Canyons Remains Undefeated with Win

Marcel Marquez threw a pair of touchdown passes to Chad Garrett and ran for two more scores as #1-ranked College of the Canyons topped a stubborn Santa Barbara squad Saturday afternoon at La Playa Stadium. Marquez threw scoring strikes of 18 and 49 yards to Garrett, who finished the day with 4 catches for 132 yards, to lead the Cougars to their 23rd consecutive victory.

COC jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the opening minutes and appeared to be on their way to an easy victory.  The lead reached 16-0 midway through the second quarter, and the Cougars were never really threatened, but after the initial burst the Santa Barbara defense proved tough enough to keep the Cougars from running up the score.  However, the Canyons defense was even stronger, holding the Vaqueros to just 6 points on offense, 8 first downs and only 141 yards of total offense.

The Cougars took the opening kickoff and quickly drove 65 yards for their first touchdown, which came on Marquez' 18-yard TD pass to Garrett just 2 minutes into the game.  And when Santa Barbara got the ball, they held it for only 5 plays before Amyene Williams intercepted a Justin Lucas pass and returned it to the Santa Barbara 34.  Canyons took advantage of that field position a few minutes later when Marquez scored on a 1-yard run to extend the COC lead to 13-0 (a bad snap doomed the second extra point attempt).

But then the Vaqueros dug in, holding the Cougars to just 3 more points the rest of the half.  Jonathan Johnson nailed a 26-yard field goal early in the second quarter to extend the lead to 16-0, but that was the extent of the COC scoring for the first half.  And Johnson's second field goal attempt later in the quarter was blocked by SBCC's Griff Overton.

And in the final three minutes of the half, SBCC drew a little closer when Lucas threw an 8-yard TD pass to Lucien Blount to cap a 4-play, 52-yard drive.  Before that drive, the furthest the Vaqueros had ventured toward the end zone was their own 47, but after COC gambled and failed to gain a first down on 4th and 1 SBCC got the ball at their own 48.  A 25-yard pass from Lucas to Ernie Pierce and a 15-yard pass interference penalty helped the Vaqueros move down the field.  The score remained 16-6 at the half after COC's David Gross blocked the extra point attempt.

When the second half began, SBCC took the opening kickoff, but the Vaqueros held the ball just 3 plays before punting.  And when COC got the ball, it took just two plays for the Cougars to cover the 68 yards needed for another touchdown.  First came a 19-yard run by Brandon Clayton, which was followed by a 49-yard TD pass from Marquez to Garrett.  The extra point kick attempt was blocked, but the touchdown gave COC what appeared to be a comfortable 22-6 lead.

The rest of the game was dominated by the defenses.  Santa Barbara's Nick Rogers missed a 35-yard field goal attempt midway through the third quarter, and COC was stopped on downs at the SBCC 21 on the next possession.  Finally, COC got another score when a Marquez completed a 27-yard pass to Garrett and a 19-yard toss to Shane Morales, and capped the drive on another 1-yard run to make it 28-6 in the first minute of the fourth quarter.

But that was the extent of the offense for either team.  After SBCC turned the ball back to COC on downs at the Cougar 49, Canyons went on a long, time-consuming drive that took nearly 9 minutes off the clock.  Finally the drive stalled at the Vaquero 15, so on came Johnson to kick an easy, game-clinching field goal.  But SBCC's Lionel Vincent got through the right side of the line and blocked the kick.  Moreover, Corey Sanchez picked up the bouncing ball and took it the distance for a Santa Barbara touchdown.  Briefly, though less than two minutes remained in the game, it seemed SBCC might have a chance to get back into it.

However, those hopes were quickly dashed.  On the 2-point conversion, Lucas' pass somehow eluded Pierce in the end zone, keeping it a 16-point game.  And on the ensuing kickoff, when SBCC went for the onsides kick, COC's Billy Omahen jumped on the ball to secure possession and the win for COC.

