No. 17 Canyons Takes Fourth Straight 31-21 Over No. 9 El Camino
By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
TORRANCE — No. 17 College of the Canyons returned to action following its week six bye with a 31-21 conference victory over No. 9 El Camino College on Thursday night to win its fourth straight contest.
Canyons (4-2, 3-0) needed just under three minutes to put its first points on the board and eventually established an early 14-0 advantage with 4:56 to go in the opening quarter.
Donovan Dunn scored from three yards out for the Cougars' first touchdown. Later, quarterback Emery Floyd capped a 12-play, 75-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge of his own before Asa Johnson converted on his second PAT of the night.
Dunn finished with a game-high 79 yards on 14 attempts, including a long gain of 17. Floyd also had a nice rushing night ending at 43 yards on 10 carries.
El Camino (4-2, 2-1) got back into the game when Jakai Torres found the end zone on a one-yard run early in the second quarter. COC was forced to punt on its next possession and from there the Warriors tied the game at 14-14 on a scoring pass from Lucas Reynoso to Champion Edwards.
The Cougars added a third score in the half when Floyd connected with Damon Barkus to cap another long drive and put the game at 21-14 with 1:35 to go before the break.
Floyd finished the night 15-of-26 for 177 yards and the touchdown.
The two sides played a nearly scoreless second half before a flurry of activity in the final 2:30 seconds.
First, Johnson tacked on three points with a 43-yard field goal to make it a 24-14 lead for the Cougars.
Less than a minute later COC defensive lineman Matias Ortiz Jr. snagged an El Camino pass out of the air and returned it 40 yards to the house to clinch the game and move the score to 31-14.
The Warriors added a last-gasp score with 12 seconds to go in the game when Joshua Lorick hooked up with Dayton Tafoya in the end zone. The ensuing PAT put the final score at 31-21.
Tafoya finished the game 17-of-28 for 127 yards a touchdown and the crucial interception.
The ECC offensive unit had a productive night moving the ball, accounting for 433 yards of total offense, but could not consistently come away with points in what was another strong defensive performance for the Cougars.
Canyons recorded six tackles for loss in the game with four coming from freshman defensive end Joseph Marsh. He also recorded a sack, along with seven tackles to tie with Jairon Dorsey for the team lead.
COC turned in another strong rushing performance behind an offensive line that helped generate more than 200 yards rushing for the second time this season. The Cougars had four players top 35 yards on the ground Thursday, with Joshua Clark (five carries for 60 yards) and Malik Brooks (eight carries for 37 yards) joining Dunn and Floyd in that category.
Through the air it was Lyndon Ravare with four catches and 64 yards to lead the way. Travis Royal was highly productive for the second straight game with five catches for 51 yards. Clark also got in on the action with a pair of grabs for 37 yards.
El Camino entered the game as the No. 10 ranked team in the state according to the JC Athletic Bureau Head Coaches poll released Oct. 2. The Warriors were also No. 9 in the California Community College Sports Information Directors Association (CCCSIA) poll. Canyons had been ranked No. 17 in both polls.
The loss ended a two-game win streak for the Warriors. Canyons has now won four straight including three vs. state ranked opponents after beginning the season 0-2.
With four regular season games remaining on the schedule, COC next returns to Cougar Stadium at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21 to tangle with Allan Hancock College.
AHC (2-3, 1-1) must first play Bakersfield College (3-2, 1-1) this upcoming Saturday before heading south to Santa Clarita.
—Photo by Dylan Stewart/1550 Sports