Until the final four minutes of the second quarter, this one was quite close though. But Canyons scored four touchdowns in the second quarter, including three in the final 3:32, breaking open a close game and taking a commanding lead.
Ventura actually scored the game’s first touchdown when Patrick Hebert blocked a punt and James Jackson returned it for a touchdown for the Pirates. And though Canyons quickly tied the score on a touchdown by Fred Winborn, the Cougar lead was still just 7 points until the three quick touchdowns in the final 3:32 of the second half broke the game open.
Except for a pair of special teams breakdowns – the blocked punt and a kickoff return for a touchdown early in the second half – Canyons held Ventura scoreless until the final quarter, by which time the substitutes were in the game and the outcome was no longer in doubt. That the game was still close well into the second quarter was due almost entirely to the Ventura defense and its ability to keep the Canyons ground game in check.
But finally, Canyons broke through. First Winborn, who had scored the Cougars’ first touchdown but who had otherwise been contained well, scored his second touchdown of the night on a 1-yard run to cap a 14-play drive with 3:32 left in the first half. Then after a Ventura 3-and-out, Canyons moved down the field quickly, and Winborn scored again, this time from 2 yards out. Then Canyons’ Jake Tepper recovered a Ventura fumble at the Pirate 19 with 22 seconds left in the half. On the next play, McClellan threw a touchdown pass to Hayo Carpenter to make it 35-7 at the half.
When the second half began, the teams traded touchdowns in spectacular style as each team returned a kickoff for a score. Canyons’ Taveon Burke went first, returning the second half kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown to make it 42-7. But Ventura’s Nick Karam answered with a 97-yard kickoff return to narrow the margin to 42-13.
But by then, the game’s outcome was basically decided. And after Sean Quinn scored on a 13-yard run and Ricky Drake added a 39-yard field goal later in the quarter, Canyons had a commanding 52-13 lead. Ventura scored a pair of touchdowns on passes from backup quarterback Cody Holland in the fourth quarter against the Cougar reserves, but was never a threat.
Early on, Ventura got the lead on the blocked punt. Canyons tied the score on Winborn’s first touchdown, but was forced to punt the next time the Cougars got the ball. But the Canyons defense kept forcing Ventura to punt, and eventually the Cougar offense broke through. McClellan threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Carpenter early in the second quarter to make it 14-7, and Canyons led the rest of the way.
For Canyons, it was a true team effort, but McClellan was especially impressive but was hardly the only standout. Carpenter was, as usual, his favorite target, catching 10 passes for 120 yards and a pair of scores. Winborn managed 104 yards on 19 carries after a slow start and scored 3 touchdowns. And the Cougar defense didn’t allow any points until the fourth quarter and allowed just 52 net yards of offense for Ventura in the first half.
For Ventura, Holland was the most impressive offensive performer, completing 4 of 6 passes for 101 yards and 2 TDs on two drives, though it came against the Canyons back-ups. Michael Lee led Pirate rushers with 38 yards on 9 carries, and Hebert led Pirate receivers with 3 catches for 37 yards. Starting quarterback Lee Mondol finished 8 of 20 for 76 yards on the night.
With the win, Canyons improves to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the Northern Conference. After a bye next week, the Cougars will host Pasadena on November 8th with a chance to clinch the conference title. Ventura falls to 3-4 overall and 0-3 in the conference.
