By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
SANTA BARBARA — College of the Canyons evened up its season with a 24-14 road win at Santa Barbara City College, getting back to .500 by downing a ranked opponent for the second time in as many weeks.
Saturday’s contest represented the Southern California Football Association (SCFA) National Division, Northern League opener for both teams, with SBCC having recently joined the conference as part of an off-season realignment.
Canyons (2-2, 1-0) twice limited the Vaqueros’ offense to field goals after long drives in the opening quarter to trail 6-0 after the first 15 minutes.
The Cougars went three-and-out on their opening series but were able to get on the board with the next possession on a 34-yard field goal from Asa Johnson, making it a 6-3 ballgame.
The Canyons defense continued to hold strong in the second quarter, as Santa Barbara drove the ball down to the eight-yard line before an unsuccessful field goal attempt that sailed wide left.
COC scored its first touchdown of the game on a nine-yard, pass-and-catch from Emory Floyd to Lyndon Ravare. That scoring play was set up by a 24-yard rush by Don Ray Hall. Malik Brooks also turned in runs of 14 and 16 yards on the drive. Johnson’s PAT put the score at 10-6 which is where things stayed heading into halftime.
Floyd got Canyons on the board for a second time with his two-yard scoring run late in the third quarter. This time the drive was aided by a 20-yard reception from Cameron Bowen. Johnson’s kick made it 17-6.
Santa Barbara (2-2, 0-1) was first to score in the fourth when quarterback Shaun Smith hooked up with Ryan Gillum on a two-yard touchdown toss. The Vaqueros then converted on a two-point play to move things along at 17-14.
Canyon quickly answered, however, with Floyd and company orchestrating another scoring drive, capped by Robin Verginelli‘s one-yard touchdown plunge. This time it was Joshua Clark‘s three caries for 29 rushing yards that helped pace the drive. Johnson converted once more to put the final score at 24-14.
Floyd finished the game 11-of-20 for 212 yards and the touchdown. He added a team-high 73 rushing yards on 12 attempts with another touchdown.
Ravare led the receiving corps with four catches for 73 yards and his scoring grab. Hall was next with three catches for 64 yards, and a long gain of 38 yards. Bowen ended the night with 49 yards on a pair of catches.
The COC defense recorded six tackles for loss, while Mario Kljajic and Roderick Colquitt both had sacks in the game. The Vaqueros were able to mount a number of long offensive drives but came away with the lone touchdown.
The Cougars have now yielded just three touchdowns over the last 10 quarters of play, dating back to week two.
SBCC entered the game as the No. 19 ranked team in the state according to the most recent JC Athletic Bureau’s head coaches poll. The Vaqueros were also No. 18 in the California Community College Sports Information Directors Association (CCCSIA) poll released Sept. 18.
Canyons was not ranked headed into week four. Last week, COC ran to a 17-7 home win over No. 21 Palomar College.
Up next, the Cougars host Antelope Valley College at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 at Cougar Stadium. The evening’s festivities are set to include the college’s 2023 Homecoming Celebration beginning at 3 p.m. Tickets are on sale now.