Cerritos (7-3, 4-2) saw a 21-7 halftime lead slip away in the fourth quarter, but got a huge break when Canyons (4-6, 3-3) snapped the ball over quarterback Tony Dawson's head for a 31-yard loss early in the fourth quarter. That led to a punt and a short field, with Carter capping a 10-play, 56-yard drive with his 12-yard scoring run with 7:52 left in the fourth quarter.
Canyons had a chance to answer back and likely even take a lead, as half of the fourth quarter remained and the Falcons held just a 6-point after Brandon Romero's extra point try bounced off the right upright. But the Cougars made it only as far as their own 47 before three straight incomplete passes turned the ball over to the Falcons on downs with 1:44 left. After a Cerritos punt, Canyons got the ball back one last time at its own 11 with 42 seconds and no timeouts left, but never threatened to score.
For much of the first half, Cerritos seemed able to move up and down the field at will, stopped only by its own miscues. The Falcons' first drive reached the Cougar 8 before a penalty and an interception in the end zone by COC's Devin Brooks. Then about four minutes into the game, Canyons' Westly Johnson snatched the ball from Falcon running back Travis Newberry and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown, giving the Cougars a surprising 7-0 lead.
But then Cerritos settled down and put together a 13-play, 75-yard drive that chewed up more than six minutes and drew the Falcons even. Walker tossed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Domonique Young with 4:27 left in the first quarter to even the score. Then, after a Canyons punt, Cerritos drove 66 yards in 11 plays and took a 14-7 lead on Walker's second touchdown pass of the night, an 8-yard toss to DeVonte Carter 2:30 into the second quarter.
Canyons switched quarterbacks from starter Tony Dawson to back-up Devon Dunn, and the Cougars threatened to tie the score late in the second quarter, driving to the Cerritos 13 yard-line. But the drive stalled at the 17 and Eric Kreitz came on to attempt a 34-yard field goal. Then Cerritos' Anthony Murray broke in around the edge from the right side of the defense and blocked the kick. Jerry Smith picked up the loose ball and carried it 80 yards for a touchdown to stretch Cerritos' lead to 21-7.
Dawson re-entered the game for the Cougars to start the second half, and he got the Cougars back in the game by leading his team to touchdowns on its first two drives of the third quarter. He threw a 51-yard pass to Anthony Fowler to set up the first touchdown, which Dawson himself scored on a 7-yard run 3:02 into the quarter. Then he led the Cougars on a 15-play, 72-yard drive that chewed up nearly half of the third quarter, and his 16-yard touchdown pass to speedster Tim White evened the score 21-21 with 35 seconds left in the quarter.
Riding that momentum, the Cougar defense forced a Cerritos punt after only one first down, giving Canyons the ball at its own 33 with nearly the entire fourth quarter to go. But on the very next play came the bad snap, which pinned the Cougars back at their own 2 yard-line. On 4th and 27 the Cougars had to punt, and Cerritos took advantage of the excellent field position to score what was eventually the winning touchdown.
For Cerritos, Walker completed 15 of 25 passes for 159 yards, one interception and 2 touchdowns. Newberry led all rushers with 116 yards on 9 carries, while Carter had 86 yards on 18 carries and scored the decisive touchdown. Joseph Donnell rushed for 64 yards on 9 carries as the Falcons amassed 270 yards on the ground. Carter also led Cerritos receives with 5 catches for 62 yards. Erick Zarate had two of the Falcons' four quarterback sacks. And of course Murray and Smith combined for the touchdown on the blocked field goal.
For Canyons, Dawson completed 9 of 18 passes for 110 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also led Cougar rushers with 75 yards on 18 carries, and scored a touchdown on the ground. White led all receivers with 7 catches for 66 yards and also had 80 yards on punt and kickoff returns. Johnson had a huge game on defense with his fumble return for a touchdown and one of the five Cougar quarterback sacks.
The win improves Cerritos' record to 7-3 overall and 4-2 in conference, and the Falcons are expected to receive a bowl bid when they are announced Monday afternoon. Canyons finishes 4-6 overall and 3-3 in conference play.
