Canoga Park

Former Player Returns to Lead High School to Glory

The Hunters capped off a 12-2 season with a win over Franklin High School to capture their first Division II city title since 1981.

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We don't often see successful entrepreneurs returning to their roots, but that's not the case with a local security expert looking to reconnect with a high school football team that hadn't won a championship in decades.

Coach Kevin Carlsen led Canoga Park High School to within one win of reaching the state championship, but that's now the team's goal for next season.

Canoga Park High School had not felt that kind of joy and success on the grid iron in nearly four decades.

"It felt amazing," Jorge hernandez, a junior running back, said. "Amazing."

The Hunters capped off a 12-2 season with a win over Franklin High School to capture their first Division II city title since 1981.

"To get that for the community feels great," said Joshua Christopher, wide receiver and defensive back.

Carlsen wasn't fortunate enough to enjoy that feeling when he wore the Hunters uniform.

"I went to high school ever since," Carlsen said.

After playing at Asuza Pacific and later becoming an entrepreneur, Carlsen decided to reconnect with the Hunters.

"I grew up in this, bleed green," Carlsen said.

Carlsen would return to the Canoga Park football program as an assistant coach in 2005 and quickly experience the challenges of losing local kids to nearby high school and private learning institutions.

Said Carlsen, "It's real difficult in our area."

Aware of their potential, Carlsen became the Hunters head coach in 2018.

His players are aware Coach Carlsen also has two daughters and runs a security business, but he's on the field--rain or shine-- to connect his players to the community and the groundwork for a brighter tomorrow.

"I just stress work hard, championships," Carlsen said.

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