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COC football: Is this a trap?

The road gets tougher after tonight

Posted: September 24, 2010 11:27 p.m.
Updated: September 25, 2010 4:55 a.m.

College of the Canyons receiver Chris Rivas (25) makes a catch against Citrus College last Saturday at College of the Canyons. He is the team’s leading receiver thus far.

There’s the meat of the schedule and then there’s the bun.

This would be the bun.

College of the Canyons has a rough road ahead beginning in October, but the Cougars end their September schedule with East Los Angeles College — a team that has some talent, but not on par with those future teams.

What follows after tonight’s 6 p.m. game at East L.A. is a six-game stretch that includes four battles against the state’s top 20 teams.

Is this the trap game?

COC head coach Garett Tujague said he preps his teams for games like this.

“I’ve been talking all week about how it’s not us lining up and playing East L.A., it’s us taking care of our plan,” Tujague said. “You can have this awesome plant that you can have for two years, but if you don’t water it for two days, it can die. We’ve got to water our plant to make sure we don’t die.”

Basically, No. 18 COC can’t slip up.

The Huskies are 1-2.

They defeated 0-3 Glendale College last Saturday 33-13.

The game saw the return of All-American wide receiver Anthony Denham, who caught 10 passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns.

Denham missed the Huskies’ first two games with a hamstring injury.

Freshman quarterback Mike Oliver was 26-of-44 for 292 yards and four touchdowns last week.

Tujague said he’s most concerned about sophomore wide receiver Eric McHenry.

“(He’s) a flat-out baller,” Tujague said. “He’s also a kick returner. We kick the ball to him, I will be furious. That guy is so dynamic with the football.”

Tujague said on defense he has to worry about the Huskies’ defensive line — particularly with 255-pound defensive end Chris McCoy.

The Huskies secondary, he added, hasn’t truly been tested this season.

It should be tonight.

In three games, COC freshman quarterback Justin Arias has passed for 901 yards and six touchdowns.

His favorite target has been Canyon High graduate Chris Rivas, who has 22 catches for 398 yards and four touchdowns.

COC defeated Citrus College 38-24 last Saturday, but it wasn’t a true gauge as to what the Cougars are capable of.

The Cougars jumped ahead 24-0 in the first quarter and from then on shuffled the lineup.

Tujague said he was able to sub in players across the board, even using four quarterbacks.

He said he wanted to get some players some experience, just in case.

It also served as an opportunity to see what guys could do with an opportunity.

No one took anyone else’s job, but the running back position has become an interesting one.

Saugus graduate and sophomore Ryan Zirbel has been up and down, averaging 2.7 yards per carry, while freshman Emanuel Osuchukwu has displayed some big-play ability, with nine carries for 138 yards, a 15.3 average.

Tujague said he’s loyal to Zirbel and added that he is the more fundamentally sound one.

Yet the two of them have seen time on the field together and will see more.

It could mean trouble for the Huskies.

Or there could be trouble for COC if it has No. 16 Grossmont, its Oct. 2 opponent, on its mind.


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