Canyons jumped out to a 17-0 first-quarter lead and never trailed, but Antelope Valley rallied to within a score in the third quarter, closing the gap to just eight points at 23-15. But then Wilson scored a pair of touchdowns, the second after AVC's fifth and final turnover of the night, and his 25-yard scoring run with 8:09 all but clinched the win for the Cougars.
AVC's first turnover game Canyons an early lead as well. COC took the opening kickoff but was forced to punt without gaining a single first down. However, Joey Roth's punt hit an AVC blocker in the back, and Zach Watkins recovered for the Cougars at the Marauder 12. Three plays later, Jeff Flores booted a 35-yard field goal to give Canyons a lead it would hold the rest of the way.
Canyons increased its lead with two more touchdowns in the first quarter. After an AVC punt, COC put together a 10-play, 79-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard scoring run on a keeper by quarterback Chris Rini to make it 10-0. Then Cougar linebacker Jake Hale intercepted a pass and returned it to the AVC 1-yard line. One play later, M. Ajani Shanks scored to make it 17-0 with 11 seconds left in the first quarter.
AVC scored the only touchdown of the second quarter when Cameron Coon threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Harmon with 6:19 left in the first half. That came after a short punt, which followed a pair of penalties against the COC offense, gave AVC the ball at the Cougar 28.
Canyons increased its lead to 23-7 on its first drive of the second half when Wilson scored his first touchdown of the night on a 10-yard run midway through the third quarter. However, AVC answered with a quick, 5-play drive that ended with a 1-yard plunge by Fred Brown, and the Marauders elected to try for two points on the conversion to make it a one-score game. Coon carried the ball into the end zone on a keeper to make it 23-15 with 6:30 left in the quarter.
But that would be as close as AVC would get. The Marauder defense forced another COC punt, but another special teams mistake would give the Cougars the break they needed to restore their two-score game. Return man Jeremy Evans muffed the punt and Adam Schechter recovered for the Cougars at the AVC 3. Four plays later, Wilson powered into the end zone of a fourth-and-goal run to make it 30-15 with 32 seconds left in the third quarter.
After another AVC punt, Canyons embarked on a 12-play, 88-yard drive that pushed the lead to 24 points, took more than five minutes off the clock and basically secured the win. Wilson's 25-yard scoring run completed the drive and made it 37-15 with 8:09 left, giving COC its largest lead of the night to that point.
AVC got a touchdown when Coon threw an 8-yard scoring pass to Brandon Buteyn with 5:53 remaining that made it 37-23. And the Marauders got the ball back on downs at their own 35 with 4:27 left. However, AVC eventually turned the ball over on downs as well at the Cougar 42. Reserve backs Daveyon Maddox and Matt Bowen moved the Cougars down the field one last time, with Bowen scoring on a 7-yard run in the final minute to make it 44-23 and round out the scoring.
Wilson finished with 87 yards on 16 carries for the Cougars, and had 3 touchdowns, to lead the COC rushing attack. Canyons totaled 244 yards on an astounding total of 63 rushing attempts, which helped the Cougars maintain possession for more than 38 of the game's 60 minutes. Rini completed 11 of 16 passes for 150 yards and also ran for a score. Curtis McCann had two interceptions and Omari Williams had two sacks to lead the defense. And of course the two recovered punt muffs on special teams both proved important, resulting in 10 Canyons points.
For Antelope Valley, Coon, who played at Canyons in 2010, completed 24 of 38 passes for 274 yards and 2 touchdowns. But he also threw three interceptions, one of which halted AVC's first drive of the night deep in COC territory and another of which set up COC's second touchdown. Evans had 8 catches for 112 yards, though he also had the costly punt muff in the third quarter. Buteyn had a game-high 9 catches for 102 yards receiving and a touchdown. More disturbingly for AVC, however, he also accounted for more than 100% of the Marauders' rushing yards as he ran for a 37-yard gain on an end-around on AVC's first play from scrimmage. Overall, AVC finished with just 33 yards on 25 carries.
Next week, Antelope Valley travels to Santa Barbara to take on the Vaqueros.
