Canyons Dominant in Win Over Pasadena

From the first play of the game, the College of the Canyons dominated in virtually every phase of the game to post an easy 38-14 win over Pasadena in the season opener for both teams September 4th in Valencia.  Kris Theus returned the opening kickoff 80 yards to the Pasadena 20-yard line, and two plays later Gerrell Cain scored the first of his 3 touchdowns to give COC a lead they would hold the rest of the way. 

Another RB, Will Caldwell, rushed for 150 yards on just 10 carries, and JC Grid-Wire preseason All-American WR Tyrell Smith caught 9 passes for 119 yards.  A pair of Canyons quarterbacks combined for 248 yards, and the COC defense held Pasadena to just 5 first downs until after the Cougars had built a 31-7 lead early in the second half.  It was an impressive all-around showing by the Cougars, and if anything the game was more one-sided than the final score makes it look. 

COC entered the game ranked second in Southern California in the COA's preseason rankings, and did nothing to dispel that high ranking.  After Theus' big kickoff return got things started, starting QB Marcel Marquez teamed with Smith on a 7-yd pass to get the ball to the 13.  On the next play, Cain scored to give COC the lead just 25 seconds into the game.

Pasadena committed a penalty on the ensuing kickoff return, so they were pinned at their own 8-yard line when their offense came onto the field.  After two plays netted zero yards, RB Ron Williams took an inside handoff on third down and gained 26 yds to gain a first down.  However, that would not only be Pasadena's last first down of the quarter, it would be their longest play from scrimmage until late in the game when the outcome was no longer in doubt.  And three plays later, Pasadena faced a 4th and 9 and punted the ball away.

Though COC's next drive faltered at the Lancer 38, the COC defense again forced a Pasadena punt and the next time the Cougars got the ball they pushed their lead to 14-0.  A 40-yd pass from Marquez to TE Jason Lance got the ball inside the 10-yd line, and two plays later Cain rambled in from the 7 to give the Cougars a two-touchdown advantage.

After another Pasadena punt, COC alternated quarterbacks, bringing in Cory Miles to play the second quarter.  Miles began with a 25-yd completion to Smith, but after that the offense sputtered and the Cougars were forced to punt.  Return man Marlon Wood took the ball at his own 9 and sparked his team with an impressive 28-yd return towards the left sideline.  That gave the ball to the Lancer offense at the 37, and Williams broke off a 20-yd run on the next play to get the ball into Cougar territory.  A 12-yd run by speedy Bryan Baylor, followed by a 15-yd pass interference penalty got the Lancers down to the 16, and two plays later QB Shane Jackson found Kris Riggins for a 12-yd scoring pass to get Pasadena on the board.

But from then on the game was dominated by COC.  On the next drive, Pasadena helped the Cougars by committing two personal fouls and a holding penalty to give COC three first downs, and Cain took advantage of the opportunity by scoring from 5 yards out to restore COC's 2-touchdown lead midway through the second quarter.  Then, following another Pasadena punt, COC chewed up the rest of the clock on an 11-play drive that got to the Pasadena 2-yard line.  With 5 seconds left before halftime, COC elected to settle for a 19-yd field goal by Jason Thompkins that gave the Cougars a three-score lead at 24-7.

Pasadena got the ball to begin the second half, but failed to pick up a first down and had to punt once again.  Ryan Weigand's punt went only 30 yards – his shortest effort of the night – coming to rest at the Cougar 48.  And two plays later, Will Caldwell burst around the left side and down the sideline for a 53-yd scoring run that made it 31-7.

With the outcome of the game basically decided, both teams used the rest of the game as a chance to clear their benches.  COC scored the game's next touchdown early in the fourth quarter when Marquez teamed with Devin Stearns on a 7-yd scoring pass to make it 38-7.  And Pasadena scored the game's final points when Baylor scored on a 2-yd run with under six minutes to play. 

For Canyons, the two quarterbacks alternated by quarter with Marquez starting both halves and Miles taking over on the first possessions of the second and fourth quarters.  Marquez went 14 of 20 for 143 yds and a TD while Miles was 6 of 12 for 105 yds.  Neither threw an interception.  Cain carried the ball just 5 times, gaining 29 yds, but scored 3 TDs.  Caldwell carried just 10 times but totaled 150 yds.  Smith easily led all receivers with 9 catches for 119 yds, but Lance had a strong game as well with 4 catches for 78 yds.  DE Dennis Ellis registered a pair of sacks for the Cougars.  Punter Andrew Kearney averaged 40.6 yds per kick, and of course Theus got things started for the special teams unit with his 80-yd kickoff return to begin the game.

