It was a different type of game for two of the most successful programs in California over the last decade, as both Mt. SAC and COC have often featured high-flying offenses that light up the scoreboard and rack up the passing yards. But on a day that featured rain in Santa Clarita and a night that included a full moon, perhaps it was best to expect the unexpected.
Mt. SAC took a 7-3 lead on Botello's 13-yard scoring run early in the second quarter, stretched its advantage to 10-3 on a 44-yard field goal by Abraham Torres a few minutes later and led the rest of the way. Canyons got within a score with just under nine minutes left and even had the ball one more time, but the Mt. SAC defense allowed just one more first down and the Mounties managed to run out the final 4:10 to secure the victory.
Canyons took a 3-0 lead with 1:29 left in the first quarter on a 44-yard field goal by Jeff Flores, and that was the only scoring play of the first quarter. Mt. SAC answered with an 8-play, 53-yard drive after a short kickoff that culminated with Botello's scoring run to take a 7-3 lead.
Mt. SAC got a break when COC quarterback Christian Rini attempted a backwards pass to running back Michael Brown and they missed connections. The ball bounced around a bit before a Mt. SAC defender - it appeared to be defensive back Anthony Goodwin - corralled the loose ball before it went out of bounds. That helped set up a 44-yard field goal by Abraham Torres to push Mt. SAC's lead to 10-3.
Mt. SAC just missed pushing its lead to double digits when Travis Coons' 57-yard field goal try on the final play of the first half hit the outside of the right upright and bounced wide. And the score remained 10-3 after a scoreless third quarter.
Mt. SAC pushed its lead to 17-3 when Deen hit Agwuenu with a 16-yard pass in the corner of the end zone with 13:45 left in the game. Canyons answered with an 11-play, 74-yard drive to get within a touchdown, but never got any closer.
Canyons got the ball back one final time with 6:39 left at its own 7 yard line. And when Jamie Wilson gained 13 yards and a first down to the 28, it appeared the Cougars might be ready to tie the score. But the Mt. SAC defense dug in, allowing just one more yard in the next three plays and forcing a COC punt.
And though Mt. SAC didn't score again, the Mounties' offense did what it had to do to get the win, gaining four first downs and running out the clock. A holding penalty early in the drive appeared to give COC hope of getting the ball back, but an 11-yard pass from Deen to Darrin Duncan got the Mounties a first down two plays later. Botello gained another first down and Christian Bobo gained two more as the Mounties ran out the remaining time to get the win.
For Mt. SAC, Deen completed 16 of 27 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Botello gained 99 yards on 17 carries, and Bobo added 67 yards on 13 carries. Agwuenu led all receivers with 6 catches for 61 yards and had the game's only touchdown catch. Linebacker Leo Aukusitino had a pair of sacks to lead the Mt. SAC defense, which totaled 4 sacks on the night.
For Canyons, Rini completed 14 of 26 passes for 124 yards and also rushed for 42 yards on 19 carries (78 yards on 15 attempts if sacks are subtracted out). Jamie Wilson rushed for 78 yards on 15 attempts.
Mt. SAC returns home next week to take on the College of the Desert Roadrunners, one of the surprise teams of the season so far. Canyons heads to Glendora to take on Citrus.
Mt. San Antonio Mounties 17
College of the Canyons Cougars 10
Saturday, September 10, 2011 - 7 pm - Cougar Stadium, Santa Clarita
C - FG Flores 44 yds 1:29 (0-3)
M - Botello 13 yd run (Coons kick) 13:26 (7-3)
M - FG Torres 44 yds 9:12 (10-3)
M - Agwuenu 16 yd pass from Deen (Coons kick) 13:45 (17-3)
C - Jordan 5 yd run (Flores kick) 8:53 (17-10)
Team Statistics: First Downs: Canyons 17 (7 rush, 7 pass, 1 penalty), Mt. SAC 19 (11 rush, 7 pass, 1 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Canyons 42-156, Mt. SAC 37-181
Passing Yds: Canyons 124, Mt. SAC 143
Comp-Att-Int: Canyons 14-26-0, Mt. SAC 16-28-2
Return Yds: Canyons 58, Mt. SAC 100
Sacks-Yds: Canyons 0-0, Mt. SAC 4-36
Fumbles-Lost: Canyons 2-1, Mt. SAC 1-0
Penalties-Yds: Canyons 12-104, Mt. SAC 10-89
Time of Possession: Canyons 33:24, Mt. SAC 26:36
Rushing: C 10-Wilson 15-78, 5-Rini 19-42, 14-Szymanski 3-14, 31-Brown 2-11, 12-Schechter 2-6, 2-Jordan 1-5; M 32-Botello 17-99, 20-Bobo 13-67, 11-Deen 2-13, 34-Larmie 1-2, 9-Magalei 2-2, team 2-(-2)
Passing: C 5-Rini 14-26-0-124; M 11-Deen 16-27-2-143, 1 TD; team 0-1-0-0
Receiving: C 25-Rivas 3-34, 14-Szymanski 3-19, 2-Jordan 2-22, 31-Brown 2-20, 12-Schechter 2-12, 89-Carter 1-15, 10-Wilson 1-0; M 1-Agwuenu 6-61, 6-Duncan 3-32, 8-Viramontes 3-32, 82-Taylor 2-20, 18-Dotson 1-5, Cochran 1-5, 10-Tillman 1-0
Interceptions-Ret Yds: C 26-Jarrett Tryon 1-4, 33-Finney 1-0; M none
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: C none; M 4-Goodwin 1-0
Sacks: C none; M 33-Aukusitino 2-22, 31-Brandon 1-9, 69-Pututau 1-5
Punters: C 96-Roth 7-40.6 avg; M 30-Coons 3-36.3 avg, 49-Colby 2-18.0 avg
Kick Returns: C 6-Dominguez 2-34, 16-Graves 1-15, 27-Jarrod Tryon 1-5; M 3-Lomu 1-28, 33-Aukusitino 1-22, 41-Scanlan 1-15
Punt Returns: C none; M 3-Lomu 4-35
Missed FG: C 37-Flores 37 yds (wide left); M 30-Coons 57 yds (hit right upright)
Notes: Mt. SAC, ranked #1 in California (JCAB) and #2 in the nation (JC Grid-Wire) improves to 2-0 while Canyons falls to 1-1. Mt. SAC's FG came after Goodwin's recovery of a botched COC lateral. COC had one last chance to score but gained just a single first down before punting the ball away with 4:10 left. Mt. SAC then proceed to run out the rest of the time to secure the win. Mt. SAC also won when these teams met in 2010 and in the SoCal championship game in 2008. This is Mt. SAC's 25th straight win, dating back to 9/26/09.