And of course, Canyons is again at home, hosting the two-time defending state and national champion Mt. San Antonio Mounties. And JCFootball.com will of course cover this game!
College of the Canyons Cougars 44
Antelope Valley Marauders 23
Saturday, September 3, 2011 - 7 pm - Cougar Stadium, Santa Clarita
C - FG Flores 35 yds 11:06 (3-0)
C - Rini 2 yd run (Flores kick) 1:42 (10-0)
C - Shanks 1 yd run (Flores kick) 0:11 (17-0)
A - Harmon 28 yd pass from Coon (Steffes kick) 6:19 (17-7)
C - Wilson 10 yd run (kick wide left) 7:46 (23-7)
A - Brown 1 yd run (Coon run) 6:30 (23-15)
C - Wilson 2 yd run (Flores kick) 0:32 (30-15)
C - Wilson 25 yd run (Flores kick) 8:09 (37-15)
A - Buteyn 8 yd pass from Coon (Harmon pass from Coon) 5:53 (37-23)
C - Bowen 7 yd run (Flores kick) 0:29 (44-23)
First Downs: Canyons 24 (10 rush, 9 pass, 5 penalty), Antelope Valley 17 (8 rush, 9 pass)
Rushes-Yds: Canyons 63-244, Antelope Valley 25-33
Passing Yds: Canyons 221, Antelope Valley 274
Comp-Att-Int: Canyons 14-24-1, Antelope Valley 24-38-3
Return Yds: Canyons 137, Antelope Valley 222
Sacks-Yds: Canyons 4-47, Antelope Valley 5-24
Fumbles-Lost: Canyons 1-0, Antelope Valley 5-2
Penalties-Yds: Canyons 13-95, Antelope Valley 12-101
Time of Possession: Canyons 38:40, Antelope Valley 21:20
Rushing: C 10-Wilson 16-87, 32-Maddox 4-50, 5-Rini 15-39, 11-Shanks 13-32, 6-Dominguez 5-27, 15-Bowen 4-22, 7-Owens 4-0, 9-D'Amore 1-(-6), 3-Garba 1-(-7);
A 41-Buteyn 1-37, 29-F.Brown 5-16, 1-Steward 4-9, 22-Francis 4-4, 23-Osuchukwu 5-2, 9-Coon 6-(-35)
Passing: C 5-Rini 11-16-0-150; 7-Owens 3-8-1-71; A 9-Coon 24-38-3-274, 2 TDs
Receiving: C 31-M.Brown 4-63, 25-Rivas 3-41, 11-Shanks 2-29, 14-Szymanski 2-18, 4-Tucker 1-41, 2-Jordan 1-30, 12-Schechter 1-(-1); A 41-Buteyn 9-102, 80-Evans 8-112, 3-Harmon 5-50, 87-White 1-7, 18-Clark 1-3
Interceptions-Ret Yds: C 20-McCann 2-56, 48-Hale 1-57; A 2-Staten 1-38
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: C 12-Schechter 1-0, 57-Watkins 1-0
Sacks: C 50-Williams 2, 47-Oliva, 42-Jeters ½, 55-Eddins ½; A 7-Parish 2, 90-Crane, 94-J.Arias, 96-Delva
Punters: C 96-Roth 5-35.2 avg; A 40-Steffes 6-38.3 avg
Kick Returns: C 16-Graves 1-21, 27-Jarrod Tryon 1-1; A 17-Culver 4-131, 2-Staten 1-34, 80-Evans 1-26
Punt Returns: C 2-Jordan 1-2; A 80-Evans 1-0, team 1-0
Missed FG: none
Notes: Season opener for both teams. COC entered ranked #13 in South (JC Athletic Bureau) and #23 in the nation (JC Grid-Wire) in the preseason rankings. Rini started at QB for COC; Owens played a few series in the 2nd quarter. COC's 1st punt hit an AVC blocker in the back; Watkins recovered for COC and that set up the FG. Shanks' TD came one play after Hale's interception & return to the 1. Wilson's 2nd TD came after Schechter recovered a muffed punt by Evans. COC now leads the all-time series, 10-4, and has won the last 7 meetings, dating back to 1999.