For Pasadena, Williams carried the ball 16 times for 66 yds to lead Lancer rushers.  Riggins topped Pasadena receivers with 5 catches for 87 yds.  Three Lancer quarterbacks combined for 164 yds passing, led by Matt McIntyre (8 of 18 for 92 yds).  Punter Ryan Weigand had an impressive game, averaging 42.8 yds on 7 punts.  Bryan Baylor made an impact rushing (28 yds) and returning kicks (2 returns for 44 yds).  And Marlon Wood returned 5 punts for 58 yds including the 28-yarder that got Pasadena started on its first scoring drive.

With the win, COC has now won its last 19 regular season games and is now 32-3 overall since dropping their opener in the 2001 season.  The Cougars travel to San Marcos next week to take on Palomar in what is fast becoming a great rivalry.  COC defeated Palomar twice last season:  once in overtime, and again in a playoff game that ended Palomar's season.  However, both of those games were played in Valencia.

And once-mighty Pasadena, which spent most of 2001 and 2002 as one of the top-ranked teams in Southern California, has now lost 13 consecutive games.  The losing streak dates back to the last regular-season game of 2002, covers all of 2003 (when they went 0-10) and now continues into the new season.  And with a schedule that includes Bakersfield next week and the always-challenging Mission Conference schedule lying ahead, it could be another rough year for the Lancers.

1st Quarter:
C – Cain 13 yd run (Thompkins kick) 14:35 -- 7-0
C – Cain 2 yd run (Thompkins kick) 0:42 -- 14-0                           

2nd Quarter:
P – Riggins 12 yd pass from Jackson (Weigand kick) 10:27 -- 14-7
C – Cain 5 yd run (Thompkins kick) 8:45 -- 21-7
C – FG Thompkins 19 yds 0:05 -- 24-7

3rd Quarter:
C – Caldwell 53 yd run (Thompkins kick) 12:09 -- 31-7

4th Quarter:
C – Stearns 7 yd pass from Marquez (Thompkins kick) 14:27 -- 38-7
P – Baylor 2 yd run (Weigand) 5:37 -- 38-14

Team Statistics: Canyons Pasadena
First Downs 24 (8 pass; 10 run; 6 pen) 12 (8 pass; 3 run; 1 pen)
Rushes – Yards 41-181 25-87
Passing Yards 248 164
Comp - Att – Int 20-32-0 13-31-0
Return Yards 98 172
Sacks – Yards 2-9 5-36
Fumbles – Lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties – Yards 7-65 13-110
Time of Possession 35:23 24:37

Individual Statistics:

Rushing: C:  29-W.Caldwell 10-150, 29-Cain 5-29, 24-Clayton 9-20, 15-Edwards 4-6, 4-Marquez 5-(-6), 36-Harris 2-(-6), 8-Miles 6-(-12) P:  22-Williams 16-66, 20-Baylor 5-28, 8-McIntyre 1-3, 5-Jackson 3-(-10)

Passing: C:  4-Marquez 14-20-0-143, 1 TD; 8-Miles 6-12-0-105 P:  8-McIntyre 8-18-0-92; 10-Celis 2-6-0-42; 5-Jackson 3-7-0-30, 1 TD

Receiving: C:  7-Smith 9-119, 6-Lance 4-78, 23-Estes 2-15, 13-Stearns 2-14, 11-Garrett 1-11, 16-McCann 1-6, 29-Caldwell 1-5 P:  21-Riggins 5-87, 6-Mercier 3-35, 89-F.McNeill 2-11, 7-Wood 1-13, 22-Williams 1-11, 20-Baylor 1-7

Int-Ret Yds: None

Fum Rec: None    

Sacks: C:  44-Ellis 2 P:  16-Tolliver, 44-R.McNeill, 98-Brunston, 99-Muwwakkil, 35-Hill ½, 45-K.Brown ½ 

Punters: C:  17-Kearney 5-40.6 avg   P:  1-Weingard 7-42.8 avg

Kick Ret: C:  21-Theus 2-94 P:  20-Baylor 2-44, 6-Mercier 2-39, 33-Tresvant 1-33

Punt Ret: C:  2-Marshall 1-4 P:  7-Wood 5-56

Notes:  Season Opener for both teams.  COC ent. #2 in preseason poll; Pasadena was unranked. Theus began the game with an 80-yd kickoff return for COC, setting up the first TD. Marquez played 1st & 3rd quarters at QB for COC; Miles played 2nd and 4th. Jackson started at QB for PCC. McIntyre ent. to start 3rd qtr.  Celis played 1 series in 3rd. This is COC's 19th straight reg. season win; it's also PCC's 13th straight loss (overall).



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