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COC can’t catch up

College of the Canyons doesn’t have an answer for Bakersfield’s offense

Posted: November 14, 2009 11:48 p.m.
Updated: November 15, 2009 4:30 a.m.

On the outside of the State Bowl picture looking in at archrival Bakersfield College, the College of the Canyons football team still had a lot to play for Saturday.

But despite a strong Cougars defensive effort to slow a Renegades team averaging 40.3 points per game, Bakersfield cashed in on several big plays and beat COC 24-9 on Saturday at Cougar Stadium to win the National Division, Northern Conference title.

The Cougars (6-4, 3-3) now await a bowl assignment with an announcement scheduled for 10 a.m. today.

The Renegades (9-1, 6-0) were aided by a dynamic defensive effort, which prevented COC from finding a groove.

However, Cougars quarterback Eric Brown said there were other factors.

“They did (keep us off balance), but I think we kind of hurt ourselves with turnovers and penalties,” he said. “You can’t do that if you want to beat a team like this.”

Brown finished the game with 18-of-37 for 143 yards, one touchdown and one interception, while also rushing 19 times for 78 yards.

Brown took over for Justin Morales early in COC’s first drive.

“We were going to give each kid the first three plays and see what happened,” said Cougars head coach Garett Tujague. “Eric looked like he had the hot hand tonight. He made things happen. It’s just a little unfortunate because of some costly turnovers and when they happened.”

Bakersfield got on the board nine plays into the game when quarterback Logan Kilgore rolled to his right and hit wide receiver Rishard Matthews in the front of the end zone for a 7-0 lead.

On the ensuing possession, COC embarked on a 16-play drive that culminated with a 28-yard field goal by James Rodriguez.

After both teams traded turnovers, including two interceptions by defensive back Josh Gibbs, Bakersfield dialed up two long touchdowns.

The first came midway through the second quarter, when Kilgore threw a short pass to wide receiver Will Randle, who broke through the defense en route to a 75-yard score and 14-3 lead.

After a Brown fumble gave the Renegades the ball back just before the break, Kilgore hooked up with Randle once again for a 21-3 halftime advantage.

In the second half, Bakersfield added a 35-yard field goal by Josh Gallington to extend the lead to 24-3.

COC got in the end zone early in the fourth quarter when Brown, rolling out, threaded a ball on the run to wide receiver D.J. Stephens from 21 yards out.

The extra point was blocked, making the final score 24-9.

The Cougars had their chances late and got consistency on the ground from running back Ryan Zirbel, but dropped passes and untimely penalties were too much to overcome.

Zirbel finished with 120 yards on 11 carries, while Stephens had seven receptions for 73 yards and Mychal Rivera, had four catches for 40.

Ben Estill led Bakersfield with 80 yards on 18 carries and was seemingly impossible to stop at times.

“We expected a dog fight and we got a dog fight,” said Renegades head coach Jeff Chudy. “But at the end of the day, we got it done.”



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