College of the Canyons Cougars 52
Ventura Pirates 29
Saturday, October 25, 2008 - 7 pm – Cougar Stadium – Santa Clarita
National Division– Northern Conference
V – J.Jackson 17 yd return of blocked punt (Diaz kick) 10:17 (0-7)
C – Winborn 1 yd run (Drake kick) 8:23 (7-7)
C – Carpenter 3 yd pass from McClellan (Drake kick) 10:30 (14-7)
C – Winborn 1 yd run (Drake kick) 3:32 (21-7)
C – Winborn 2 yd run (Drake kick) 1:02 (28-7)
C – Carpenter 19 yd pass from McClellan (Drake kick) 0:14 (35-7)
C – Burke 91 yd kickoff return (Drake kick) 14:44 (42-7)
V – Karam 97 yd kickoff return (run failed) 14:31 (42-13)
C – Quinn 13 yd run (Drake kick) 11:04 (49-13)
C – FG Drake 39 yds 2:08 (52-13)
V – Gunter 27 yd pass from Holland (McPherson run) 9:01 (52-21)
V – Bruneau 57 yd pass from Holland (Whitcomb pass from Holland) 1:40 (52-29)
First Downs: Canyons 27 (13 rush, 13 pass, 1 penalty), Ventura 12 (4 rush, 8 pass)
Rushes-Yds: Canyons 44-211, Ventura 30-79
Passing Yds: Canyons 283, Ventura 177
Comp-Att-Int: Canyons 24-34-0, Ventura 12-26-0
Return Yds: Canyons 133, Ventura 286
Sacks-Yds: Canyons 3-11, Ventura 3-13
Fumbles-Lost: Canyons 2-1, Ventura 1-1
Penalties-Yds: Canyons 6-50, Ventura 8-52
Time of Possession: Canyons 31:22, Ventura 28:38
Rushing: Canyons 10-Winborn 19-104, 39-Iverson 5-36, 13-Frias 8-34, 45-Quinn 2-26, 36-T.Smith 2-8, 20-Dawkins 1-5, 7-McClellan 7-(-2); Ventura 20-Lee 9-38, 7-S.Washington 9-22, 3-Karam 1-17, 25-McPherson 2-12, 21-Parham 1-8, 30-Stewart 2-5, 39-Morris 2-2, 4-C.Holland 1-(-3), 14-R.Washington 1-(-6), 5-Mondol 2-(-16)
Passing: Canyons 7-McClellan 22-25-0-256, 2 TDs; 13-Frias 2-9-0-27; Ventura 4-C.Holland 4-6-0-101, 2 TDs; 5-Mondol 8-20-0-76
Receiving: Canyons 9-Carpenter 10-120, 6-Leacock 4-59, 1-Jones 3-40, 10-Winborn 3-25, 85-Wright 2-24, 86-Pittman 1-8, 11-Stephens 1-7; Ventura 8-Hebert 3-37, 20-Lee 2-20, 2-Pope 2-3, 88-Bruneau 1-57, 84-Gunter 1-27, 3-Karam 1-16, 19-B.Washington 1-12, 25-McPherson 1-5
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: Canyons 80-Tepper 1-9; Ventura 11-D.Holland 1-5
Sacks-Yds: Canyons 15-Oliver 1-5, 56-Jermar Cushnie 1-3, 80-Tepper 1-3; Ventura 97-Henggeler 1-10, 99-Grant 1-2, 40-Harris 1-1
Punters: Canyons 16-Drake 1-50, 38-Watson 1 blk; Ventura 12-Diaz 6-40.0 avg
Kick Returns: Canyons 82-Burke 1-91, 34-Francisco 3-35; Ventura 3-Karam 4-151, 8-Hebert 2-60, 21-Parham 1-24
Punt Returns: Canyons 9-Carpenter 1-(-2); Ventura 3-Karam 1-15, 8-Hebert 1-14, 6.J.Jackson 0-17
Missed FG: Canyons 16-Drake 45 yds (wl); Ventura 35-Diaz 21 yds (wr)
Notes: Canyons entered 7-0, 3-0 in Northern Conference, ranked #2 nationally (JC Grid-Wire) and in South (COA). Ventura entered 3-3 overall, 0-2 in conference,ranked #20 in South. Ventura started out well enough with Hebert’s punt block that J.Jackson returned for the TD. But the Pirates had just 52 yds of offense in the 1st half. COC’s 5th TD came after Tepper’s fumble recovery. Mondol started at QB for Ventura; C.Holland came in for the last 2 drives, both of which went for TDs. Canyons leads the series since 1998, 8-2, but has won the last 8 beginning in 2000.