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Cougars cruisin’

After another victory, COC is master of its own destiny

Posted: October 19, 2008 7:54 p.m.
Updated: December 21, 2008 5:00 a.m.

COC running back Fred Winborn shown against Antelope Valley. Winborn ran for 101 yards versus Glendale Community College on Saturday.

 
GLENDALE -- Forever.

That's how much time the College of the Canyons offensive line gave quarterback Brad McClellan to find wide receiver Jovan Leacock during three game-turning plays in the fourth quarter of Saturday night's 43-23 victory over Glendale Community College.

The spark that ignited the opportunity was served up by the defense -- in this case, linebacker Steve Gourley's crushing block of a Glendale punt with the game up for grabs and the Cougars clinging to a precarious seven-point lead.

Offense and defense, working in harmony. Opposing forces bound together, intertwined and interdependent in the natural world, giving rise to each other in turn.

It's the yin and yang of Cougar football, and it's the reason why the team is undefeated seven games into the regular season.

More to the point, COC (7-0, 3-0) traveled to Glendale as the top-ranked Southern California team in six categories, equally divided on both sides of the football -- scoring offense and scoring defense, rushing offense and rushing defense, total offense and total defense.

Gridiron life in balance.

"It's just a lot of guys sacrificing their position or their duty for the success of their teammates," said COC head coach Garett Tujague. "They've been together for an extended period of time and they trust each other.

There's a lot of unselfish play, and they have a very good concept of the team."

Glendale freshman quarterback Dylan Martinez tested that concept Saturday when he reduced COC's lead to 28-21 late in the third quarter on a 49-yard touchdown pass to Euedell Clayton.

COC special teams, a moving force that operates on both sides of the football -- often on the same play -- took back the momentum as Gourley took out the football and Glendale punter Chris Chapman along with it.

It's one thing to provide an opportunity, but doing something with it is another matter altogether.

Enter the Cougar offense, McClellan at the wheel.

"Between Leacock and me, personally, we saw it in each other's eyes," McClellan said. "We were a little mad that the game got so close, so we just kept driving, pushing. We were ready to burst, and then when Gourley made that play, it just set it on fire."

On the next play, McClellan threw a dart to Leacock for a 20-yard touchdown.

After the defense got the ball back, McClellan tossed a screen pass to Leacock, and the sophomore wide receiver turned it into a track meet down the right side for a 64-yard gainer.

With Glendale on the ropes, COC offensive coordinator Don Fellows wigwagged the next play in from the sidelines like a signalman launching a fighter jet from an aircraft carrier in a rainstorm. McClellan, camping out in the pocket under meritorious protection, found Leacock in a crowded end zone for a 15-yard touchdown that drained the life from the Vaqueros (3-3, 1-1).

"Early on, we had to figure them out a little bit," McClellan said of his team's attempts to read Glendale's defense in the first half. "Once coach got in the groove, every play he called just seemed like it was the right one."

Glendale first-year head coach John Rome said he knew it was going to be an uphill climb against the Cougars.

"If we make a mistake, whether it's a blocked punt or a missed tackle, when you're playing against a team with so much speed, it's going to result in positive yardage for them and cut down on our scoring opportunities," Rome said.

McClellan and backup quarterback Joey Frias completed a combined 19-of-25 passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns. Ten of those completions went to Hayo Carpenter, who turned them into 175 precious yards. Running back Fred Winborn picked up 101 yards on the ground. At the end of the night, it added up to 540 total offensive yards.

Tujague said Fellows and the other offensive coaches concentrate on putting players in the right position to be successful.

"Breaking down film, analyzing personnel and studying formation to death. I think the last time I checked, we had run over 100 different formations," Tujague said. "I don't know how you defend that."

Neither do the seven teams the Cougars have already left by the side of the road. COC has outscored its opponents this season by an average of 49-15.

Looking ahead, the Cougars will host Ventura and Pasadena before making the ominous bus trip north to Bakersfield to close out the regular season.

Ventura (3-3, 0-2) had a bye Saturday, so the Pirates should be well rested for the Cougars this Saturday.

Pasadena (4-3, 2-1) won four in a row before dropping a 45-42 decision to Allan Hancock Saturday.

Bakersfield (3-4, 2-1), which got off to its worse start in more than two decades, blanked Moorpark 30-0 Saturday. Now with the Renegades approaching ramming speed, the Nov. 15 matchup against COC could very well be for the National Division, Northern Conference crown.

"Our offense is going to score points, so as long as we keep them under 40, we'll be good to go," Gourley said.

 


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