Collin Bowen 4 run (Nick Dominguez kick)
R—Bowen 1 run (Dominguez kick)
C—Hunter Burrell 2 run (Guevara kick)
R—Dominguez FG 31
C—Guevara FG 27
R—Bowen 4 run (run failed)
First Downs 16 14
Rushing 249 142
Passing 90 112
Total yards 339 254
C-A-I 3-4-0 11-17-0
Punts 2-36.0 3-28.7
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 4-22 5-43
Rushing—Randall: Bowen 25-108, Tyler Junell 19-131, Logan Brittain 1-10. Canyon: Burrell 19-107, Cade McCallie 13-35.
Passing—Randall: Bowen 3-4-0-90. Canyon: McCallie 11-17-0-112.
Receiving—Randall: Brittain 3-90. Canyon: Clay Erwin 7-101, Thomas Garland 1-(-3), Graeson Cook 3-14.