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Young COC team loses its season opener

Posted: September 7, 2013 10:27 p.m.
Updated: September 7, 2013 10:27 p.m.

COSTA MESA — It was a game that ran the emotional gamut for the College of the Canyons football team.

The Cougars turned in a lackluster offensive performance for much of the night against Golden West College before COC quarterback Tony Dawson tossed a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Vincent Strange to knot it up late in the game.

Then COC special teams maven Dan Vear blocked a punt to set up a 38-yard field goal attempt by Eric Kreitz with 2 seconds left in regulation, but the methodical and determined Rustlers blocked it before defeating the Cougars in overtime 27-21 Saturday night at neighboring Orange Coast College.

Vear said he noticed a weakness on GWC’s punt block on the weak side and begged his coach to put him in a position to make the play.

“After the block, I really thought when we were going out there for that field goal, it was going to be one kick and we’re done,” Vear said.

A breakdown on COC’s special teams thwarted the attempt.

The Cougars (0-1) drew first blood early in the first after Golden West’s midfield snap on a punt attempt sailed high over the kicker’s head all the way to the GWC 10-yard line.

Three plays later, COC’s Matt Bowen took it in from a yard out for the team’s only lead of the night at 7-0.

The Rustlers (1-0) countered with a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes from freshman quarterback Chris d’Entremont, and Robert Cruz’s second-quarter, 2-yard touchdown plunge gave the team a 21-7 advantage at the break.

Cougars first-year head coach Ted Iacenda said COC is a young team still finding its way on offense.

“Offensively, we just made one too many mistakes to get the job done, and we’re going to get that corrected,” Iacenda said. “We knew all along that our defense was going to be the strength of our team, and they showed that tonight —— they kept us in the game for four quarters.”

Golden West eight-year head coach Nick Mitchell said his players “did a good job of shooting ourselves in the foot” when they were flagged for four long penalties during COC’s fourth-quarter comeback.

“Give it to Canyons, coming a long way to get here, a young team battling all night long,” Mitchell said.

Looking ahead to week two, COC travels to Saddleback on Saturday, while Golden West hosts L.A. Harbor.



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