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COC football: Canyons takes a step back

Cougars’ defense gives up a season-high 522 total yards to balanced Griffins offensive attack

Posted: October 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.

College of the Canyons wide receiver Travion Tucker reaches out to make the grab in front of Grossmont defensive back Eldredge Calhoun on Saturday at Grossmont College.

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Up until this point, College of the Canyons football hasn’t had a whole lot to complain about.

It had three comfortable wins — one on the road — and a seven-point loss to two-time defending state champion Mt. San Antonio College.

It was all set up for a pleasant transition into the start of National Division, Northern Conference play.

Then the whole thing was spoiled by a 38-14 loss to Grossmont College on Saturday afternoon at Grossmont College.

“It’s non-conference game, a good opponent and it’s a great lesson,” said COC head coach Garett Tujague, “and I told those kids to obviously get something out of the loss, but obviously you don’t want to have to lose a game to get something out of it.”

COC (3-2) heads into a bye week before its conference opener at El Camino College on Oct. 15.

That should give the Cougars time to figure out how to avoid another defensive performance like Saturday’s where they gave up a season-high 522 total yards.

The Griffins (2-3) used the passing game to go ahead early, and then ran the ball in the second half to put it away.

Grossmont opened the day’s scoring when quarterback Mike Karls connected with Joshua Bell for a 25-yard touchdown strike to put his team up 7-0 late in the first quarter.

The scoring drive came directly after COC quarterback Chris Rini was picked off by David Edgerson on third-and-goal in the end zone, ending a promising 11 play, 71-yard drive.

“A couple of mistakes on offense kind of turned the momentum around and on defense, it was just a tough day,” said Rini, who finished 12-for-23 passing with 170 yards and a touchdown to go with the interception.

The Cougars didn’t get on the board until the 9:57 mark of the second quarter when running back Jamie Wilson ran for an 18-yard score, making it a 14-7 Grossmont lead.

It was pushed to 17-7 by halftime.

Rini found Travion Tucker for a 15-yard touchdown pass on the first drive of the second half to get the Cougars within three at 17-14, but that was as close as they’d come.

“I think the game of football is very simple,” Tujague said. “You’ve got to block, you’ve got to tackle, you’ve got to make plays, and today we didn’t do that.”

Karls added two more touchdown passes in the second half to push his total to five on a 13-for-20, 194-yards, one-interception passing performance. He also added a 1-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.

The Griffins also ran the ball for 310 yards with Karls notching 109 himself and Grossmont’s Matthew Cass leading all rushers with 114 yards on 14 carries.

“They were definitely fundamentally sound,” Rini said. “They didn’t make a lot of mistakes.”

For the Cougars, the loss marks four straight against Grossmont dating back to 2005. That doesn’t change what COC wanted coming into the season.

“We want to win conference,” Rini said. “We’ve got a bye to prepare for that goal.”

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