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COC defense makes statement

Cougars take down ranked Hornets at home

Posted: September 27, 2009 12:07 a.m.
Updated: September 27, 2009 4:30 a.m.

College of the Canyons defensive back Arron Fisher, right, knocks the ball out of the hands of Fullerton College wide receiver Joseph Florence, left, in the end zone Saturday at Cougar Stadium. COC won 26-13.

It was the perfect ending to a great game for College of the Canyons’ defense.

As Cougars defensive back Kalen Powell ran back his interception of Fullerton’s final pass, COC’s Arron Fisher did what he’d been doing throughout the night.

He stayed with the play.

Following his teammate from midfield — as Powell became swarmed by would-be Hornet tacklers near the 15-yard line — Fisher called for a lateral pitch from Powell and scored the Cougar’s final touchdown as time expired, a defensive exclamation point on COC’s 26-13 win.

And just as he made shutting down a Fullerton offense that scored 70 last week against Moorpark look easy, his explanation of the play was equally simple.

“We did what we had to do and stayed with play. (Powell) caught the pick, I told him to pitch it and he pitched it,” Fisher said.

Fisher and cornerback Antwan Smith made play after play to stop the Hornet offense on third down and looked to make a statement against the state’s No. 5-ranked team.

“We came in with a chip on our shoulders,” Fisher said. “We had to prove to everyone in football that it was going to be a good game. And that this wasn’t going to be a blowout.”

Fullerton showed signs early of why it was able to average nearly 50 points per game coming into Saturday’s matchup.

On the game’s first possession, Hornet quarterback Kyle Essington led a drive from his team’s 42-yard line that ended in a 16-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Thomas Clarkson.

After a sack by Cougar Khalil Bass ended the Hornets’ next drive, a fumble by Cougar quarterback Justin Morales gave the Hornets the ball on the Cougars’ 4-yard line.

Despite the short field, COC’s defense only relented a field goal, and established its presence for the rest of the evening.

Fullerton was able to push the ball into the red zone four more times, but would only get three points for the rest of the night.

“(The defense) set the tone for the whole game,” said Cougars head coach Garett Tujague. “They jumped up on us early but there was no disgust. We knew what was going to happen.”

What happened is the Cougars’ offensive play began to match its defense.

The Cougars proceeded to put up 20 unanswered points, led by two crisp touchdown passes by Morales.

His first was an impressive, across-the-field heave while scrambling under heavy pressure, which found D.J. Stephens in the back of the end zone to bring COC within 10-7.

After a pair of field goals by James Rodriguez, one from 42 yards out to tie the game and the second from the 20-yard line for a 13-10 lead at the half, Morales found Stephens again to put the Cougars up 20-10, with eight minutes left in the third quarter.

And then the defense went to work.

Fullerton made one more drive late in the fourth quarter that was able to net a field goal.

But after COC’s next drive failed to run out the clock, the Hornets were given one last shot, which ended in Fisher’s touchdown.

“(Fisher) plays like he’s 6-foot-5,” Tujague said of Fisher, which is about seven or eight extra inches on Fisher’s 5-foot-7-inch roster height. “What a great football player.”

The biggest statement however, may have come from the Cougars’ 6-foot-4-inch, 320-pound offensive lineman Louiszell Alexander as he congratulated his teammates.

“We’re back on the map, baby,” a jubilant Alexander yelled to his Cougar teammates after the game.

“We’re back on the map.”



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