Sierra Canyon football sees high attendance number for Division 1 playoff opener

Sierra Canyon’s sleek but humble football stadium was bustling on Friday night in anticipation of the Trailblazers’ CIF Southern Section Division 1 matchup against Santa Margarita.

It was a historic game that marked the first time the football program had appeared in Division 1. It ended in a 37-20 win for the Trailblazers.

The Sierra Canyon stadium has room for 1,600 spectators, but it appeared to be standing room only surrounding the bleachers, which are all stationed on the same side of the field.

“It’s Sierra Canyon so it’s gonna be live,” junior defensive back/receiver Jae’on Young said. “We got a great student section, we got great fans. So it’s a blessing to be here every day coming up.”

Sierra Canyon football makes its Division 1 debut tonight against Santa Margarita. Kickoff in 35 minutes.

— Haley Sawyer (@haleymsawyer) November 11, 2023

Sierra Canyon sold 1,215 tickets for Friday night’s game, which was less than the number of tickets sold for the season’s games against Chaminade and Notre Dame but a similar amount to the game against Serra.

Those three teams were also closer to Sierra Canyon, which is in Chatsworth, as opposed to Santa Margarita, which is in Orange County and over 80 miles away by car.

Sierra Canyon will be on the road this week against Mater Dei in the Division 1 semifinals.

The Trailblazers don’t have a traditional marching band, but they did have a DJ on hand for Friday’s game and have added competitive cheerleaders this season. They also have some traditions to add to the hype, like the customized hard hats distributed to the defense in the week leading up to the game.

“Every time we make it to the playoffs, in the second round, we always bring hard hats because it’s time to go to work. We go into a hostile environment, put your hard hat on and let’s go,” assistant coach Mike Gonzaga said.


Sierra Canyon safety Madden Riordan announced his commitment to USC on Monday, joining teammates Marquis Gallegos and DJ Xavier Jordan as a Trojan commit.

“USC has been my dream school,” Riordan said. “Coach Donte (Williams) is a big factor. Growing up being a USC fan I’ve always wanted to go to USC and I believe in what they’re doing, I believe they’re going to get back on track.”

Riordan, a sophomore, had an interception near the end zone Friday to prevent Santa Margarita from scoring. It was his sixth interception of the season.

His commitment comes on the heels of the departure of USC defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, who was fired after a 54-42 loss to Washington on Nov. 5. Riordan still has faith in the program.

“Yes, yes, yes,” he said. “I talked to Coach (Lincoln) Riley. We talked about it, and I just like what their plan is for this 2026 class, this 2025 class and all the classes after.”


Several area teams remain in the football playoffs this week:

Sierra Canyon at Mater Dei in CIF-SS Division 1 semifinals, Friday, 7 p.m.

Chaminade at Warren in CIF-SS Division 3 semifinals, Friday, 7 p.m.

Thousand Oaks at Newbury Park in CIF-SS Division 5 semifinals, Friday, 7 p.m.

Huntington Beach at Simi Valley in CIF-SS Division 6 semifinals, Friday, 7 p.m.

Birmingham at Carson in City Section Open Division semifinals, Friday, 7 p.m.

San Fernando at Chatsworth in City Section Division II semifinals, Friday, 7 p.m.

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