Canyons Stays Unbeaten

Marcel Marquez threw for 4 touchdowns and ran for another to lead top-ranked Canyons (8-0, 5-0) to a 42-24 win over visiting 6th-ranked Allan Hancock (6-2, 4-1) Saturday night at Cougar Stadium in Valencia. 

Marquez completed 12 of 21 passes for 231 yards and also rushed for a team-best 70 yards, and he got some help from the Cougar defense, particularly linebacker Joey La Rocque, who had one and a half sacks and returned an interception for a touchdown.

The win was the 22nd consecutive triumph for the defending national champion Cougars, and their 41st consecutive Western State Conference win in a streak that dates back to 2000.  COC's last loss in the WSC was to Moorpark in week 7 of the 2000 season though COC later lost to Allan Hancock in the WSC Bowl after the 2000 regular season. 

Further weakening Allan Hancock's cause was the loss of leading rusher Drew Williams to a dislocated ankle injury early in the second quarter.  Williams entered the game leading the WSC with 968 yards in just 7 games, but gained just 7 yards on 8 carries before leaving the game. 

When the game began, things went well for Hancock, which forced the powerful COC offense to punt after just 3 plays.  And after AHC punted, the Bulldogs got the ball back just 2 plays later when Marquez overthrew a receiver and had his pass intercepted by Lafe Viker, who returned the ball to the 37.  Four plays later, AHC quarterback Jonathan Dally threw a pass to Derek Sedin, who outjumped COC defender JaVonte Holmes in the end zone and made the catch for a 26-yard TD play.  Victor Velasco's extra point made it 7-0 Hancock less than 6 minutes into the game.

But after that, things gradually shifted into COC's favor until the Cougars had complete control of the game.  Their next drive took 11 plays and reached the Bulldog 15, but Jonathan Johnson's 32-yard field goal attempt went wide to the right.  However, on the very next play, Williams lost the ball on a short run and COC's Troy Nolan recovered and carried the ball to the 14.  On the next play, Marquez threw to Shane Silva for a 14-yard TD to cut the margin to 7-6.  AHC remained in front after Johnson's extra point kick went wide, but the Cougars would overcome that 1-point deficit in the second quarter.

That second quarter saw Hancock put together a drive that reached the Cougar 15.  However, on 3rd down, Williams took an inside handoff and went into the middle of the line.  As one Cougar was tackling his legs, another gave him a tremendous jolt on the shoulder pads.  And unfortunately, Williams' ankle took the brunt of the force.  After several minutes of delay while Williams was attended to and taken away in an ambulance, AHC tried to regroup.  On came Velasco to attempt a 32-yard field goal.  But just like Johnson's earlier kick at the very same goal posts, the ball sailed wide right, keeping the score 7-6.

The sequence that saw COC take control of the game began after a short run by Marquez gave COC a first down at its own 48.  On the next play, Marquez threw to Terence Scott, who got behind the defense and took Marquez' pass in stride, carrying the ball into the end zone to give the Cougars a 12-7 lead.  On the conversion, Marquez threw to Kalum Harris in the corner of the end zone.  Harris made a nice shoestring catch to make it 14-7. 

When they got the ball back, the Bulldogs drove into COC territory after a 20-yard pass from Dally to Anthony Melton, but that drive ended moments later when Corey Stollmeyer fumbled and Steve Cenatus recovered for the Cougars.  And Marquez took advantage of that opportunity, leading a 6-play drive that ended with a 20-yard TD run on a quarterback keeper by Marquez.  Johnson's extra point made 21-7, which is where it stood at the half.

When the second half began, AHC took the kickoff and embarked on a 14-play drive that chewed up over 7 minutes off the clock.  Relying on the strong running of Melton and Stollmeyer, the Bulldogs reached the COC 14 before Stollmeyer was thrown for a 3-yard loss.  That meant AHC had to settle for a 34-yard field goal by Velasco.  The successful kick cut the margin to 21-10, but allowed COC to maintain a two-score lead.

Despite Johnson's early struggles with place kicks, his punting was strong all evening and his next punt began the series of events that allowed COC to take control of the game.  With the Cougars facing 4th down at the AHC 44, Johnson lofted a punt that bounced deep into Bulldog territory before Justin Tryon downed the ball at the 1-yard line.  Three plays later, the Bulldogs were forced to punt, and after a short return by Holmes the Cougars had the ball at the Hancock 47.  Two plays later, Marquez threw a mid-range pass to Omahen, who sped down the left sideline and into the end zone for a touchdown that made it 28-10.  The, on Hancock's next play from scrimmage, Tryon intercepted a Dally pass, giving COC the ball at their own 26.  Just 6 plays later, Marquez connected with Silva on a 19-yard pass for his 4th TD toss of the game.  That made it 35-10.