Cerritos Falcons 27
Canyons Cougars 21
Saturday, November 15, 2014 - 6 pm - Cougar Stadium, Santa Clarita
National Division - North Conference
Canyons - W.Johnson 37 yd fumble return (Kreitz kick) 10:54 (0-7)
Cerritos - Young 6 yd pass from Walker (Romero kick) 4:27 (7-7)
Cerritos - Whitaker 8 yd pass from Walker (Romero kick) 12:30 (14-7)
Cerritos - Smith 80 yd return of blocked field goal (Romero kick) 2:49 (21-7)
Canyons - Dawson 7 yd run (Kreitz kick) 11:58 (21-14)
Canyons - White 16 yd pass from Dawson (Kreitz kick) 0:35 (21-21)
Cerritos - Carter 12 yd run (kick hit right upright) 7:52 (27-21)
First Downs: Canyons 16 (9 rush, 7 pass), Cerritos 24 (14 rush, 6 pass, 4 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Canyons 39-126, Cerritos 49-270
Passing Yds: Canyons 127, Cerritos 159
Comp-Att-Int: Canyons 11-24-1, Cerritos 15-25-1
Return Yds: Canyons 155, Cerritos 91
Sacks-Yds: Canyons 5-29, Cerritos 4-10
Fumbles-Lost: Canyons 2-0, Cerritos 1-1
Penalties-Yds: Canyons 10-78, Cerritos 4-40
Time of Possession: Canyons 27:50, Cerritos 32:10
Rushing: Canyons 10-Dawson 10-75, 14-McBride 14-43, 2-Dunn 3-26, 28-E.Johnson 2-14, team 2-(-32); Cerritos 20-Newberry 9-116, 9-Carter 18-86, 6-Donnell 9-64, 33-Gordon 5-23, 18-Caines 1-2, 7-Walker 7-(-21)
Passing: Canyons 10-Dawson 9-18-1-110, 1 TD; 2-Dunn 2-5-0-17; Cerritos 7-Walker 15-25-1-159, 2 TDs
Receiving: Canyons 6-White 7-66, 7-French 2-9, 12-Fowler 1-51, 14-McBride 1-1; Cerritos 9-Carter 5-62, 11-Whitaker 3-41, 5-Young 2-12, 89-Bell-James 1-28, 6-Donnell 1-7, 18-Caines 1-5, 10-White 1-3, 40-Tongakilo 1-1
Interceptions-Ret Yds: Canyons 4-Brooks 1-0; Cerritos 2-Monette 1-0
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: Canyons 35-W.Johnson 1-37; Cerritos none
Sacks: Canyons 92-Mealancon 1½, 32-Murillo, 35-W.Johnson, 55-Mitogo, 19-Costleigh ½; Cerritos 13-Zarate 2, 94-Price, 99-Featherston
Punters: Canyons 39-Jimenez 4-40.8 avg, 10-Dawson 1-30; Cerritos 31-Bojorquez 4-35.0 avg
Kick Returns: Canyons 6-White 3-79, 22-Lee 2-38; Cerritos 4-Smith 1-11, 9-Carter 1-3
Punt Returns: Canyons 6-White 2-1; Cerritos 4-Smith 1-(-3)
Return of Blocked FG: Canyons none; Cerritos 4-Smith 1-80
Missed FG: Canyons 11-Kreitz 34 yds (blocked); Cerritos 16-Romero 21 yds (wide right)
Notes: Cerritos entered ranked #7 in National and improves to 7-3 overall, 4-2 in conference; Canyons entered #13 in National and finishes 4-6, 3-3. Dawson stared at QB for COC; Dunn played 2 series in the 2nd quarter. Johnson snatched the ball from Newberry and returned it for his fumble recovery & TD. 24-Murray blocked the field goal, which Smith returned for the TD, for Cerritos. After Carter's TD, COC drove to the Cougar 47 but turned the ball over on downs with 1:44 left; COC the ball back one last time with 42 seconds left but never threatened to score.