Canyons holds on vs. Bakersfield

After losing most of a 21-point lead, and with their unbeaten record on the line, the College of the Canyons defense came up with 3 big plays in a row to hold off Bakersfield, 28-21, on November 8th at College of the Canyons. QB Jason Beck threw for 2 TDs and ran for another, but it was Falaniko Noga, Tomi Halai and German Perez who saved the win for the Cougars in the final minutes.

Beck threw TD passes to Chris Butler and Jason Lance, and Beck and Marcus Crawford each ran for scores to give Canyons a 28-7 halftime lead. The Cougars ran up 243 yds of offense and 17 first downs in the first half, and looked to be in control. Meanwhile, the COC defense had allowed just 7 first downs and only a single touchdown. And the COC faithful expected the second half to be a celebration of COC's unbeaten season in their last regular-season home game.

But Bakersfield had other ideas. Their defense took control of the line of scrimmage, holding the Cougars to just 54 yds and 4 first downs in the second half. They also blocked a punt, which resulted in a touchdown. And the Renegades found enough offense to score one touchdown and get to the COC 18 on a potential game-tying drive before the COC defense dug in.

At the game's start, it looked like Bakersfield would prove a worthy adversary for #1-ranked (in Southern California) Canyons. After taking the opening kickoff, the Renegades drove to the COC 16, largely on the strength of a 45-yd pass from George Valos to Derrick Hargrove. The drive stalled after that, and Bakersfield was forced to settle for a 34-yd field goal. However, Bryan Sullivan's kick was blocked by COC's Halai, keeping the game scoreless.

That seemed to shift things towards COC's favor. After getting the ball on their own 20, the Cougars drove 80 yds down the field to take the lead. An option play that gave the ball to Dan Boyle gained 19 yds, and a 10-yd scramble by QB Jason Beck got the ball to the 32. Moments later, as COC faced a 3rd and 5 at the BC 17, Beck threw the ball into a crowd. But it was COC's Trevor Brackett who came down with it, making a spectacular grab at the 1. On the next play, Beck scored on a 1-yd sneak to give COC a 7-0 lead.

After that score, the COC defense asserted itself, forcing a 3-and-out. The Cougars got the ball back at their own 24, but soon had to punt. However, the COC defense again forced a Bakersfield punt after just 3 plays, giving COC the ball again, this time at their 25.

And this time it took just 6 plays for the Cougars to score. A 19-yd run by Crawford got things started, but the big plays was a 27-yd run by Beck that got the ball to the BC 29. A 10-yd run by Crawford followed by a 13-yd pass from Beck to Terrell Stanley got the ball to the 6, and on the next play Crawford powered into the end zone for the score. That made it 14-0 with just over a minute gone in the second quarter.

Bakersfield again went 3-and-out, punting for the third successive possession without getting a single first down. That gave the ball to COC at their own 44. But a 28-yd run by Terrell Stanley got the ball deep into BC territory, and five plays later Beck found TE Chris Butler in the back of the end zone for a 5-yd TD pass. That made it 21-0, and it looked like the rout was on.

And that's when Bakersfield rose to the challenge with a 16-play, 76-yd TD drive that chewed up nearly 7 minutes and got the Renegades back into the game. The longest play on the drive was a 17-yd pass from Valos to TE Frans Dewet, who plowed over several COC defenders and into the end zone for the score with 1:30 left in the half, cutting the deficit to 21-7.

However, it looked like there was no reason for concern on the COC sideline when the Cougars answered back with a score just over a minute later. A 54-yd return of the ensuing kickoff by Kris Theus got the ball to the BC 38, and moments later a Beck pass was tipped into the air by a Bakersfield defender and into L. Ray Hawkins' hands (for a spectacular catch) at the 4. Following a short loss and a penalty, Beck threw an 8-yd TD pass to TE Jason Lance with 25 seconds left before halftime to restore COC's 21-point lead.

It turned out to be COC's final score of the night, and also turned out to be the margin of victory.

The Cougars took the second half kickoff, but punted without gaining a first down. That would be a preview of things to come. But this time Bakersfield was unable to move the ball as well, and lined up to punt on 4th and 1 at the 38. BC tried a fake punt play, with up-man Rickey Herod running the ball, but the COC defense wasn't fooled and tackled him for a 2-yd loss. But COC was again unable to move the ball. They got the the BC 39, but an 11-yd loss on a sack dropped the Cougars back to the 50 and they punted. Josh Cummings' punt rolled dead at the 5, pinning BC deep in its own end.

However, this time Bakersfield was able to move the ball. A 7-yd run by Herod got them out of the shadow of their goalpost, and an 8-yd pass to Hargrove got the ball to the 24. A pair of passes to Kenny Jackson got BC into Cougar territory. But after BC got to the COC 44, a fumble by Valos resulted in a 10-yd loss, and a personal foul for 15 yds stopped the Renegade scoring drive and forced a punt.

However, COC was again unable to move the ball as the BC defense asserted itself, holding the Cougar offense to 8 yds in 3 plays. And on 4th down, Jackson broke through the middle of the COC line and blocked Josh Cummings' punt attempt. Jonathan Edwards picked up the bouncing ball at the 5 and carried it in for the score, closing the gap to 28-14 and firing up the Bakersfield sideline.

On the ensuing kickoff, the fired-up Bakersfield special teams squadron stopped COC return man Kevin Jones at his 15. And the BC defense held the Cougars without gaining a single yard in 3 plays. On came Cummings to punt again, just 38 seconds after his previous effort was blocked. This time he got the ball away though for a strong 46-yd effort, giving Bakersfield the ball at its own 39.

