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COC proves it's the real deal

College football: Cougars throttle Bakersfield for fourth straight win

Posted: October 5, 2013 10:23 p.m.
Updated: October 5, 2013 10:23 p.m.

College of the Canyons quarterback Tony Dawson (10) runs for six yards on second down as he breaks away from Bakersfield's Grant Campbell (5) in the second quarter at College of the Canyons on Saturday night.


It is halfway through the regular season, and the College of the Canyons football team is riding a four-game winning streak thanks to the defensive hammerlock it put on Bakersfield College at Cougar Stadium on Saturday night.

The potent Canyons defense held the archrival Renegades in check for most of the night, and COC’s talented quarterback duo of Tony Dawson and Jake Dashnaw skillfully and efficiently piloted the Cougars to a 42-14 victory in the National Division, Northern Conference midseason matchup.

So with Canyons now sitting at 2-0 in conference play and 4-1 overall, is it safe to say that this team is the real deal?

“Absolutely,” said COC head coach Ted Iacenda. “Teams had better be prepared to play College of the Canyons because we are definitely for real.”

The reality check came early for Bakersfield (1-4, 0-2) when the Canyons defensive unit induced a fumble as the Renegades were on the doorstep of COC’s end zone midway through the first quarter.

That play and other defensive gems by the Cougars left Bakersfield head coach Jeff Chudy with more questions than answers.

“We’ve certainly lost our identity of who we are and where we’ve come from,” Chudy said. “We do a lot of things wrong to inhibit us from progressing as a team.”

The teams touched gloves until 13:17 of the second quarter, when COC strong safety and Hart High grad Austin Murillo scooped up a Bakersfield fumble and scampered 20 yards for a touchdown.

Dawson’s 21-yard scoring toss to Vincent Strange gave COC a 14-0 lead. Bakersfield running back Preston Hodges got the six points back on a 6-yard sweep for a touchdown with 3:36 to go in the second quarter.

Then Dawson spotted Louis Gipson jetting to the corner of the end zone with 21 seconds before the break, and Gipson’s acrobatic grab for a 12-yard touchdown staked the Cougars to a 21-7 halftime lead.

“Louis ran a great route, and I knew if I gave him a good ball and made sure it was inbounds, he was going to catch it,” Dawson said.

Dawson and Dashnaw combined for 206 yards and three touchdowns on 22-of-25 passing attempts, with no interceptions.

Iacenda said his two signal-callers bring quite a bit to the table.

“This is who we are, and teams are going to have to come in and prepare for both quarterbacks,” Iacenda said. “Those kids will always strive to put our defense in good position, they will take care of the football, and we will manage the clock well because that is the strength of our team.”

Canyons extended the lead to 35-7 in the third quarter on a 10-yard touchdown jaunt by running back Matt Bowen and 20-yard aerial from Dashnaw to a wide-open Travion Tucker.

The Cougars’ final trip to the end zone came via a 3-yard, fourth-quarter run by Da’John Gaines.

Bakersfield made it as respectful as it could as time slipped away, closing out the night on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Cruise Adams to Brock Martin to seal the final score with 2:26 left before the long bus ride home.

Canyons place-kicker Eric Kreitz, out of the hold of Garrett Dibene, drove six straight extra-point attempts through the uprights.

Canyons returns to action Saturday at home against Antelope Valley College, while Bakersfield hosts El Camino College.

Notes: Hours before kickoff on Saturday, Iacenda and wife Courtney welcomed into the world their first child, Ella Sophia Iacenda.



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