The win is the 23rd consecutive overall, their 37th consecutive regular season victory and their 42nd consecutive WSC triumph for the Cougars, who are ranked #1 in California by the COA and #1 in the nation by JC Grid-Wire.  COC is now 9-0 entering the regular season finale next week against LA Valley.  Santa Barbara drops to 4-5 but can still salvage a .500 season with a win next Saturday at Ventura.

College of the Canyons (Cougars)  28
Santa Barbara City College  (Vaqueros)  12 

1st Quarter:
C – Garrett 18 yd pass from Marquez (Johnson kick) 13:00 -- 7-0
C – Marquez 1 yd run (kick failed – bad snap) 6:37 -- 13-0 

2nd Quarter:

C – FG Johnson 26 yds 11:35 -- 16-0
SB – Blount 8 yd pass from Lucas (kick blocked) 1:19 -- 16-6 

3rd Quarter:

C – Garrett 49 yd pass from Marquez (kick blocked) 13:22 -- 22-6

4th Quarter:

C – Marquez 1 yd run (pass failed) 14:12 -- 28-6
SB – Sanchez 52 yd return of blocked field goal (pass failed) 1:53 -- 28-12

Team Statistics: Santa Barbara Canyons
First Downs 8 (3 run; 4 pass; 1 penalty) 18 (5 run; 12 pass; 1 penalty)
Rushes – Yards 25-31 45-144
Passing Yards 110 278
Comp - Att – Int 9-28-2 13-27-1
Return Yards 162 32
Sacks – Yards 5-33 1-8
Penalties – Yards 7-45 4-30
Time of Possession 25:58 34:02

Individual Statistics:

Rushing:  SB:  22-Frazier 15-27, 32-Stutsman 4-8, 41-Prokop 2-3, 31-Farias 1-2, 18-Lucas 2-(-7), team 1-(-2) C:  15-Stuart 8-54, 21-Clayton 12-49, 4-Marquez 16-27, 5-Edwards 2-13, 7-Dove 3-2, 32-Harris 1-0, 20-Patterson 3-(-1)

Passing: SB:  18-Lucas 9-28-2-110, 1 TD C:  4-Marquez 13-27-1-278, 2 TDs

Receiving: SB:  87-Cox 2-36, 1-Pierce 2-33, 32-Stutsman 2-24, 85-Blount 2-8, 22-Frazier 1-9 C:  11-Garrett 4-132, 13-Morales 2-34, 21-Clayton 2-32, 19-Omahen 2-25, 80-Silva 1-35, 83-Scott 1-13, 5-Edwards 1-7

Punters: SB:  20-Taylor 4-30.8 avg   + 1 blk C:  22-Johnson 2-38.5 avg

Int-Ret Yds: SB:  6-Sanchez 1-53 C:  1-Holmes 1-0, 26-Williams 1-8

Sacks-Yds: SB:  45-Overton 1-11, 11-Moss 1-8, 98-Savell 1-7, 95-Robles 1-6, 6-Sanchez 1-1 C:  44-Cordray 1-8

Kick Ret: SB:  2-Welch 3-53, 1-Pierce 2-36, 84-Kimbrough 1-20 C:  15-Stuart 1-23

Punt Ret: SB:  none C:  27-Zuniga 1-5, 1-Holmes 1-1

Missed FG: SB:  38-Rogers 35 yds (wide right) C:  22-Johnson 42 yds (blocked), 32 yds (blocked)

Kick Blocks: SB:  14-Vincent (FG), 45-Overton (FG), team (XPA) C:  77-Gross (XPA), 27-Zuniga (Punt)

Notes:  Canyons entered 9-0, #1 in South, #1 JC Grid-Wire.  Santa Barbara entered 4-4, 2-3 in WSC-N. COC's 1st XPA was doomed by a bad snap; Johnson ended up with the ball and threw it but the pass was incomplete.  COC's last (2-point) XPA was intercepted by Welch. 

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