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Perfect - barely

Cougars win National Div. Northern Conference title in overtime

Posted: November 8, 2008 9:16 p.m.
Updated: November 9, 2008 4:30 a.m.

College of the Canyons running back Fred Winborn rushes against the Pasadena City College defense during first quarter action at COC on Saturday.

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It was almost a state of shock for the state's No. 2 ranked junior college football team, but College of the Canyons overcame a late deficit to defeat Pasadena City College 42-41 in overtime Saturday at Cougar Stadium.

The win gives the Cougars the Northern Division National Conference championship.

Canyons running back Fred Winborn capped off his stellar night with a 7-yard overtime run to put the Cougars up 42-35. The play was set up by a 12-yard run by backup quarterback, Joey Frias, taking his first snaps of the game.

COC starting quarterback Brad McClellan had to leave the game at the end of regulation with an injury.

The Lancers (5-4, 3-2) responded when quarterback Eldrin Jones hit Titus Mack in the back of the end zone to cut COC's overtime lead to 42-41.

Deciding to go for the two-point conversion and the win, PCC put the ball in the hands of Roman Pula, a 5-foot, 10-inch, 245 pound fullback.

Pula was swarmed and stopped on the goal line, giving the Cougars the win.

With Mt. SAC's loss Saturday, the Cougars (9-0, 5-0) will likely become the No.1 ranked team in Southern California.

"I would do it all over again," said PCC head coach James Kuk. "We lost on our own terms."

The win sets up a highly-anticipated matchup as the Cougars travel to rival Bakersfield, their perfect season on the line as they try to avenge last season's 45-41 loss.

However, it was Winborn's night to shine. He ran for 235 yards and five touchdowns.

The back-and-forth game was marred by penalties - 37 for 356 yards.

The Cougars' 22 infractions for 222 yards kept PCC in the game, giving them second, third and fourth opportunities.

The Lancers took the 35-28 lead late in the fourth quarter when PCC defensive back Derek Mack forced a fumble from Cougars' Nate Jones. Pula then picked up the ball, returning it 17 yards for the score, giving Pasadena its first lead of the game.

With the season on the line, Winborn took the ball 55 yards with a minute left to the Lancers 15, only to punch it in from the 3-yard line to tie the game at 35-35 with 54 seconds left in the game.

McClellan finished 13-for-23 for 164 yards and an interception that led to a late Lancer touchdown.
Cougars' wide receiver Hayo Carpenter had four receptions for 90 yards in the win.



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