Previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in California: No. 7 Sierra Canyon Trailblazers

SBLive California is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in the state ahead of the 2020-2021 season. Here’s an inside look at the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers of the CIF Southern Section, the No. 7 team in our countdown.

MORE: PRESEASON TOP 50 PREVIEWS

SIERRA CANYON TEAM PAGE | 2021 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

SIERRA CANYON HEAD COACH

Jon Ellinghouse, 14th season

  • 2019 Division 2 Southern Section Coach of the Year

2019 AT A GLANCE

  • 14-2 record
  • 1-0 in Gold Coast League (1st)
  • Southern Section Division 2 champions
  • Beat Santa Margarita, Vista Murrieta, Rancho Cucamonga and Chaminade to win the title
  • Won a Division 1-AA state bowl game over Helix 38-20
  • Lost in the Division 1-AA state championship 34-19 to Central (Fresno)

ALL-SOUTHERN SECTION DEPARTURES

  • LB JD Hernandez – (Graduated)
  • QB Chayden Peery – (Georgia Tech early enrollee)
  • RB JD Sumlin – (Transferred to Alemany)
  • RB/CB Brendon Gamble – (Graduated)

2021 SCHEDULE

  • TBD

RETURNING STARTERS

  • 9 on offense
  • 9 on defense

PLAYERS TO WATCH

DJ Harvey (Senior-WR/CB) (5-11, 170) (Virginia Tech signee)

Coach Ellinghouse: “DJ is a kid that has been a force on both sides of the ball for us. He’s one of the best receivers and DB’s in the Southland.”

2019 stats: 84 catches for 1,465 yards and 7 TDs. 35 tackles, four interceptions on defense. Two punt return TDs.

Kamari Ramsey (Junior-DB) (6-1, 195)

Kamari Ramsey, Sierra Canyon

Offer sheet: 15 Division I schools

Coach Ellinghouse: “Kamari is one of the top rated safeties in the nation. He has a ton of offers. He’s a very athletic and physical safety.”

2019 stats: Made 77 catches for 854 yards and six TDs

Donovan Williams (Senior-WR/DB) (6-0, 185)

Offer sheet: Southern Miss

Coach Ellinghouse: “Donovan was our second leading receiver last year. He’s primed to have a big year. He’s a guy we can count on in the slot.”

2019 stats: 47 catches for 749 yards and 6 TDs. 21 tackles on defense.

Drue Watts (Senior-LB) (6-1, 215) (Nevada signee)

Coach Ellinghouse: “Drue is a true sideline to sideline linebacker. He’s very physical. He’s great in coverage and has all of the tools to be one of the best linebackers in the area.”

2019 stats: 131 tackles, 15 for loss, four sacks, one forced fumble

Cole Bullock (Senior-LB) (6-1, 225)

Cole Bullock, Sierra Canyon

Coach Ellinghouse: “Cole is our rock on defense. He’s worked incredibly hard and has grown into true linebacker size. He’s in incredible shape and is ready to prove that he can play at the highest level. Cole really could have benefited from having a season.”

2019 stats: Made 100 tackles, 12 for loss, four sacks. Two forced fumbles

Josh Bryan (Senior-K/P/LB) (6-1, 180) (Notre Dame signee)

Coach Ellinghouse: “Josh is one of the top rated kickers in the nation. He also is a starting middle linebacker for us. Josh is also a high level pitcher in baseball.”

2019 stats: Made 40 tackles, one sack. Made 11 field goals and 54 PATs. Had 17 punts inside the opponent’s 20 yard line.

Terrell Long (Senior-WR) (6-3, 190) (Columbia commit)

Coach Ellinghouse: “Terrell got hurt last year and didn’t play much. He’s a guy I am really looking forward to seeing this year. He’s a stud.”

2019 stats: Made eight catches for 136 yards and one TD

Jason Jones (Junior-RB/LB) (5-9, 175)

Coach Ellinghouse: “Jason is our starting tailback. He’s one of the more talented young running backs that I’ve been around. I’m really excited to watch him get his opportunity. He was a big contributor last year, but we had four tailbacks last year, so this year is going to be his time to shine.”

2019 stats: 93 carries for 835 yards and 6 TDs. 24 tackles and a forced fumble on defense

Caden Harman (Junior-DL) (6-3, 240)

Coach Ellinghouse: “Caden is a kid I’m very high on. He was our sack leader last season. He’s going to be a great player for us.”

2019 stats: Made 63 tackles, 12 sacks. Three forced fumbles

Angelo Pulido (Junior-S) (5-11, 180)

Coach Ellinghouse: “Angelo started last year as a sophomore for us. He’s very physical and very athletic and he runs well. He’s an all around great football player. I see him bursting on the scene.”

2019 stats: 88 tackles, five for loss, three sacks

Jonah Lewis (Sophomore-CB) (5-10, 165)

Offer sheet: Arizona State, Colorado, Kansas, Oregon State and Virginia Tech

Coach Ellinghouse: “Jonah is a great lockdown corner for us.”

2019 stats: Made 23 tackles

Jake Quiroz (Junior-DE) (6-2, 240)

Coach Ellinghouse: “I’m very excited about Jake’s future. He’s a strong, physical, dominant defensive end.”

