College of the Canyons sophomore wide receiver Tiquan Gilmore hauls in one of three touchdown passes on the day to help the No. 9 ranked Cougars to a 47-7 victory in the 2021 season opener. —Jim Bloomfield/COC Sports Information
College of the Canyons sophomore wide receiver Tiquan Gilmore hauls in one of three touchdown passes on the day to help the No. 9 ranked Cougars to a 47-7 victory in the 2021 season opener. —Jim Bloomfield/COC Sports Information

No. 9 Canyons Triumphant in Return, Routs Antelope Valley 47-7

By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director 

College of the Canyons football made its triumphant return to Cougar Stadium on Saturday, staging an offensive showcase to defeat Antelope Valley College 47-7 in front of an electrified crowd.

No. 9 Canyons (1-0) had not taken the field since playing in the Southern California Football Association (SCFA) SoCal Championship game on Nov. 30, 2019. The Cougars did not compete in 2020 due to cancellations brought about by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The story on Saturday night, however, was the emergence of COC quarterback Colton Doyle and his connection with the Cougars' stable of talented receivers.

Doyle finished the night 15-of-22 for 298 yards and three touchdowns. 

A big chunk of those yards came by way of sophomore receiver Tiquan Gilmore who found the end zone three times while collecting six catches and 197 receiving yards. 

Doyle's passing numbers led all SCFA quarterbacks for week one. The nimble signal caller also led the Cougars with 70 rushing yards on seven attempts, including a long gain of 33 and another touchdown on the ground.

COC did not waste any time getting on the scoreboard with Doyle's first scoring strike, a 66-yard touchdown to Gilmore, coming on the team's opening drive.  

The Cougars added a 35-yard field goal from freshman Ty Morrison to cap their second offensive effort.

Doyle then hooked up with sophomore Tim Wiggins for a 43-yard touchdown that rounded out the first quarter highlights and put Canyons in control at 16-0. Wiggins also had a scoring play called back on an illegal block penalty during the Cougars' opening drive.

The second quarter continued in similar fashion with Doyle again looking to Gilmore for a 39-yard touchdown at the 12:39 mark. Morrison's PAT put the score at 23-0.

On the ensuing drive, with AVC (0-1) desperately looking to sustain a drive, the Cougars defense stepped in the way, as Jovan Comacho picked off Marauder QB Caden Hinton for the first COC turnover of the season.

Doyle then went back to work, finding Calvin Littles for a 14-yard toss to move then chains and looking right back to Gilmore on a 38-yard connection that brought the line of scrimmage to the AVC 26-yard line. On 4th-and-2 Doyle scampered three yards to get the first down. He added another 11-yard run on the next play and after a COC timeout was able to get into the endzone with a nine-yard scoring run. The PAT by Morrison extended the score at 30-0 heading into halftime. 

COC freshman Bryce Bearss took over quarterbacking duties in the second half as the Cougars coaching staff worked to get four of their signal callers on the field.

The entire unit looked good, with Bearss finishing 5-for-5 for 83 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown to Gilmore, the receiver's third of the game, to continue the onslaught at 37-0.

Tooni Ikahihifo (5-of-7 for 57 yards) and Quinn Stamps (1-of-1 for 7 yards) also saw time under center.

AVC finally put together the sustained drive it had been looking for all night, chewing up 79 tough yards and drawing the aid of 15-yard personal foul, that helped get the Marauders in the end zone. The scoring play came on a 26-yard touchdown pass from AVC quarterback Caden Hinton to Carlos Hill. But at 37-7 heading into the fourth quarter it was simply too little too late for the Marauders.

The Cougar defense added an exclamation point when cornerback Dre Falls stepped in front of an ill-fated pass from AVC quarterback Bryce Blakenship and returned the ball 71-yards for another COC score. Another PAT from Morrison and it was a 44-7 contest.

Morrison later added a 27-yard chip shot field goal for a final 47-7 score. He finished the game 5-of-6 on PATs with two field goals, while also handling all kickoff duties.

COC wide receiver Akil Andrew stayed busy in the second half, finishing the game with six catches for 61 yards. Trevon Elliott (3 rec/37 yards) and Littles (4 rec/29 yards) were both heavily involved in the passing attack.

Canyons accumulated 541 yards of total offense with 445 coming through the air. Among the Cougar running backs who received carries, freshman Kalenga Muganda led with 35 yards on five carries and a long gain of 16.

Linebackers Jonathan Thomas, Brian Snoek and Dylan Vradenburg each finished with five tackles. Thomas also added a tackle for loss and a pair of pass break ups.

Defensive lineman Reggie Jones had two sacks, a forced fumble and a recovery to make his mark on the game. Cornerback Abdul-Lateef Audu contributed with three pass breaks while providing tight coverage throughout the game.

COC has now won 11 straight matchups vs. AVC dating back to 1999.

Canyons entered week one as the No. 9 ranked team in the state according to the JC Athletic Bureau Head Coaches Poll. 

Once again this season, all Cougars home games will be live streamed to fans free of charghe through a broadcast partnership with via the Cougars Sports Network. Games are then immediately archived on the COC Athletic Department YouTube page. To watch the week one archived live stream vs. AVC click here.

The Cougars will next travel to Southwestern College, on Saturday, Sept. 11 for week two SCFA action. That contest is scheduled to kickoff at 6 p.m.

Stay up to date on all this season's action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. 

—photo by Jim Bloomfield/COC Sports Information