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COC football: Less than opportunistic

Early mistakes put COC in an insurmountable hole

Posted: October 16, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 16, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

TORRANCE — It only took one play to effectively end the No. 22 College of the Canyons football team’s comeback attempt Saturday night against No. 9 El Camino at El Camino College in the National Division, Northern Conference opener for both teams.

The final tally was 42-21 in El Camino’s favor, but COC had its chances.

Trailing by a touchdown midway through the second quarter, Canyons took over on the Warriors 7-yard line after El Camino botched a snap on a punt attempt.

Running back Jaime Wilson took the handoff and leaped toward the end zone.

It appeared to be close as to whether or not the ball had crossed the goal line, but the officials ruled that the Warriors’ Darious Lane had forced the ball lose for a fumble that was recovered by El Camino prior to the ball crossing the goal line.

“He’s done a great job for us all year,” said Canyons head coach Garett Tujague. “It was huge but we also had other opportunities on offense, the whole game didn’t hinge on that one play.”

But Canyons (3-3, 0-1) would never seriously threaten again, as El Camino scored on its next two possession to close out the first half en route to a 35-7 lead at the break.

The Warriors led 14-7 when they recovered Wilson’s goal-line fumble.

El Camino (6-0, 1-0) used a balanced attack to methodically dissect the Cougars’ defense early in the game to take a 14-0 first quarter lead.

Warriors’ quarter back Omar Herrera connected on four first-half touchdown passes of 35, 17, 23 and 29 yards.

Herrera would finish with 339 yards passing on 19-of-31 attempts before leaving the game midway through the third quarter.

“We came out with a good game plan,” Herrara said. “Coach (Featherstone) had a good game plan for us and we came out and executed plays.”

Backup signal caller Ron Clark found success of his own, leading the Warriors on a touchdown drive with 7:28 to go in the third quarter, when running back Alondra Johnson ran five yards into the end zone for a 42-17 lead.

Johnson would finished with 66 yards rushing on 12 carries and a touchdown.

Ricky Johnson added 46 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown.

For Canyons, the offense struggled out of the gate, with its trio of quarterbacks — Chris Rini, Tyler D’Amore and Chris Owens — all stumbling early.

Rini was the first to get things going though, orchestrating a 10-play, 85-yard touchdown drive with 9:42 remaining in the half to pull the Cougars within seven points.

Rini would finish with 54 yards passing on 4-of-16 attempts and Chris Owens added 188 yards on 11-of-19 attempts.

It was Owens’ chance to turn things around in the fourth, as he led a successful drive to start the fourth quarter, giving Canyons its first points of the second half and pulling within 42-14 with 12:34 remaining in the game.

Owens completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Louis Gipson with 5:43 remaining to pull the score to 42-21.

The Cougars consistently had trouble getting their running game going too, as they combined for just 41 first-half rushing yards.

Roberto Dominguez led the way for Canyons with 18 yards on four carries.

“Defensively, they had seven guys in the box and would bring down an eighth and ninth guy,” Tujague said. “You’re not supposed to be able to run the ball on that.”

And unfortunately for Canyons, while the passing game picked up late, it wasn’t consistent enough to defeat the Warriors Saturday night.

Canyons will now turn its attention to next week, when it will face Allan Hancock College at Cougar Stadium on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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