Anthony Johnson scored on a long run in the first quarter, and Antwan Smith scored on an interception return in the fourth quarter, and that proved to be enough to get the Cougars the win.
There was plenty on the line - whichever team lost would suffer its second loss in conference and fall two games behind the two frontrunners, Bakersfield and Ventura, and only the top two finishers in the conference will make the playoffs. And the defenses for both teams rose to the occasion, dominating play most of the night. So it was only fitting that the final scoring play that put Canyons in control came from the defense.
Canyons had just driven 63 yards on a 13-play drive behind newly-inserted quarterback Eric Brown, only to come away empty when James Rodriguez' 38-yard field goal attempt was wide right. That gave Glendale the ball at the Vaquero 21, still trailing by just a point at 7-6 with most of the fourth quarter yet to come. But on the very next play, Antwan Smith stepped in front of a receiver along the sideline, intercepted a Steve Miller pass and carried the ball 20 yards untouched into the end zone for a touchdown that made it 14-6.
Glendale got the ball two more times after that, but never seriously threatened to score, or even pick up a first down for that matter, and punted both times. Garret Hernandez boomed a remarkable 73-yard punt on his final kick of the night, giving Canyons the ball at its own 20 with 5:50 left. But the Cougars managed to pick up four first downs, and ran out the rest of the clock.
Canyons took the lead midway through the first quarter when Johnson took a hand off towards the right and burst through the defense, sprinting 41 yards down the right sideline to give the Cougars a 7-0 lead with 7:24 left in the quarter. Glendale got its touchdown on its first drive of the second half, marching 80 yards on 12 plays, much of it coming from freshman back Joe Wiggan, and scored when Miller threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Brian Williams. But Jonathon Saucedo's extra point try was wide left, keeping Canyons in front, 7-6.
After that, neither offense would score again. In fact, the defenses dominated all night, except for the one scoring run by COC's Johnson and the one scoring drive by Glendale. Overall, each team ran 62 plays of offense, and the teams together totaled less than 500 yards of offense. Canyons outgained Glendale, 237-217, on the night.
For Canyons, Johnson rushed for a game-high 71 yards on 10 carries and the TD. He was really the only Cougar with impressive offensive stats, though Brown rushed for 59 yards and passed for 34 yards though he played just more than one quarter. D.J. Stephens had 3 catches for 44 yards.
For Glendale, Wiggan had a strong 66 yards on 11 carries to lead Vaquero rushers. Miller completed just 6 of 21 passes for 105 yards and a TD.
With the win, Canyons improves to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the National-North, with a key game next week against Ventura, which had a bye this week and is unbeaten in conference play. JCFootball.com will be on hand for that showdown next Saturday at the new stadium in Ventura.
College of the Canyons Cougars 14
Glendale Vaqueros 6
Saturday, October 17, 2009 - 7 pm - Cougar Stadium - Santa Clarita
National Division - Northern Conference
C - A.Johnson 41 yd run (Rodriguez kick) 7:24 (7-0)
G - B.Williams 6 yd pass from Miller (kick wide left) 8:33 (7-6)
C - A.Smith 20 yd interception return (Rodriguez kick) 13:07 (14-6)
First Downs: Canyons 16 (8 rush, 6 pass, 2 penalty), Glendale 12 (6 rush, 5 pass, 1 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Canyons 42-137, Glendale 41-112
Passing Yds: Canyons 100, Glendale 105
Comp-Att-Int: Canyons 8-20-0, Glendale 6-21-2
Return Yds: Canyons 131, Glendale 84
Sacks-Yds: Canyons 2-25, Glendale 3-17
Fumbles-Lost: Canyons 3-1, Glendale 0-0
Penalties-Yds: Canyons 4-35, Glendale 9-55
Time of Possession: Canyons 28:49, Glendale 31:11
Rushing: Canyons 28-A.Johnson 10-71, 7-Brown 10-59, 3-Iverson 6-39, 26-Bedgood 4-11, 81-Rivera 1-4, 11-Stephens 1-(-1), 21-Hale 3-(-7), 8-Morales 5-(-35), team 2-(-4); Glendale 8-Wiggan 11-66, 20-Dawkins 7-32, 33-Youngblood 13-29, 25-Chaidez 6-7, 18-Reyes 1-2, 17-Miller 3-(-23)
Passing: Canyons 8-Morales 6-15-0-66; 7-Brown 2-5-0-34; Glendale 17-Miller 6-21-2-105, 1 TD
Receiving: Canyons 11-Stephens 3-44, 5-London 2-21, 18-Urbina 1-16, 81-Rivera 1-19; Glendale 6-Clayton 2-49, 2-B.Williams 2-24, 18-Reyes 1-20, 86-Ryan 1-12
Interceptions-Ret Yds: Canyons 6-Gibbs 1-37, 9-A.Smith 1-20; Glendale none
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: Canyons none; Glendale 31-Crutchfield 1-0
Sacks-Yds: Canyons 25-Bass 1-17, 72-Tepper 1-7; Glendale 40-Halberstadt 1-8, 45-Valdez 1-7, 99-Mestizo 1-2
Punters: Canyons 96-Behrad 8-35.1 avg; Glendale 27-Hernandez 6-40.2 avg
Kick Returns: Canyons 22-O'Donnell 2-63; Glendale 25-Chaidez 3-84
Punt Returns: Canyons 24-Bailey 1-11, team 1-0; Glendale none
Missed FG: Canyons 86-Rodriguez 38 yds (wide right)
Notes: Canyons entered ranked #13 in South and #24 in nation (JC Grid-Wire) and improves to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the National-North Glendale entered #16 in South and falls to 3-3 overall and 0-2 in National-North. Morales started at QB for COC; Brown entered in the 3rd quarter. Brown's first drive ended with the missed field goal, but on the next play A.Smith scored on the interception return. Canyons now leads the series, 5-1, since 1998 (when the COC program was reinstated).