Dawson, one of two alternating quarterbacks for Canyons (7-1, 4-0), rushed for 74 yards and 3 touchdowns and also threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Louis Gipson. And Poole, who attended Moorpark High School, intercepted Moorpark's Nick Davis 4 times to become the first Cougar to register four picks in a game.
Canyons pulled away in the second half after Moorpark (4-5, 1-4) took a 10-7 lead less than two minutes into the third quarter. Less than a minute later, Dawson threw the touchdown pass to Gipson, and then the Cougar defense forced 4 turnovers on the next 5 Moorpark offensive plays, one of which led to Dawson's second touchdown run of the game. Dawson added a 3-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter, and Matt Bowen clinched the win with a 53-yard touchdown run with 11:11 left for the victorious Cougars.
Still, for more than a half, the upstart Raiders gave host Canyons all they could handle. The Raider defense held the Cougars to a single touchdown, and the Moorpark offensive line, which averages nearly 350 pounds per lineman, threatened to allow the Raiders to move the ball on the ground. At the break it was 7-3 and then the Raiders started the second half with a 7-play drive, taking a 10-7 lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by Josh Robles.
That lead lasted less than a minute, however, as Dawson and Gipson teamed up on the 65-yard touchdown play just 59 seconds later. Then after an interception by Poole - his second of the night - Dawson scored on a 1-yard keeper to make it 21-10.
The Cougar defense kept Moorpark from getting back in the game by keeping the turnovers coming. Joey Cicoria intercepted a Davis pass that appeared to slip out of the quarterback's hand. Austin Murillo recovered a fumble. Then Poole intercepted another pass. However, the Moorpark defense kept the Raiders in the game by not allowing any points off those last three turnovers.
Finally, however, Canyons got another score following a Moorpark punt. Dawson capped an 11-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter. Moorpark answered with a quick 6-play drive that ended with a 1-yard scoring run by Robles with 13:23 left. But Bowen put the game away with a 53-yard touchdown run with 11:11 left that made it 35-17. If there was any remaining doubt as to the game's outcome, Poole's fourth interception with 8:15 left ended the lingering suspense.
Dawson opened the scoring with his first touchdown run in the first half, covering the first 40 yards and the final 20 yards on a quick 3-play drive midway through the first quarter. Moorpark answered with a 16-play drive that ended with a 30-yard field goal by Chris Taylor to close the gap to 7-3. That was the extent of the scoring in the first half, though Canyons came close late in the second quarter when Armon Easley intercepted a Davis pass and returned it to the Raider 1 before being tackled by 357-pound lineman Brandon Grady. But two negative yardage plays and a penalty pushed the Cougars back to the 15, and Eric Kreitz' 32-yard field goal attempt was wide left with 39 seconds in the half.
For Canyons, Dawson completed 9 of 18 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown, and also rushed 14 times for 74 yards and 3 touchdowns. Bowen led all rushers with 156 yards on 17 carries and scored the game's clinching touchdown. And of course the standout on defense was Poole, with his 4 interceptions. The Cougar defense totaled 6 interceptions and also recovered a fumble.
For Moorpark, Davis was 23 of 45 passing for 237 yards, and also rushed 10 times for 51 yards. Greg Morton had 12 carries for 46 yards, and Josh Robles had 7 carries for 28 yards and 2 touchdowns. Raymond Bolden led all receivers with 9 catches for 121 yards.
The win sends Canyons into a showdown next Saturday with Cerritos for the championship of the National Division's Northern Conference. Both teams are 4-0 in conference play. Kickoff is 6 pm at Cougar Stadium, and JCFootball.com will be there with full coverage.
College of the Canyons Cougars 35, Moorpark Raiders 17
Saturday, November 2, 2013 - 6 pm @ Cougar Stadium, Santa Clarita
National Division - Northern Conference
1st Quarter: C - Dawson 20 yd run (Kreitz kick) 7:33 (7-0)
M - FG Taylor 30 yds 1:57 (7-3)
2nd Quarter: No Scoring
3rd Quarter: M - Robles 2 yd run (Taylor kick) 13:02 (7-10)
C - Gipson 65 yd pass from Dawson (Kreitz kick) (14-10)
C - Dawson 1 yd run (Kreitz kick) 10:18 (21-10)
4th Quarter: C - Dawson 3 yd run (Kreitz kick) 14:55 (28-10)
M - Robles 1 yd run (Taylor kick) 13:23 (28-17)
C - Bowen 53 yd run (Kreitz kick) 11:11 (35-17)
First Downs: Canyons 23 (12 rush, 10 pass, 1 penalty), Moorpark 19 (7 rush, 10 pass, 2 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Canyons 47-278, Moorpark 32-111
Passing Yds: Canyons 194, Moorpark 237
Comp-Att-Int: Canyons 14-29-0, Moorpark 23-45-6
Return Yds: Canyons 113, Moorpark 13
Sacks-Yds: Canyons 1-5, Moorpark 5-25
Fumbles-Lost: Canyons 1-1, Moorpark 2-1
Penalties-Yds: Canyons 7-55, Moorpark 5-53
Time of Possession: Canyons 33:57, Moorpark 26:03
Rushing: C 5-Bowen 17-156, 10-Dawson 14-74, 28-Gaines 6-32, 11-Tucker 1-10, 12-Dashnaw 8-7, team 1-(-1); M 12-Davis 10-51, 25-Morton 12-46, 43-Robles 7-28, team 3-(-14)
Passing: C 10-Dawson 9-18-0-161, 1 TD; 12-Dashnaw 5-11-0-73; M 12-Davis 23-45-6-237
Receiving: C 11-Tucker 5-42, 5-Bowen 4-29, 9-Gipson 2-83, 7-Vear 2-31, 8-Feyh 1-9; M 13-R.Bolden 9-121, 5-Obinna 4-57, 17-Cash 3-27, 11-Civita 2-21, 85-Zavala 1-8, 19-Coburn 1-6, 43-Robles 1-2, 25-Morton 1-(-1), 12-Davis 1-(-4)
Interceptions-Ret Yds: C 3-Poole 4-13, 24-Easley 1-31, 43-Cicoria 1-2; M none
Fum Rec-Ret Yds: C 32-Murillo 1-0; M 47-S.Bolden 1-0
Sacks: C 47-Johnson 1-5; M 47-S.Bolden 2-15, 82-Stuart 1-5, 31-Allen 1-4, 32-Weeks 1-1
Punters: C 7-Vear 8-43.5 avg; M 36-McLemore 5-41.8 avg
Kick Returns: C 11-Tucker 3-65; M 32-Weeks 1-14
Punt Returns: C 4-Adams 1-2; M 13-R.Bolden 1-(-1)
Missed FG: C 89-Kreitz 32 yds (wide left); M none
Notes: Canyons entered ranked #5 in National Division and #18 JCFootball.com. This is COC's 7th straight win as the Cougars improve to 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the National-North. Moorpark falls to 4-5 overall and 1-4 in the National-North. Dawson started at QB for COC; he and Dashnaw basically alternated quarters. Lance Poole's 4 interceptions are a new COC school record. Canyons now leads the all-time series, 17-3, and has won the last 4 meetings.