2019 stats: Made 15 tackles, had four sacks

Dominic Deberry (Senior-OL) (6-4, 290)

Coach Ellinghouse: “Dominic has a lot of the tools. He’s a big, physical offensive lineman.”

Gavin Quiroz (Senior-OL/DL) (6-1, 310)

Coach Ellinghouse: “I’m super high on Gavin. He squats 570 pounds and benches 385 pounds. He moves really well. He’d be a steal for any college to snag.”

Jason Gilmore (Senior-OL) (6-3, 300)

Coach Ellinghouse: “Jason is a three year starter for us. He’s the leader of our offensive line.”

Michael Wooten (Junior-OL) (6-6, 310)

Offer sheet: Arizona State, UNLV and Colorado

Coach Ellinghouse: “The sky is the limit for Michael. He has a high ceiling.”

Elijah “Planet” Christian (Senior-OL/NG) (6-3, 315)

Coach Ellinghouse: “Planet moves great for his size. He’s great for us on the defensive line.”

2019 stats: Made three tackles last season

Dashaun Harris (Junior-OL/DL) (6-3, 275)

Coach Ellinghouse: “Dashaun started on both lines for us last year. He’s one of the better young lineman I’ve ever been around. He’s got major potential to be a Power 5 guy.”

2019 stats: Made 31 tackles, four sacks

Jake Hixon (Senior-DL) (6-2, 220)

Coach Ellinghouse: “Jake was the leader of our defensive line last year. He’s a great, tough, hard nosed football player. I’m very happy he’s in our program.”

2019 stats: Made 46 tackles, four sacks. Caused a fumble and recovered a fumble

D’Shawn Jones Jr. (Junior-WR/CB) (5-10, 165)

Coach Ellinghouse: “D’shawn is really talented. He’ll be one of the best players in our area when it’s all said and done. It’s his turn. He’s going to be a great player for us.”

2019 stats: Eight catches for 130 yards, 19 tackles, two interceptions on defense

Hunter Lysholm (Junior-OL/DL) (6-4, 240)

Coach Ellinghouse: “Hunter will play more on the defensive line this year after starting on the offensive line last season. He’s a really good player too.”

2019 stats: Made 16 tackles, two for loss

QUARTERBACK VACANCY

Ellinghouse must replace senior quarterback Chayden Peery who enrolled early at Georgia Tech. He’s confident sophomore Ryan Staub has what it takes.

“Ryan is a very smart kid,” Ellinghouse said. “He’s got a lot of the tools. I’m a believer in him and I think that he could definitely burst onto the scene because of his ability.”

IMPACT TRANSFERS

  • Anthony Spearman — 2021 RB (Notre Dame)
  • Elias Larry — 2021 CB/WR (Notre Dame)
  • Henry Deakins — 2021 TE (Notre Dame)
  • Ezekiel Larry — 2022 DE/LB (Notre Dame)
  • Kenji Swanson — 2022 OL (St. Francis)
  • Jojo Phillips — 2023 WR (Calabasas)
  • Khalil Peart — 2023 WR (Calabasas)

WHO TRANSFERRED OUT?

  • JD Sumlin  — 2021 RB (Alemany)
  • Amari Powell — 2022 QB (Oaks Christian)

HOW COVID-19 HAS AFFECTED SIERRA CANYON FOOTBALL

COVID-19 has affected every high school football team differently. Coach Ellinghouse shares how COVID-19 has impacted Sierra Canyon football in recent weeks, with en emphasis on club football.

“The seniors and juniors are in a really tough spot and I understand that. A lot of them have had life-long goals and dreams to play at the next level and so a lot of the kids are playing club football. I take COVID-19 very seriously and we’re taking all of the precautions we need to when we practice at school, but at the same time I’m not telling kids to play club and I’m not telling them not to do it. Every family has their own decisions to make for what is best for them.”

“I wish I could be coaching my guys and it’s hard as heck to hear about guys that are playing and it’s not for me, but if they’re doing it, they’re doing it and it’s time for me to be flexible. We’re still hoping we end up having a season and we’ll see what happens.”

BEST-CASE SCENARIO FOR SIERRA CANYON

In a normal year, Sierra Canyon was a sure fire Division 1 playoff team in the Southern Section. Making a semifinal or even a championship game was a possibility.

MOST REALISTIC SCENARIO

Even without Peery, Sierra Canyon will still be very dangerous if they play a spring season. The team is loaded. Depending on what their schedule looks like, Sierra Canyon should win – or at the very least be competitive – in every game they play.

COACH SAID

“We’ve been very fortunate to have our program climb the ladder and achieve success in our 10 years in 11-man football. The next step for our program is to play well against the big boys and prove that we’re one of the better programs in the area. We’re proud of what we’ve done to this point, but we still feel like we’ve got something to accomplish. We’re excited to eventually get out there and compete.”

“We feel like this year we finally have the guys in the trenches to compete at the highest level. We have no starters going both ways and we’re over 300 pounds at every offensive line spot. We have a lot of returners there.”

— Head Coach Jon Ellinghouse

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