Arias, Canyons Maul Marauders

Justin Arias passed for 358 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score to lead College of the Canyons to a 35-7 win over host Antelope Valley September 4 in the season opener. On a night AVC honored longtime coach Brent Carder, COC spoiled the party, jumping out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead and racking up nearly six hundred yards of offense.

There was a big crowd on hand as AVC renamed its recently-renovated stadium in Carder's honor.  But COC led virtually the entire game, and controlled the ball for nearly 40 of the game's 60 minutes.  Arias repeatedly teamed up with wide receiver Chris Rivas, a record-setting freshman from local Canyon HS who had 9 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown on which he snatched the ball away from an AVC defender as he was falling out of bounds in the end zone.

Canyons' first touchdown when Antwan Smith intercepted a Josh Firm pass and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown just 4:32 into the game.  Canyons added to its lead when Arias capped a 14-play, 77-yard drive with a fourth-down 5-yard touchdown pass to Rickeem Jackson with 2:13 left in the first quarter.  Then on the ensuing kickoff, COC successfully executed an onsides kick, with Travis Briggs recovering the loose ball at the Cougar 40.  On the next play, Arias threw a 55-yard pass to Cameron Bailey to get the ball to the AVC 5.  Then Ryan Zirbel scored on a 5-yard run to make it 21-0 with 1:47 left in the first quarter.

AVC didn't have a first down on offense at that point, and never really recovered from that COC outburst.  The Marauders had a chance to get on the board midway through the first quarter, getting the ball at the COC 25 after a bad punt snap, but the offense failed to move the ball and Kent Steffes' 41-yard field goal try missed. 

AVC finally got its initial first down on what became its only scoring drive of the night midway through the second quarter.  Firm capped that drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Harmon, who somehow hung onto the ball despite a big hit as he made the catch, cutting the Cougar lead to 21-7 with 7:52 left in the second quarter.  That, however, would be AVC's on score of the night.

COC got a break when AVC return man Joseph Maldonado muffed a punt, and Justin Stevens recovered for the Cougars at the Marauder 23 with 4:03 left in the second quarter.  Arias then capped a short three-play drive with an 8-yard scoring run to make it 28-7.  AVC got a chance to score just before halftime, driving to the COC 30, but that chance ended abruptly when Khalil Bass intercepted a Firm pass with 1:01 left, keeping the score 28-7 at the break.

At halftime, AVC honored longtime Marauder head coach Carder, who amassed 189 victories over his 37 seasons at the helm and led AVC to the 1974 state championship.  The stadium, renovated last season, was renamed in his honor, and his comments to the crowd gave the AVC faithful something to cheer about on a night when there was little to cheer about on the field.

Scoring chances were few and far between in the second half for both teams, and neither team managed a point in the third quarter.  But Canyons got the touchdown it needed to put the game away early in the fourth quarter when Arias threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Rivas, who outfought an AVC defender in the back of the end zone for the ball.  That made it 35-7 with exactly eleven minutes to play, ending any remaining doubt as to the game's outcome.

For Canyons, Arias completed 31 of 50 passes for 358 yards and 2 touchdowns in his first collegiate start.  He also rushed for 64 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries in a superb all-around performance.  Rivas, who once had 301 receiving yards in a HS game, also made a splashy college debut with his 9 catches for 139 yards.  Zirbel, from nearby Saugus HS, had 60 yards rushing on 15 carries and a touchdown.  Smith and Bass led the defense, both picking up big interceptions.

For AVC, Firm completed 9 of 26 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown, but also had 3 interceptions.  The AVC ground game never got rolling, picking up just 28 yards on the night, led by 17 by Brandon Buteyn on 4 carries. 

Next week, COC travels to Walnut to take on defending state champion Mt. San Antonio, the #1-ranked team in the nation, at 1 pm.  Antelope Valley hosts Santa Barbara next Saturday at 6 pm.

