YORBA LINDA, Calif. — Riding their dominant defense all season, the College of the Canyons Cougar football team picked the wrong time to have their worst game of the season.
The Fullerton Hornets stung the Cougars for seven rushing touchdowns, as they beat the Cougars 56-17 in the National Bowl on Saturday.
“I love this team, I love this group of guys,” said Cougar tight-end Dan Vear.
The Cougars (8-3), before last week, had won eight straight games, while the Hornets (10-0) dominated their conference with their heavy running attack.
That rushing attack didn’t waste no time showing up.
Three minutes into the first quarter, Hornets running back David Wesley put Fullerton on the board first with a 16-yard touchdown-run.
COC quarterback Tony Dawson recognized early that he would have a hard time against the stout Hornet defense.
On the ensuing drive, Dawson would drive the ball to the Hornet 20-yard line, but throw an interception to kill the drive.
“Against a great team like Fullerton, you got to have zero mental errors,” said coach Ted Iacenda.
Fullerton would immediately capitalize on the Cougar mistake.
Marching down the whole field, Hornet running back Nick Norman would score one-yard out of the goaline to put the Hornets up 14-0.
That would be Norman’s first of his 3 touchdowns on the day, along with his 81 yards on the ground.
The Cougars wouldn’t give up that easy though.
Dawson would hit Vear for a 9-yard touchdown catch, nodding the score at 14-7.
Down 21-10 at the half, COC had no clue what was about to transpire.
The Hornets would explode on offense with 4 more rushing touchdowns.
A mixture of execution and size were the keys to the second half.
“Those kids were massive, there is no doubt about it,” said Coach Iacenda.
The gigantic offensive line for Fullerton allowed them to gain 396 yards on the ground.
Hornet running back Ryan Byrd had touchdown runs of 71 and 63 yards.
“They had a lot of big plays, which we haven’t really given up this year,” said linebacker Joey Cricoria
The Cougars would be outscored 35-7 in the second half.
“Probably a lot of little things that escalated into bigger things. Missed tackles, missed plays, missed blocks,” said Vear.
One of the few bright spots for COC was sophomore running back Matt Bowen, who had 107 yards on the ground on 23 carries.
“We played as a team, we didn’t bow down, we lost 3 games, thats pretty good,” said Bowen.
Even with the success of this season, coach Iacenda is still only the interim coach.
COC is currently going through and interview process, with Iacenda being one of the interviewees.
“Hopefully Coach I (Iacenda) comes back next year, I have faith in Coach I and all the staff, I just wanna thank everyone for my experience at COC,” Bowen said.