Don’t let the lack of history fool you. This Saturday night, two of the best football teams in southern California will face off in a game with giant playoff implications.
The College of the Canyons Cougars will host the Cerritos Falcons at Cougar Stadium on Saturday night. The teams have just two prior meetings, split 1-1.
The Cougars (5-2, 2-0) are coming off a nail biting overtime win at Allen Hancock last weekend. The Cougars led by 14 in the fourth quarter, but had to come from behind in overtime, when freshman receiver Rickeem Jackson’s 3rd touchdown reception gave COC a 30-27 win. The Falcons (5-2, 1-1) are coming off their first National Division, Northern Conference win of 2010, a 36-20 defeat of El Camino College last weekend.
Cougar Head Coach Garett Tujague thinks this one could be a classic. “They’re a good, physical football team…this weekend is a must win for both teams. (Cerritos) has to win if they want any chance at winning the conference, and we’ve got to win to make sure we keep pace with Bakersfield.”
COC is coming off one of its best offensive performances of the season. Freshman quarterback Justin Arias threw for 293 yards and 4 touchdowns, and Jackson hauled in 10 catches for 96 yards and 3 scores. But last weeks performances won’t alter the Cougars offensive approach, and they will continue to try and maintain balance in their play calls, involving both the running backs and receivers and mixing up schemes.
“It’s probably fifty-fifty (the plan for passing-to-throwing ratio for this weekend),” said Tujague, who calls the Cougars plays. “If we’ve got guys open down field, we’re going to take chances, and we’ll test that early. I expect huge things out of Ryan (Zirbel) and Emanuel (Osuchukwu) as well.”
Cerritos comes into the game averaging more than 33 points per game, and the Falcons have lived by the run this season. The team is averaging 216 yards on the ground, to just 194 in the air. The balance Cerritos has shown will put extra pressure on the linebackers for COC, who are finally healthy and playing as a unit, something Tujague thinks is key for Saturday.
“Our linebackers are going to be the key to success. I think if our linebackers do what we have them planned to do in our game plan, we’re going to be very successful.”
Both teams have shown a penchant for the big play this year, and according to Tujague, the team’s defense that limits those plays the most will probably be victorious at the end of the night. “They’re going to take shots down the field, and we can’t give up the big play. We have to stay as balanced as possible and work the offense, and I think it could be a huge Cougar victory.”