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COC suffers stunning loss

Highly ranked Cougars fall to unranked Santa Barbara City College

Posted: September 12, 2009 11:27 p.m.
Updated: September 13, 2009 4:55 a.m.
SANTA BARBARA - A tale of two halves left College of the Canyons football out of time and upset in a 17-14 loss Saturday at Santa Barbara City College.

The unranked Vaqueros (1-1) were no doubt underdogs in the contest against the Cougars (1-1), which came into the matchup ranked No. 5 in the state by the California Community College Football Coaches Association.

"You can go all the way back in the history books, to before the planet was even here - the team that's supposed to win doesn't always win," said Cougars head coach Garett Tujague.

"We could go and let this be the cause of all ends, or we can learn from this."

COC's defense wasn't quite as stifling as last week, when it limited Antelope Valley to 27 yards rushing, but it did give the Cougars' offense plenty of opportunities.

The Cougars just couldn't take advantage.

COC linebacker Evan Harrington sacked Vaqueros quarterback John Uribe on the Santa Barbara 35-yard line four minutes into the game, forcing a fumble that was recovered by defensive lineman Kourtney Bennett at the 31.

Two completions and a few scrambles later, COC running back B.J. Iverson took the handoff from quarterback Justin Morales, and finished the short drive with a 1-yard touchdown run and an early 7-0 lead.

The Vaqueros answered with a 28-yard field goal by Jeremy Waxman after driving the ball nearly 80 yards against the Cougars.

COC defensive backs Arron Fisher and Josh Gibbs blanketed the SBCC receiving corps for most of the night and limited Uribe to 13-of-27 passing for 166 yards.

Their coverage allowed the defense to sack Uribe five times.

Morales completed 12-of-23 passes for 103 yards but also threw two interceptions.

A sack and a forced fumble by Cougar defensive end Emmanuel Koleosho with five minutes left in the second quarter led to a touchdown by Saugus graduate Ryan Zirbel to put COC up 14-3.

"(The defense) did a great job of reads in the first half, and it seemed like we knew what they were going to do with the ball," Koleosho said.

"In the second half, we just made way too many mistakes."

COC threatened to make several very big plays but Morales tripped on a run that would have easily been a touchdown.

Then, a deep pass by Morales slipped through D.J. Stephens' fingers near the end zone.

Later, a perfect 17-yard scamper up the middle by B.J. Iverson was called back for holding.

Miscue after miscue left COC short of the dominance displayed in past games against Santa Barbara.

After being chased around the field for three quarters, Uribe put together two fourth-quarter drives with help from running back Robyn Lawson, who put the Vaqueros within four points with his touchdown run.

A naked bootleg two drives later by Uribe put the final points on the board and left the Cougars searching for answers.

"I really don't know," Iverson said, trying to explain the difference between the first and second half.

"I guess our focus and a lack of concentration. We just have to practice harder, work harder to get better," he added.

The Cougars had a chance to score with less than a minute to go after quarterback Eric Brown, who came off the bench for Morales at quarterback, led a drive deep into Santa Barbara territory.

But Brown was hurt as he took a sack on third and short, and time expired as COC botched a field goal attempt from 42 yards that would have sent the game into overtime.


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