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College football: COC phased out

Cougars plagued by turnovers and ineffective offense

Posted: October 2, 2010 11:34 p.m.
Updated: October 2, 2010 11:34 p.m.

College of the Canyons cornerback Torri Zeno, back, knocks down a pass to Grossmont College wide receiver Dontae Ingraham at the goal line in the second quarter on Saturday at COC. The Cougars lost the game by the score of 36-18

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Not much went right for College of the Canyons football on Saturday night at Cougar Stadium.

The offense struggled to move the ball throughout the game, and the defense gave up its highest point total of the season in a 36-18 loss to Grossmont.

“We got, I don’t want to say lazy, but we just came out flat, and they hit us pretty hard at the beginning, and we just couldn’t counter,” said COC quarterback Chris Rini, who came in during the third quarter to replace starter Justin Arias.

The offense looked out of sync from its first drive of the game, which saw Arias sacked twice before the Cougars had to punt the ball away.

Even the special teams had its struggles. Errant long-snapping cost COC a safety and gave Grossmont great field position on several occasions.

“We’ve worked on it a lot. It killed us today,” said Cougars head coach Garett Tujague of the long-snapping.

After the Griffins (4-1) got on the board first with an 11-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Ryan Woods to wide receiver Alex McLeland in the first quarter, the Cougars answered back with a 31-yard scoring pass of their own just 19 seconds later. The pass, from Arias to wide receiver Cameron Bailey, came one play after a big return on Grossmont’s kickoff.

The 7-7 score was the last tie COC would see in the game.

It was also the last time the Cougars (3-2) saw any effectiveness in their passing game.

In the fourth quarter, however, COC’s third-string quarterback Justin Morales entered the game and heaved a 9-yard touchdown to Chris Rivas.

Arias led the team with 71 yards on 6-of-16 passing. All three quarterbacks felt heavy pressure throughout the game.
Linebacker Pat Kelly led the charge for Grossmont, notching 16 tackles and forced fumble.

“We came out a little flat last week, so coach got on us and we worked hard this week to get back to where we want to be,” Kelly said.

After Woods found McLeland for a second time in the end zone to break the tie, things started falling apart for the home team.

Griffin running back Davis Fluker torched the Cougar defense for 96 yards on 10 carries and touchdown runs in the second and fourth quarters. Darrin Alix added a score of his own in the third.

Grossmont led 23-10 at the half.

COC not only had trouble keeping drives alive, it also turned the ball over five times in the game, including four fumbles and an interception thrown by Rini.

“I don’t think it’s a lack of effort,” Tujague said of the offense. “They were out there fighting. I think we just need to be smarter and maybe execute better. Maybe as a coaching staff, we’re not calling the right things.”

With a bye week coming and the start of conference play two weeks away, Tujague and his staff will have plenty of time to look at game film and decide where to go from there.

For now, he said, no changes will be made at the quarterback position.


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