A week after handing Cerritos its first conference loss, upstart Moorpark dealt host Canyons a fatal blow in its quest for a playoff berth, knocking off the short-handed Cougars, 17-14, Saturday afternoon in Santa Clarita.
Kado Brown rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown and also passed for 139 yards, and Isaiah Johnson rushed for 81 yards and a score for Moorpark (4-5, 3-2), which posted its 4th win in 5 games after starting the season 0-4. Brendon Hodgson started the scoring with a field goal with 22 seconds left in the first quarter, and the Raiders led the rest of the way.
And it was a crippling loss to Canyons (6-3, 3-2), which was without starting quarterback Devon Dunn. The Baylor bounceback was injured late in the Cougars' 54-48 loss to Ventura on October 31st, and though he was on the sideline he was held out of Saturday's game against Moorpark.
After Hodgson gave Moorpark a 3-0 lead with his field goal, Johnson scored on a 5-yard run with 3:42 left in the first half to push the Raider lead to 10-0. After a Canyons punt, Ventura drove to the Cougar 11 yard-line and lined up to kick a 28-yard field goal with 3 seconds left in the first half.
That proved to be the game's most controversial play whe the kick was blocked by COC's Hayden Wright, Blake Austin picked the bouncing ball up at his own 7 and started downfield. He sprinted down the left sideline, in front of the Cougar bench, and towards the end zone as the clock went to zeroes. There was just one Raider defender to elude. Just as Austin passed the 5 yard-line, Moorpark defensive end Jordan Flack lunged for him and the whistle blew. Game officials ruled Austin out at the Moorpark 3 (though a photo posted on twitter after the game showed his foot to be inbounds), ending the half.
That play – and another blocked field goal in the second half – were to a large extent the difference in the game. But it was one of the few officials' calls that went Moorpark's way in a game that saw the Raiders penalized a vintage Oakland Raider-like 17 times for 153 yards compared to just 4 penalties for 24 yards called against the Cougars.
When the second half started, Canyons – which had totaled a minus-12 yards of total offense in the first half in Dunn's absence – drove the length of the field and scored on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Moore to Connor Byrnes. Then, after a Moorpark punt, the Cougars drove deep into Raider territory in a quest to tie the game or take the lead. On fourth and 4 from the Moorpark 21, Canyons lined up to try a 38-yard field goal that would have tied the game.
But this time it was Moorpark that blocked the kick. Jalin Burrell blocked it, and Toby Amadi picked up the ball at midfield. He carried it to the Canyons 31. That led to a short 6-play drive that ended with Brown scoring on a 9-yard run 38 seconds into the fourth quarter, extending Moorpark's lead to 17-7.
Canyons cut into the lead when Alec Chadwick kicked a 38-yard field goal with 4:38 left to make it 17-10. But Moorpark took the ensuing kickoff and ran off most of the remaining time and exhausted all three of Canyons' timeouts by gaining a pair of first downs. Finally, the Raiders punted the ball away, but COC return man Isaiah Foster muffed the catch, and Bobby Ferrer recovered for Moorpark at the Cougar 20 with 32 seconds left, clinching the win for Moorpark.
For the Raiders, Brown completed 13 of 20 passes for 139 yards, and he also gained a game-high 126 yards on 24 carries and scored a touchdown. Johnson carried the ball 16 times for 81 yards and a touchdown. Aaron Lacombe caught 6 passes for 79 yards. On defense, Dane Griffin had 3 sacks and Cory Harris had 2. And then there was Fleck, who had 1.5 quarterback sacks, forced a fumble and chased down Austin on the return of the blocked field goal – at least in the eyes of those whose opinion is the only one that matters.
For Canyons, Moore completed 16 of 28 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown without an interception despite facing a fierce rush most of the day and being sacked 7 times. Nicholas Jones caught a game-high 8 passes for 83 yards.
