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COC football: The season begins all over for COC

Cougars start conference play tonight with a road matchup at No. 9-ranked El Camino College

Posted: October 15, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 15, 2011 1:55 a.m.

College of the Canyons wide receiver Adam Schechter, left, steps through a tackle by Mt. SAC’s Pauliasi Vake on Sept. 10 at College of the Canyons.

The College of the Canyons football team has had two weeks to stew over its 38-14 loss to Grossmont College on Oct. 1, and the team is ready to get back on the field tonight at El Camino College at 6 p.m in the National Division, Northern Conference opener for both teams.

With a bye week between contests, the Cougars (3-2) have used the extra time to work on themselves, rather than focusing all of their attention on the Warriors (5-0).

“I’ve always thought that it’s about us,” said COC head coach Garett Tujague. “To some extent I don’t really care what El Camino does. We know what we need to do. What we have to do.”

And one thing they have to do is improve on a defensive performance that gave up 522 total yards to Grossmont.

And things won’t be much easier this week.

El Camino, the No. 9 ranked team in this week’s California Community College Football Coaches Association poll, features another balanced offense that will test how much the No. 22 ranked Cougars have improved during the bye week.

“I’m impressed with their overall team speed. They have some offensive players with the ability to make plays,” Tujague said. “It makes it tough (for a defense).”

The Warriors feature four receivers who have amassed over 200 receiving yards this season — Jarrad Shaw, Jahrie Level, Luckner Brady and Kenneth Holms — and a speedy running back in Alondra Johnson.

The Canyons offense is expected to feature a rotation of three quarterbacks which led it to a 42-17 victory in its week four matchup with East Los Angeles College.

The unorthodox system will see sophomore Chris Rini start under center, with Tyler D’Amore and Chris Owens rotating in after one quarterback fails to lead the team on a scoring drive.

The rotation may not be the norm around organized football, but Tujague feels the unique system ensures that everyone on the team is always competing — something he feels gives the Cougars an edge over the competition.

“It’s just like life,” Tujague said. “If we aren’t pushed, we get into our comfort zone. That’s a problem. I’ve told all the kids that we recruit that you’re going to compete. To be able to have that competition, I think that absolutely puts us at an advantage.”

And the Cougars will need every advantage they can get when they face a Warriors team that has outgained its opponents by an average of 416.2 yards to 283.8 yards.

Still, though, Canyons’ focus continues to be on what it needs to do to keep improving.

“You let something heal, you take care of it,” said Tujague, when asked if the team has moved on from its loss to Grossmont. “It’s history and you have to learn from history. You have to look at ‘Why did this happen?’ You have to adapt.”

And tonight, Canyons will have its first opportunity to find out just how well it has adapted.

“I had all my coaches re-evaluate this week how we do things,” Tujague said. “I’m excited to see what happens at 6 p.m.”


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