Hancock cut into the margin a bit when defensive linebacker Matt Leyden made a spectacular interception, tipping the ball into the air and then diving to make the catch.  And on the next play, Melton broke through the middle of the line and into the end zone from 26 yards out with just under 11 minutes left.  But then COC ground off another 5 minutes from the clock.  And when AHC got the ball back, a Dally pass was picked off by La Rocque, who raced 70 yards up the left sideline with the ball for the touchdown, making it 42-17 with just under 4 minutes left.  AHC added a late touchdown on a 13-yard run by Andrew Hirsch, but by then the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt.

The win keeps COC in the driver's seat in the WSC-Northern division race.  With games remaining at Santa Barbara and against winless LA Valley, the Cougars stand alone in first place and can claim their sixth straight division crown by winning those remaining games. 

For AHC, the road ahead is much rougher.  With a record of 6-2, they will probably have to win their remaining games to have a legitimate chance for a playoff berth.  And not only will the Bulldogs face Moorpark and Bakersfield (whose only losses were to a pair of unbeaten teams - Canyons (by 1 point) and Fullerton) in the season's final two weeks, they will in all likelihood do so without Williams, their top rusher.  Though Melton did well with 121 yards on 18 carries, losing a player of Williams' caliber will only hurt the Bulldog cause.

College of the Canyons (Cougars)  42
Allan Hancock College  (Bulldogs)  24

SCORING SUMMARY

1st Quarter:

H – Sedin 26 yd pass from Dally (Velasco kick) 9:05 -- 0-7
C – Silva 14 yd pass from Marquez (kick wide right) 3:19 -- 6-7 

2nd Quarter:

C – Scott 52 yd pass from Marquez (Harris pass from Marquez) 6:47 -- 14-7
C – Marquez 20 yd run (Johnson kick) 1:22 -- 21-7 

3rd Quarter:

H – FG Velasco 34 yds 7:50 -- 21-10
C – Omahen 47 yd pass from Marquez (Johnson kick) -- 28-10 

4th Quarter:

C – Silva 19 yd pass from Marquez (Johnson kick) 13:49 -- 35-10
H – Melton 26 yd run (Velasco kick) 10:52 -- 35-17
C – La Rocque 70 yd interception return (Johnson kick) 3:55 -- 42-17
H – Hirsch 13 yd run (Velasco kick) 1:37 -- 42-24

Team Statistics: Canyons Allan Hancock
First Downs 20 (11 run; 9 pass) 21 (14 run; 6 pass; 1 penalty)
Rushes – Yards 36-183 48-212
Passing Yards 231 118
Comp - Att – Int 12-21-2 10-23-2
Return Yards 114 204
Sacks – Yards 3-15 1-4
Fumbles – Lost 1-0 2-2
Penalties – Yards 6-48 2-10
Time of Possession 28:31 31:29

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing: C:  4-Marquez 15-70, 21-Clayton 9-34, 5-Edwards 2-30, 15-Stuart 5-29, 13-Morales 1-19, 32-Harris 3-2, team 1-(-1) H:  29-Melton 18-121, 35-Hirsch 9-66, 42-Stollmeyer 9-34, 20-D.Williams 8-7, 11-Dally 4-(-16)

Passing: C:  4-Marquez 12-21-2-231, 4 TDs H:  11-Dally 10-23-2-118, 1 TD

Receiving: C:  83-Scott 3-85, 11-Garrett 3-49, 19-Omahen 2-55, 80-Silva 2-33, 5-Edwards 1-5, 18-Smith 1-4 H:  7-Sedin 4-65, 1-Chatmon 2-18, 29-Melton 1-20, 42-Stollmeyer 1-7, 80-Catayas 1-5, 35-Hirsch 1-3

Int-Ret Yds: C:  9-Tryon 1-(-9), 42-La Rocque 1-70 H:  6-Viker 1-12, 45-Leyden 1-0

Fum Rec-Rt Yds:  C:  14-Nolan 1-8, 46-Cenatus H:  none             

Sacks: C:  42-La Rocque 1½, 46-Cenatus, 92-Landry ½ H:  10-Deras ½, 52-Pompilus ½   

Punters: C:  22-Johnson 4-45.5 avg   H:  9-Vinnedge 4-44.0 avg

Kick Ret: C:  9-Tryon 1-18 H:  24-Anderson 6-192

Punt Ret: C:  1-Holmes 4-27 H:  none

Missed FG: C:  22-Johnson 32 yds (wide right) H:  13-Velasco 32 yds (wide right)

Notes:  COC ent. 7-0, #1 in South, #3 JC Grid-Wire; AHC ent. 6-1, #5 in South, #12 JC Grid-Wire. Both teams entered 4-0 in the WSC-North.  AHC lost top rusher Drew Williams, who also leads the WSC (975 yards) to a (dislocated) ankle injury with 12:25 left in the 2nd qtr.  Marquez' TD was his 8th of the year, setting a new COC record for QBs.  The win is COC's 22nd straight overall, 33rd straight home win, 36th straight regular season win and 41st straight WSC win.

 


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