Brian Lewis has the highlights from the Cougars bounce back win against El Camino.
VALENCIA – The College of the Canyons football team dominates El Camino as the defense returns to form. A week off proved to be the magical touch the Cougars needed to bounce back and start the second half of the season as they beat up on the Warriors 26-9.
“It was a huge win for us,” said head coach Garett Tujague. “It was a great team effort, we made a couple of mistake but for the most part the energy was there.”
For the first time since week two against Mt. San Antonio College, the Cougars (4-2) had all twenty two starters back and healthy including the return of defensive captain Justin Cudworth.
A bend but don’t break defense kept El Camino (0-6) at check. The defense allowed the Warriors to accumulate 370 total yards but also forced 6 turnovers and came up with big stops when needed.
“Our speed, our tempo, we picked it up,” said sophomore cornerback Torri Zeno. “Sixty minutes of football, we didn’t give up.”
The offense helped the defense by holding onto the ball and keeping the defense off the field. On the opening drive of the game the Cougars went 77 yards on 13 plays that took 7 minutes. The drive ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Justin Arias to Mychal Prieto.
After struggling the last two weeks, Arias didn’t light up the statistics but he controlled the offense and moved the ball. Arias completed 10 of 26 passes for 108 yards with two touchdowns. He also ran for 22 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown.
“It started with the offensive line and the recievers,” said the freshman quarterback. “We were all on the same page and executed the offense.”
After the defense forced a four and out on the Warriors first drive of the game, the defense struck on the next series with a interception by Torri Zeno returned 45 yards for the touchdown. The extra point was blocked and the Cougars had an early 13-0 lead.
“It was huge, it gave us a lot of momentum and hope,” said Zeno. “We can’t keep a team in the game, we needed that (interception) to give us hope and put them away.”
The Cougars held the Warriors to just a 37-yard field goal in the first half as they went into the locker room with a 13-3 lead.
COC started the second half with a 22-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Cameron Bailey. The Cougars failed on a two point attempt but had a commanding 19-3 lead in the third quarter.
That’s all the defense needed as they held El Camino to just a 2-yard touchdown run by Peter Walton late in the third quarter. The only touchdown of the game by the Warriors who averaged over five touchdowns a game coming into Saturday nights game at Cougar Stadium.
“I’m very impressed with our defense and the energy level that they play at,” said an excited Tujague. “It all goes back to practice, they’ve been thumping and hitting each other hard. It’s been a great two weeks of preparation.”
The Cougars will continue with conference play next week as they travel to Alan Hancock College for a 6 p.m. matchup before returning home on October 30th against Cerritos College.
“Going into the conference 1-0 you can control your destiny,” said Tujague. “The rest of the schedule is brutal, it’s going to be a war like this every Saturday.”