SANTA CLARITA— College of the Canyons are rolling, and everyone knows it. They’re in the midst of their hottest start since they went undefeated in 2008.
After losing their opening game at Golden West in overtime, they have now won five straight, including being undefeated at home, with their 37-14 win over Antelope Valley College on Saturday.
With another amazing performance by their top ranked defense, the Cougars (5-1, 2-0) shut down non-conference rival Antelope Valley (2-3, 2-0) to only 229 total offensive yards in the whole game, including 80 of them in the first half.
In the first half, the Marauders gave the Cougars opportunities for new life in drives, but COC couldn’t capitalize.
Antelope Valley would get a huge stop on third and ten, but after the play they would commit a personal foul to advance across midfield.
COC would later miss a 33-yard field goal on the same drive.
Even with a couple turnovers, which is uncharacteristic of the Cougars, coach Ted Iacenda knew that the team would bounce back in the second half.
“Offensively we’ve harped on taking care of the football, and we lost side of that in the first half, so lets do what we do best, and be sound with the football,” Iacenda said.
With the score at 0-0 at halftime, the game would suddenly turn into a scoring frenzy.
In a span of 3 minutes and 8 seconds, the score would, of nowhere, become 21-7 in favor of the Cougars.
Despite the score, the second half was turnover-free football for the Cougars.
After Marauder quarterback Anders Westlund throws a pick to safety Kent Ingram, the Cougars would be in the red zone followed by a 9-yard touchdown run by running-back Matt Bowen for the first score of the game.
A little over a minute later, after a strip from lineman Antonio Guy on AVC running-back Ron Howard, COC quarterback Jake Dashnaw would hit tight-end Dan Vear for the 39-yard touchdown pass to put COC up 14-0.
It looked like Antelope Valley was sick of watching COC do all the scoring, as on the ensuing drive, Westlund rolled to the right, and hit wide-receiver Hunter Sharp for a 64-yard touchdown, to bring AVC within a score at 14-7.
Dashnaw looked to pad his stats over a minute later, as he hit wide-receiver Kwasi Washington for an 18-yard touchdown to take control of the game, with the Cougars leading 21-7 with 8:15 left in the third quarter.
After a 31-yard field goal by Eric Kreitz late in the third, and a Da’John Gaines goal-line touchdown run in the fourth quarter, COC would take a commanding 30-7 lead with 8:53 left in the game.
The COC defense was spectacular, as the allowed only 133 pass yards from a strong armed quarterback in Westlund, with the final score coming out to 37-14.
Running backs Bowen, Deshone Randall, and quarterback Tony Dawson combined for 33 carries for 155 yards, which led to a dominating performance in ball control.
COC would have the ball for almost 41 minutes, while the Marauders only had the ball for 19 minutes.
Even with the win, Coach Iacenda knows there is always something to work on.
“I’m most disappointed with the turnovers; we’ve got to clean that up, and I pride myself on being a team good with the football.
The Cougars travel to conference opponent Ventura (4-2, 2-0), who could possibly be their biggest test of the season.
Not only looking to avenge last years 44-37 loss, but the Cougars are also fighting for the top spot in the conference.