College of the Canyons Cougars 35
Antelope Valley Marauders 7

Saturday, September 4, 2010 - 6 pm - Brent Carder Marauder Stadium - Lancaster 

1st Quarter:    
C - A.Smith 28 yd interception return (Goldberg kick) 11:28 (7-0)
C - Jackson 5 yd pass from Arias (Goldberg kick) 2:13 (14-0)
C - Zirbel 5 yd run (Goldberg kick) 1:47 (21-0)

2nd Quarter:   
AV - Harmon 11 yd pass from Firm (Steffes kick) 7:52 (21-7)
C - Arias 8 yd run (Goldberg kick) 3:05 (28-7)

3rd Quarter:   
No Scoring

4th Quarter:    
C - Rivas 20 yd pass from Arias (Goldberg kick) 11:00 (35-7)

Team Statistics:
First Downs:  Antelope Valley 8 (2 rush, 5 pass, 1 penalty), Canyons 33 (9 rush, 21 pass, 3 penalty)
Rushes-Yds:  Antelope Valley 21-28, Canyons 42-149
Passing Yds:  Antelope Valley 111, Canyons 419
Comp-Att-Int:  Antelope Valley 11-30-3, Canyons 37-60-0
Return Yds:  Antelope Valley 91, Canyons 120
Sacks-Yds:  Antelope Valley 3-16, Canyons 2-19
Fumbles-Lost:  Antelope Valley 5-3, Canyons 6-2
Penalties-Yds:  Antelope Valley 9-74, Canyons 16-160
Time of Possession:  Antelope Valley 20:14, Canyons 39:46

Individual Statistics:
Rushing:  AVC 41-Buteyn 4-17, 28-Steward 6-12, 24-Franklin 3-8, 1-Robinson 1-7, 16-Mims 1-6, 27-Haley 1-3, 23-Scott 2-2, 2-Firm 3-(-27); COC 18-Arias 13-64, 5-Zirbel 15-60, 23-Osuchukwu 4-32, 3-Garba 2-15, 15-Anderson 0-7, 32-Wilson 3-6, 8-Morales 4-1, team 1-(-36)
Passing:   AVC 2-Firm 9-26-3-97, 1 TD; 1-Robinson 2-4-0-14; COC 18-Arias 31-50-0-358, 2 TDs; 8-Morales 6-9-0-61; team 0-1-0-0
Receiving:   AVC 16-Mims 3-43, 17-Harmon 3-36, 19-Castillo 2-14, 80-Evans 1-20, 24-Franklin 1-0, 11-Pigee 1-(-2); COC 25-Rivas 9-139, 11-Madero 6-38, 19-Prieto 5-27, 85-Bailey 4-76, 5-Zirbel 4-59, 84-K.Williams 3-53, 32-Wilson 3-6, 81-Jackson 2-16, 20-Fagerstrom 1-5
Interceptions-Ret Yds:  AVC none; COC 1-A.Smith 1-28, 2-Bass 1-24, 10-Reed 1-12
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds:  AVC 10-Maldonado 1-0, 31-Rodgers 1-0, 21-Edwards 0-14;
COC 7-Zeno 1-0, 9-Stevens 1-0, 98-Merchant 1-0
Sacks-Yds:  AVC 95-Gray 1-8, 91-Woods 1-5, 90-Predom 1-3; COC 1-A.Smith 1-10, 91-Cassell 1-9
Punters:   AVC 40-Steffes 9-35.6 avg; COC 46-Nastos 5-31.6 avg
Kick Returns:  AVC 16-Mims 2-46, 13-Culver 1-31; COC 16-Bacon 2-55
Punt Returns:  AVC 10-Maldonado 1-0; COC 1-A.Smith 1-1, 16-Bacon 1-1, 85-Bailey 2-(-1)
Missed FG:  AVC 40-Steffes 41 yds (wr); COC 87-Goldberg 44 yds (blk), 38 yds (wl), 27 yds (wr)

Notes:  Season opener for both teams.  COC now leads the all-time series, 9-4, and has won the last six meetings.  COC tried an onsides kick after its 2nd TD and 24-Briggs recovered, setting up Zirbel's TD.  Arias' TD came after Stevens recovered Maldonado's muff of a punt.  9-Parish blocked the FGA for AVC.  At halftime, Marauder Stadium was re-dedicated and named for longtime coach Brent Carder, who won 189 games in his 37 seasons at AVC including the 1974 state championship.

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