Devon Dunn passed for 254 yards and 3 touchdowns, leading College of the Canyons to a 20-14 win over winless Bakersfield as the Cougars ran their record to 5-0 for the first time since 2008.
Canyons (5-0, 2-0) never trailed and held a 13-point lead midway through the fourth quarter against a Bakersfield (0-5, 0-2) squad that racked up just 8 first downs all afternoon. But the Renegades cut the deficit to just six points after quarterback Dalton Gallis scored on a 1-yard keeper with 6:36 left, putting the outcome of the game in doubt.
With so much time left, Bakersfield surely expected to get the ball back, perhaps with a chance to drive for the winning touchdown. But the Cougars kept control for that final 6:36, thanks to a pair of huge third-down plays, and never gave the Renegades a chance for one final drive.
Dunn started the scoring with 1:40 left in the first quarter with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Conner Byrnes, who found a seam in the coverage and was wide open in the middle of the field. Then in the second quarter Dunn threw a 23-yard scoring pass to Jackson French. That made it 13-0 with 6:25 left in the first half.
Bakersfield struck quickly after that when Gallis threw a quick outlet pass to receiver David Ross along the left sideline. Ross shook off one attempted tackle and then sped down the sideline for an 88-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 13-7.
Dunn threw his third touchdown pass of the game in the third quarter, a 13-yard strike to Nicholas Jones with 8:09 left in the quarter, to push Canyons' lead to 20-7. At that point Bakersfield had just 3 first downs in the game, one of which was the Ross touchdown.
The Renegade offense showed signs of life, picking up three first downs in its next two possessions, but didn't threaten to score until Gallis completed a 45-yard pass to Isiah Sharp to start what would be its last possession midway through the fourth quarter. Two plays later Gallis completed a 25-yard pass to Falzon Knight, who was stopped at the Cougar 1 yard-line. Two plays after that Gallis scored on a keeper to make it 20-14 with 6:36 to play.
Then the Cougars got the ball, and they never gave it back to Bakersfield. The first of the two key third-down plays came with Canyons facing a 3rd and 7 at the 45; Dunn faced pressure but scrambled for a 13-yard gain and a first down. Then three plays later Canyons faced a 3rd and 11 at the 33. Just as the ball was snapped – or maybe a half-second after the snap – the whistle blew for a false start penalty against the Cougars.
But the whistle came too late for Bakersfield linebacker Joseph Hurtado, who finished a hit and was flagged for a personal foul penalty. That gave Canyons another first down. The Cougars got one more first down when Kenny Torrence ran for 5 yards on a 3rd and 4, allowing Canyons to run out the rest of the time left on the clock and escape with its 5th straight victory.
Dunn finished 19 of 30 passing for 254 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception; he also carried the ball 14 times for 44 yards (11 carries for 60 yards not counting sacks). Torrence had 21 carries for 52 yards. Jones led all receivers with 7 catches, good for 99 yards and a touchdown.
For Bakersfield, Gallis completed 9 of 20 passes for 221 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Curtis McGregor had 12 carries for 55 yards, and also had a 37-yard kickoff return. And Ross had 2 catches for a game-high 103 yards, most of which came on the 88-yard touchdown play. But the Renegades managed just 8 first downs in the game, and punted the ball away 9 times. Hurtado registered all three of Bakersfield's quarterback sacks, and his key personal foul penalty was more a matter of bad timing (and a slightly late whistle) than anything else. Overall the Bakersfield defense, led by Hurtado, was what kept the Renegades in the game.
With the win Canyons improves to 5-0 for the first time since 2008 when the Cougars were 12-0 before losing in the Southern California championship game to Mt. San Antonio. The Cougars travel to Mission Viejo next Saturday to take on Saddleback in what figures to be their toughest test since slaying defending champion Mt. SAC in the season's opening week.
Bakersfield, on the other hand, falls to 0-5 for the first time in school history. But someone will finally find the win column next Saturday as the Renegades host also-winless Citrus at Memorial Stadium.
College of the Canyons Cougars 42, Bakersfield Renegades 14
Saturday, October 3, 2015 - 1 pm @ Cougar Stadium, Santa Clarita
National Division – Northern Conference
C – Byrnes 37 yd pass from Dunn (kick wide right – bad snap) 1:40 (6-0)
C – French 23 yd pass from Dunn (Chadwick kick) 6:25 (13-0)
B – Ross 88 yd pass from Gallis (Galvan kick) 5:48 (13-7)
C – N.Jones 13 yd pass from Dunn (Chadwick kick) 8:09 (20-7)
B – Gallis 1 yd run (Galvan kick) 6:36 (20-14)
First Downs: Canyons 21 (7 rush, 11 pass, 3 penalty), Bakersfield 8 (2 rush, 6 pass)
Rushes-Yds: Canyons 43-113, Bakersfield 31-90
Passing Yds: Canyons 254, Bakersfield 221
Comp-Att-Int: Canyons 19-30-1, Bakersfield 9-20-0
Return Yds: Canyons 69, Bakersfield 53
Sacks-Yds: Canyons 2-7, Bakersfield 3-16
Fumbles-Lost: Canyons 0-0, Bakersfield 0-0
Penalties-Yds: Canyons 6-40, Bakersfield 6-49
Time of Possession: Canyons 36:27, Bakersfield 23:33
Rushing: C 21-Torrence 21-52, 10-Dunn 14-44, 13-Williams 4-22, 42-Oshiro 1-1, team 3-(-6); B 5-McGregor 12-55, 19-Gallis 13-18, 3-Sharp 6-17
Passing: C 10-Devon Dunn 19-30-1-254, 3 TDs; B 19-Gallis 9-20-0-221, 1 TD
Receiving: C 81-Nicholas Jones 7-99, 11-Werah 4-51, 7-French 2-31, 16-Overstreet 2-12, 12-Byrnes 1-37, 15-Tohill 1-22, 21-Torrence 1-3, 13-Williams 1-(-1); B 3-Sharp 3-56, 18-David Ross 2-103, 5-McGregor 2-22, 7-Knight 1-25, 14-Littles 1-15
Interceptions-Ret Yds: C none; B 29-Frasch 1-0
Fum Rec-Ret Yds: none
Sacks-Yds: C 55-Lopeti 1-6, 48-Davenport 1-1; B 10-Hurtado 3-16
Punters: C 31-McKinney 7-38.6 avg; B 84-Aleman 9-38.6 avg
Kick Returns: C 35-Hall 1-31, 6-Brown 1-28; B 5-McGregor 1-37, 7-Knight 1-9
Punt Returns: C 6-Brown 2-10; B 3-Sharp 5-7
Missed FG: none
Notes: Canyons entered 4-0, 1-0 in National-North and ranked tied for #2 in National Division. Bakersfield entered 0-4, 0-1 in National-North. After Bakersfield's 2nd TD Canyons ran out the clock thanks to two huge plays: a 13-yard scramble by Dunn and a personal foul penalty on Hurtado after a (slightly late) whistle for a COC false start. The all-time series between the two programs is now tied 8-8.