COC Football | Cougar Football Week 4: Cerritos at COC (Homecoming), 9-28-2019
The College of the Canyons Cougars (4-1) played to a 10-10 halftime tie with Cerritos College Saturday night in Valencia before exploding for 21 second-half points as they beat the Falcons 31-17.
Cover photo by Kevin Karzin
No. 13 Canyons Hosts No. 7 Cerritos for COC’s 50th Anniversary Homecoming
By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
College of the Canyons played its fourth game of the 2019 season as the Cougars hosted Cerritos College during the college’s 50th Anniversary Community Homecoming Celebration.
Saturday’s matchup was a non-conference contest as Canyons represented the Southern California Football Association (SCFA) National Division, Northern League. Cerritos hails from the National Division, Central League.
The date of Saturday’s Homecoming Celebration event coincided with two major milestones in the college’s illustrious history.
College of the Canyons officially opened to students September 29, 1969, although in temporary facilities at nearby by William S. Hart High School. A class of nearly 750 students enrolled in the more than 150 academic courses offered that first year.
Homecoming week also marks the 45th anniversary of Cougar Stadium, which officially opened September 21, 1974 for the football program’s first home game of the season. That night, COC quarterback Chuck Lyon — who would go on to lead the Cougars to a National Championship as the program’s head coach in 2004 — scored the first touchdown in Cougar Stadium history. However, it would not be enough as COC was defeated 26-21 by visiting L.A. Harbor College. Lyon currently serves as Dean of the college’s School of Physical Education & Kinesiology.
Last week, Canyons (2-1) recorded a 63-10 week three victory over Santa Barbara City College in a rare Sunday night edition of Cougars football. SBCC had been scheduled to host the night prior, but an on-campus power outage prevented that from happening and the two schools eventually opted to shift locations back to Santa Clarita.
COC controlled the contest from the opening whistle, jumping out to an early 21-3 first quarter advantage before scoring 42 unanswered points in the second half. The Cougars amassed 676 yards of total offense including 403 rushing yards. COC had four players top the 80-yard rushing plateau and scored six rushing touchdowns. Freshman running back Cyrus Zuell finished with a game-high 109 yards on eight carries including a 14-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter. Sophomore Cayden Dunn ended with 94 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Armani Edden also looked sharp throughout, completing his first 10 pass attempts and eventually finished the game 18-of-24 for 248 yards and two touchdowns, also adding 86 yards on the ground.
Lost in the Cougars offensive exploits was the play of the COC defense, which forced three turnovers and pitched a second half shutout while recording five sacks and 14 tackles for loss in the contest. Freshman Benjamin Seymour continued to shine on the defensive front, with back-to-back sacks in the second quarter. Linebacker Charles Ike tallied five tackles and a sack. Safety Madison Wheeler had three tackles and an interception and linebacker Khalib Johns recorded a team-high six tackles.
Cerritos (3-0) has scored at least 50 points in its last two games. The most recent occurrence came in a 50-7 home victory vs. College of the Desert last week which saw the Falcons account for 37 points in the second half. Cerritos freshman quarterback TJ McMahon ended his night 15-of-20 for 173 yards and two scoring strikes. Sophomore running back Carl Odom carried the ball 15 times for 103 yards and a touchdown. The defense recorded 12 tackles for loss and five sacks, with freshmen Gregory Shelton, Bijon Haris and sophomore Etiene Valele each with five tackles.
Canyons, the defending Northern League champions, is currently sixth in the state with an average of 498.3 yards of total offense per game. The Cougars also check in at No. 10 with 41.3 points per outing. The Cougars’ rushing average of 216.3 yards per game is the state’s No. 4 mark. On the defensive side of the ball, COC has racked up 10 sacks, five forced fumbles and three interceptions while allowing 22.7 points per game through the first three games of 2019. Those numbers have the Cougars’ defensive unit ranked 12th in the SCFA. COC has held its opponent to under 14 points in back-to-back weeks.
Cerritos has also experienced success on both sides of the ball. The Falcons have averaged 44.3 points per game good for No. 5 in the state led by a rushing attack that has churned out nearly 180 yards on the ground each time out. The Cerritos defense is No. 9 in the state in both points (14.7) and yards (237) allowed per game. The team’s 15 sacks represents the No. 3 mark in California while the Falcon’s six fumble recoveries puts them at No. 2 in that category.
Canyons is currently the No. 13 ranked team in the state according to the California Community College Sports Information Association (CCCSIA) poll. The Cougars are also ranked No. 13 in the JC Athletic Bureau Head Coaches Poll. The Falcons are No. 6 in the head coaches poll and No. 7 in the CCCSIA rankings.
Canyons and Cerritos last met during the 2018 season, with the Cougars coming away as 28-10 road winners. Cerritos holds a slight edge in the all-time series, with the Cougars having gone 5-6 all-time vs. the Falcons. However, Canyons has won the last two meetings dating back to 2017.