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COC football: COC's takeaway win

Cougars rebound from last week’s loss to Mt. SAC

Posted: September 18, 2010 11:29 p.m.
Updated: September 18, 2010 11:29 p.m.

College of the Canyons linebacker Khalil Bass, right, takes the ball away from Citrus College quarterback Blake Loncar during the first quarter of their game on Saturday at Cougar Stadium. The Cougars won by the score of 38-24.

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The College of the Canyons football team gave the fans what they wanted in Saturday night’s home opener at Cougar Stadium.

After a disappointing loss to defending national champion Mt. San Antonio College last week, the Cougars bounced back to beat Citrus College 38-24.

“I’m way fired up to get back in the win column,” said COC head coach Garrett Tujague.

Freshman running back Emanuel Osuchukwu was the first to score, finding his way down the sideline on a 33-yard scamper.

On the following drive, Cougars quarterback Justin Arias connected with receiver Chris Rivas, who found his way behind the defense, for a 90-yard touchdown.

Rivas, a former Canyon High standout, lit up the scoreboard all night, grabbing eight catches for 196 yards and three scores.

He had 172 yards in the first half alone, including one catch in the corner of the end zone as he was falling down. The ball was originally tipped by two defenders.

“I just saw it thrown up, and I didn’t catch it the first time, but I saw they tipped it,” Rivas said. “I was just able to stay with it and catch it when it came down.”

The three touchdowns tied a school record in the game. He was 40 yards short of the single-game yardage record.
“I was just trying to do all I could for my team,” Rivas said.

The Cougars’ ground game also bounced back nicely. Compared to last week’s four total net rushing yards, COC gained 174 yards on the ground, led by Arias’ 61.

Cougars running back Joey Garba totaled 46 carries on 11 yards and added a 2-yard score before the half, putting Citrus in a 31-3 hole.

Despite the sizable lead, penalties and turnovers kept the game with Citrus’ reach until well into the final period.

A fumbled punt return early in the fourth quarter set the Owls up deep in Cougar territory.

One pass interference and a personal foul penalty later, Citrus found itself in the end zone on a 1-yard keeper by quarterback Blake Loncar.

“Stupid penalties,” Tujague said. “We just had some stupid plays late in the game.”

After Loncar’s score, COC’s lead was cut to 38-24 with just over 11 minutes to play. It wasn’t until Antwan Smith hauled in an interception two drives later to put the game away.

COC plays again at East Los Angeles College Saturday at 6 p.m.

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