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COC football preview: Now the grind begins

High-scoring Grossmont is the last foe before conference play

Posted: October 1, 2010 10:22 p.m.
Updated: October 2, 2010 4:55 a.m.

On Sunday night, actually Monday morning, College of the Canyons head coach Garett Tujague left his office, he said, at 2:30 a.m.

He did the same the next day.

The day after that was easier. He left at 11 p.m.

The reason?

“It’s Grossmont,” he said.

College of the Canyons hosts Grossmont College today at 7 p.m. in the Cougars’ final contest before their bye week and then National Division Northern Conference play.

Tujague said both teams are very similar.

So similar, in fact, that they are running neck and neck in the state rankings.

In the latest California Community College Football Coaches Association poll, Grossmont (3-1) is No. 13 and the Cougars (3-1) are No. 14. 

“I put a lot of weight on this game because it will dictate to us the rest of our conference,” Tujague said. “If we can have some success, that will resonate well for the rest of the year.”

The Cougars and Griffins can both argue that they play in the toughest conference in the state.

The NDNC has three teams in the top seven of the CCCFCA poll.

The National Division Southern Conference has three teams in the top 10, including the No. 1 team in the nation. Mt. San Antonio College.

COC will have to deal with a Grossmont team that has scored at least 42 points in two consecutive games.

Quarterback Ryan Woods has been a big reason for that success.

On Sept. 18 in a 45-31 win over Southwestern, Woods was 31-of-41 for 452 yards and six touchdowns.

He is the state’s leading passer at 355.8 yards per game.

Yet Grossmont head coach Mike Jordan is quick to credit his receiving corps.

Five receivers have caught at least eight passes, led by New Mexico State transfer Alex McLeland’s 27.

The best of the bunch may be freshman Dontae Ingram.

“He is a slot receiver who has been phenomenal,” Jordan said. “To me, he’s the best freshman (receiver) we’ve had.”

On defense, both Tujague and Jordan pointed to Griffins linebacker Pat Kelly as a key.

Kelly is an active player who leads the team in tackles.

Tujague said another thing the Cougars will have to contend with is the Griffins’ defensive line, noting that 275-pound plus defensive tackles Yun Taala and Henry Simon are “special” players.

Grossmont beat Orange Coast College last Saturday 42-35.

COC, meanwhile, defeated East L.A. 33-6.

The Cougars were in control early, allowing Tujague to shuffle quarterbacks.

He said he wasn’t concerned by the play of starter Justin Arias, who was 5-of-12 for 28 yards with an interception that was returned for a touchdown.

The Cougars were successful running the ball, though, rushing for 223 yards.

The biggest point of pride for Tujague has been his team’s defense, which is ranked No. 10 in the state.

Jordan has taken notice.

“We’ve got to be able to pass protect,” he said.

Tujague is expecting a game that could go either way.

“I anticipate it will take somebody 60 minutes to win. It might take overtime for someone to win,” he said. “Grossmont’s not going to lay down. We’re not going to lay down. It might be a bloody-knuckles battle.”


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