Everyone had heard the phrase defense wins championships. Well for the College of the Canyons football team, it has helped them get a 2-0 record in this short 2022 season. The defense has only allowed a total of 195 yards of total offense for opposing teams so far this season.
“We play it week by week, so we don’t carry one game onto the next,” head coach Ted Iacenda said. “We show up Monday ready to learn and get better. Fix our mistakes and again practice consistency”.
COC’s defense dominated in a 43-7 win over Southwestern Community College on Saturday night. Turnovers were a big part of the win. COC forced 4 turnovers, all of which were interceptions.
The interception that put the game away for the Cougars came from sophomore Quentin Moten, who picked off Southwestern QB Daniel Armon midway through the third and was able to return it for 24 yards.
“Basically they were throwing to the single side receiver,” Moten said. “It was third down and long so I knew it was coming. So I just had to make a play, and that’s what I did”.
But it felt like this right off the bat. On Southwestern’s second drive of the game. Sophomore Brian Snoek picked off Armon for his first interception of the night. This set the tone for how the night would go for both teams.
“I watched the same play in the morning while I was scouting them,” Snoek said. “So if they ran that play I knew it would be a pick. During the play I just turned around and saw the ball coming. Tried to take it to the crib but that really didn’t work out”.
Following the interception from Snoek, COC was quick to take advantage of it. Chayden Perry had a 1-yard rushing touchdown just under 2 minutes after the turnover on the previous possession.
On COC’s next drive they found success once again in the end zone. This time wideout Josh Smith caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Chayden Peery. This put up the Cougars 13-0 very early on in the game.
“They had said that they were gonna play man that it was gonna be open,” Smith said. “I saw an under and once I caught it I saw Streetsville and I went on to score”.
It would not take long but early in the second quarter COC produced another defensive turnover. This time Cole Bullock got in on the fun and picked off Southwestern QB Ethan Hery. COC used this turnover to score again, with another 1-yard rushing touchdown for Peery. It was his second touchdown on the day.
On Southwestern’s very next drive the same result happened. Jimmy Inman was picked off by sophomore Semaj Williams who returned it for zero yards.
Once again this set up the Cougar’s offense with a short field. With the ball placed at the Southwestern 38, it took COC six plays to score another touchdown. Sophomore Damon Banks rushed it in from 10 yards out for a score. Putting up COC 26-0 with around three minutes to go before halftime.
For COC’s first score of the second half. Freshman QB Noah Staples had an excellent rush for 16 yards which led to another touchdown for the Cougars. It put them up 36-0 with just over five minutes to go in the third quarter.
COC’s defense did its job again on the ensuing Southwestern drive. Stopping them on a fourth down attempt which resulted in a 14-yard loss. This gave the COC offense another short field opportunity with the ball at the Southwestern 25-yard line.
COC did not waste any time scoring. On the third play of the drive, Noah Staples hit tight end Josh Smith for a 31-yard TD pass, which was his second of the night. The Cougars were up 43-0 just before the fourth quarter.
With under five minutes left in the game, the COC defense almost held Southwestern to a shutout. Dylan McCain had a different idea. The Southwestern QB hit receiver Kahanu Davis for a 92-yard TD on a third and 20 on their own eight. A marvelous play to get something going for the Southwestern offense on a very bleak night.
The Cougars would go on to win this contest with a score of 43-7, but even with that score, the game was not perfect for them. The COC offense had 3 turnovers of their own. One interception from Chayden Perry and two lost fumbles from freshman RB J.D. Sumlin.
“We’re gonna go watch the film on Sunday as a staff and come away with a key for us, but we said it all week but we need to be consistent,” Iacenda said. “Our play needs to be more consistent. We need to have the ups without the downs and that’s a goal for any championship football team”.
The Cougars must turn their attention to the next opponent, which is Fullerton next weekend at home.