The win further complicates the National-North race, with Cerritos and Ventura tied for first place at 4-1 and Canyons and Moorpark tied for second at 3-2. Canyons travels to Norwalk next Saturday to take on Cerritos. Moorpark, meanwhile, finishes at home against Allan Hancock while Ventura hosts Bakersfield.
Moorpark Raiders 17, Canyons Cougars 10
Saturday, November 7, 2015 – 1 pm @ Cougar Stadium, Santa Clarita
National Division – North Conference
M – FG Hodgson 20 yds 0:22 (3-0)
M – Johnson 5 yd run (Hodgson kick) 3:42 (10-0)
C – Byrnes 5 yd pass from Moore (Chadwick kick) 10:32 (10-7)
M – Brown 9 yd run (Hodgson kick) 14:22 (17-7)
C – FG Chadwick 36 yds 4:38 (17-10)
First Downs: Canyons 10 (3 rush, 5 pass, 2 penalty), Moorpark 19 (12 rush, 6 pass, 1 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Canyons 21-30, Moorpark 45-212
Passing Yds: Canyons 114, Moorpark 139
Comp-Att-Int: Canyons 16-28-0, Moorpark 13-21-0
Return Yds: Canyons 154, Moorpark 71
Sacks-Yds: Canyons 1-12, Moorpark 7-43
Fumbles-Lost: Canyons 3-2, Moorpark 2-1
Penalties-Yds: Canyons 4-24, Moorpark 17-153
Time of Possession: Canyons 24:28, Moorpark 35:32
Rushing: C 26-Logan 2-44, 21-Torrence 10-29, 18-Moore 9-(-43); M 13-Kado Brown 24-126, 23-Isaiah Johnson 16-81, 2-Lofton 3-6, 84-Miller 1-0, team 1-(-1)
Passing: C 18-Moore 16-28-0-114, 1 TD; M 13-K.Brown 13-20-0-139, team 0-1-0-0
Receiving: C 81-Nicholas Jones 8-83, 21-Torrence 3-11, 11-Werah 2-(-1), 13-Williams 1-9, 7-French 1-7, 12-Byrnes 1-5; M 87-Aaron Lacombe 6-79, 84-Miller 3-28, 27-Gomez 2-13, 3-Mayweather 1-10, 14-Oshuchukwu 1-9
Interceptions-Ret Yds: none
Fum Rec-Ret Yds: C 29-Porter 1-0; M 10-Perryman 1-0, 35-Ferrer 1-0
Sacks: C 80-Felkel; M 19-Griffin 3, 24-Harris 2, 43-Flack 1½, 90-Hunsicker ½
Punters: C 31-McKinney 5-45.0 avg; M 8-Henrotin 5-35.8 avg
Kick Returns: C 6-T.Brown 2-35, 13-Williams 2-29; M 21-Burrell 2-39
Punt Returns: C 4-Foster 2-0; M 87-Lacombe 1-13
Return of Blocked FG: C 24-Austin 1-90; M 29-Amadi 1-19
Ejection: 26-Morton (M) 10:19 3rd quarter
Missed FG: C 39-Chadwick 38 yds (blocked); M 15-Hodgson 28 yds (blocked)
Notes: Moorpark entered ranked #14 and is now 4-5 and 3-2 in National-North after winning its 4th game out of its last 5. Canyons entered ranked #7 and falls to 6-3 and 3-2 after losing its 3rd of its last 4. Moore started at QB for COC in place of Dunn (shoulder injury). COC had –12 yds of offense in the 1st half. Flack forced the fumble that Perryman recovered for Moorpark. Foster forced the fumble that Porter recovered for COC. 1-Weeks forced another COC fumble that Werah recovered for COC. 25-Wright blocked the field goal for COC on the last play of the 1st half; Austin returned it to the Moorpark 3 where he was ruled to have been pushed out of bounds by Flack. Burrell blocked the FG for Moorpark; Amadi picked it up at the 50 and returned it to the COC 31, setting up Moorpark's 2nd TD. The COC defense forced a Moorpark punt in the final minute but Foster fumbled it and Ferrer recovered for Moorpark to clinch the win.