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Pioneers pull away after halftime, down Wolves

Despite starting five straight drives in Basic territory Friday night, the Canyon Springs football team could only muster 10 points in the opening half.

Pioneers coach Hunkie Cooper related his team’s first half to a bowl of Jell-O — too much water and not enough flavor, thus making the product a bit bland.

Well, the sweetness quickly came after halftime.

Zaviontay Stevenson returned the second-half kickoff 83 yards for a score, and quarterback Bradley Alexander added a pair of touchdown passes as the No. 6 Pioneers spoiled Basic’s home opener with a 30-14 victory.

Not lost in the contest was the Canyon Springs defense, which hasn’t allowed a point in the opening half through three games. The Pioneers (3-0) held Basic to only 59 total yards in the first half.

“Our defense is simply amazing,” Cooper said. “We have to do a better job of not putting pressure on the defense by the way we play on offense. If we make mistakes after mistakes, eventually our defense will wear down. But if don’t make mistakes, good things will happen.”

The Pioneers did shoot themselves in the foot during the opening half, driving inside the Basic 25-yard line on four occasions. But Canyon Springs got only a 42-yard field goal by Eli Gonzalez and Alexander’s 25-yard TD run.

In the second half, however, Canyon Springs gained 164 of its 294 total yards and even had a 15-play scoring drive that lasted six minutes.

“Several years ago, we would have lost games like this,” Cooper said. “We would have self-destructed and not been able to overcome. It shows how far we have improved in the character department.”

Alexander finished 13-for-21 for 198 yards, while Stevenson added 72 yards on 14 carries.

Canyon Springs’ defensive front was in the face of Basic quarterback Antraye Johnson all evening, as Johnson completed just 15 of 35 passes for 137 yards. Johnson was sacked three times and forced to throw the ball away on 11 other occasions.

“We continue to play well on defense,” Cooper said. “However, we can still find ways to improve on both sides of the ball. We will just go back to work, and continue to get better.”

Elijah Sharif had both touchdowns for the Wolves (0-3), scoring on runs of 15 and 4 yards.

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