This time, the COC defense stopped BC, forcing a punt on 4th and 11. And when the Cougars got the ball, it looked like they were finally coming back to life on offense. A 7-yd pass to Hawkins followed by a 4-yd run by Crawford gave the Cougars a first down, just their second of the half. And then Beck threw a short pass to Hawkins that looked like it would produce another first down.

However, the ball popped loose, and Bakersfield's Matt Meadow recovered the ball at the COC 46. Moments later, Valos teamed with Jackson for a 25-yd pass that got the ball to the COC 5. Though the Cougar defense dug in and stopped BC 3 times, on 4th and goal Demetri Hroais powered across the goal line from 1 yard out to make it 28-21 with over 9 minutes still to play.

COC's Theus took the kickoff, but was tackled at his own 18 by the Renegades, who now trailed by just a single score. Beck was tackled for a 1-yd loss on first down and threw an incomplete pass on second down, but then found Brackett for a 14-yd gain to allow COC to keep the ball. On the next play, he again teamed with Brackett, this time for 13 yds to the Cougar 44. Runs by Crawford and Gerrell Cain got the ball into BC territory, but on 3rd and 2 Beck was sacked for an 8-yd loss by Edwards. Cummings' 30-yd punt gave Bakersfield the ball at its own 26 with 4:46 left and just 74 yds to cover to tie the game.

From the 26, a 14-yd run by Anthony Stewart on the first play of the drive got the ball to the BC 40. Then things stalled for BC, and they soon faced a 4th and 7 at its own 43. Realizing there probably wasn't enough time to get the ball back, the Renegades went for the first, and the gamble paid off when Valos teamed up with Jackson on a 32-yd pass to the COC 25. A 7-yd pass to Hargrove got the ball to the COC 18, giving the 'Gades a 2nd and 3 with just under 2 minutes to play, more than enough time to tie the game.

But that's when the COC defense dug in and refused to let Bakersfield go any further. On the next play, Valos threw a screen pass to Stewart, but the COC defense recognized the play and surrounded him. Noga made the tackle at the 24 for a 6-yd loss. Then on 3rd and 9, Halai broke through and sacked Valos for a 7-yd loss at the 31. Bakersfield called timeout, setting up a play for 4th and 16. And once the teams got to the line, COC called timeout as well. Both teams, as well as the fans in attendance, realized that the next play would decide the game.

As soon as the ball was snapped, the COC line surged and LB German Perez broke through, sacking Valos for a 9-yd loss before the BC passer ever had a chance to look for a receiver. That gave the ball back to the Cougars at their 40 with 1:26 left, and since BC had no timeouts left, once Beck kneeled down twice the host Cougars had escaped with the win.

Beck finished 13 of 23 for 142 yds and 2 TDs passing, and also rushed for 40 yds (77 if sacks are subtracted out) and a score. Crawford led all rushers with 66 yds, including a TD, on 14 carries. Hawkins led COC with 5 catches for 61 yds.

Bakersfield's Valos completed 20 of 31 passes for 208 yds and a TD. But Jackson was the thorn in COC's side all night, catching 9 passes for 118 yds, and also blocking the punt. Hargrove had 4 catches for 67 yds and a TD. Herod led BC rushers with 45 yds, though the Renegades were held to just 70 yds rushing on the night (93 if sacks are subtracted out).

Edwards led the BC defense with 2 sacks, and also scored a TD on the blocked punt. Meadow had a sack and a fumble recovery for the game's only turnover.

With the win, Canyons stays unbeaten at 9-0 entering their regular season finale at Moorpark next week. Bakersfield falls to 5-4.


COC entered 8-0, #1 in South, #4 by JCGW. Bakersfield entered 5-3, #13 in South. 1-Jackson blocked the punt that 56-Edwards recovered and returned for the TD. COC had just 54 net yds of offense and 4 first downs in the second half. BC drove to the COC 18 in the final minutes; a 6-yd TFL by 51-Noga (on Stewart), followed by sacks by 47-Halai and 41-Perez allowed COC to hang on. 47-Halai blocked the field goal attempt on BC's first possession. BC tried a fake punt on their first possession of the 2nd half but 6-Herod lost 2 yds on the play.

Individual Statistics:


COC: 33-Crawford 14-66, 7-Beck 16-40, 4-T.Stanley 1-28, 19-Boyle 1-20, 31-Cain 1-5, team 2-(-4)
BC: 6-Herod 12-45, 4-McCrary 5-18, 40-Hroais 6-13, 25-Stewart 4-11, 22-Kielkoph 3-(-2), 19-Valos 8-(-15)


COC: 7-Beck 13-23-0-142, 2 TDs;
BC: 19-Valos 20-31-0-208, 1 TD


COC: 81-Hawkins 5-61, 3-Brackett 4-49, 4-T.Stanley 1-13, 6-Lance 1-9, 14-Lang 1-5, 82-Butler 1-5 BC: 9-K.Jackson 9-118, 85-Hargrove 4-67, 25-Stewart 3-(-5), 81-Dewet 1-17, 7-Arrenavis1-6, 6-Herod 1-5, 4-McCrary 1-0


COC: 20-Cummings 5-38.2 avg + 1 blk
BC: 8-4Nuna 5-39.4 avg

Kick Ret:

COC: 21-Theus 2-71, 1-K.Jones 2-22
BC: 22-Kielkoph 3-56, 7-Arrenaviz 1-40, 4-McCrary 1-12

Punt Ret:

COC: 19-Boyle 4-6
BC: 7-Arrenaviz 3-3

Fum Rec:

COC: none
BC: 56-Edwards 1-5, 41-Meadow


COC: 41-Perez 1-9, 47-Halai 1-7, 46-D.Peko 1-6
BC: 56-Edwards 2-16, 59-Furlow(?) 1-11, 41-Meadow 1-10

Missed FG:

BC: 38-Sullivan 34 yds (blocked by 47-Halai)

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