Last Updated on November 24, 2002 by Paulette Brown-Hinds

Moreno Valley
By G. Montgomery
BVN staff

J.W. North’s Huskies rolled into Moreno Valley’s Stadium looking to complete a task that eluded them last year.

Although North captured the Division V Championship, the Ivy League title was wrest away by a powerful Arlington Lions team before North began its magical playoff run. Just as last season, the league title had come down to the last game on the schedule. With one exception, last year it was the Lions in the way, this year it was the Cougars. Canyon Springs arrived sporting an impressive 8-0-1 record, having beaten several perennial powers including Upland, Bloomington and a tie with Murietta Valley.
Last year, Arlington’s big powerful front line pounded North and defeated the young Huskies to win the Ivy League title. Canyon would not have that same opportunity. The defending champs showed Canyon Springs just how they swept through last seasons’ playoffs, using a balanced offensive attack and a solid defense. Although Canyon Springs outgained the Huskies in total yardage, North stopped Cougar scoring drives twice inside the 25-yard line. North’s Quarterback Dion Morton threw for 207 yards and no interceptions. Running back Josh Barnett rushed for 103 yards. The Huskies offense was poised, confident and explosive. After the Cougars scored a field goal on the opening drive, it took the Huskies only 4 plays in 1:05 to travel the length of the field and score a touchdown. Asked if North’s unusually tough non-league schedule was a factor in his team’s apparent maturity, Coach Steve Haggarty said, “it meant everything, tough games down there (Orange County) taught these kids something.” Haggarty continued, “these kids learned to keep working and not give up when you’re down, we want to use that to get another championship.” North’s non-league schedule included Kaiser, Eisenhower, Alta Loma and Mater Dei, all perennial powers and playoff teams. North managed only one win, beating Ike, who has not lost a game since. The Huskies (7-3) will open the playoffs against Norco (5-5) Friday at RCC Stadium.