By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — College of the Canyons concluded the regular season with a 24-7 road victory over Bakersfield College on Saturday to clinch a Southern California Football Association (SCFA) National Division, Northern League tri-championship.
The start of Saturday's contest had to be delayed an hour due to transportation issues for Canyons. However, the Cougars wasted little time in getting down to business.
On COC"s first offensive snap wide receiver Tiquan Gilmore took a handoff 50 yards to the Bakersfield 30-yard line. The drive would eventually stall out after a Bakersfield sack and pair of Armani Edden incompletions, but proved to be a sign of things to come.
On the ensuing drive Canyons blocked a 29-yard field goal attempt to keep things scoreless with 8:12 left in the first quarter. The Cougars broke the scoreless tie when sophomore Tanner Brown converted on 39-yard attempt of his own to make it 3-0.
Canyons got its first touchdown of the evening on a two-yard plunge from sophomore Cayden Dunn early in the second quarter. Brown's PAT was good and COC led 10-0 with just over nine minutes to play in the half.
After a six-play drive that netted negative yards for the Renegades, the Cougars responded with a quick scoring drive that ended on a Cyrus Zuell five-yard touchdown run, pushing the score to 17-0 after Brown's PAT.
Bakersfield (3-7, 1-4) opened the second-half scoring with a two-yard score from running Isaiah Martin to get on the board at 17-7.
With backup quarterback Michael Wilson in to start the second half Canyons responded by quickly moving the ball to the Bakersfield nine-yard line. The Renegades stayed in the game, however, by forcing a fumble from Alonzell Henderson that was recovered on the Bakersfield one-yard line.
A sack from Benjamin Seymour eventually set up a 4th and 17 for the Renegades. That brought out the Bakersfield punt team which promptly led to a game-clinching 45-yard touchdown return from Lennox Howard.
Brown's PAT put the game at 24-7 which is where things stayed as the fourth quarter played out.
The Canyons defense did its job the rest of the way, limiting the Renegades to 224 yards of total offense and a 5-of-14 mark on third downs. The Cougars recorded seven sacks in the game led by Seymour's three.
Charles Ike led the team with nine total tackles and two pass breakups. Tre Valler checked in with five solo stops.
Canyons (8-2, 4-1) will share the 2019 conference title with Ventura College (8-2, 4-1) and Long Beach City College (6-3, 4-1).
The conference championship is the second in as many years for Canyons, and the third under head coach Ted Iacenda who also won the conference crown in 2013, his first season at the helm.
The title is also the program's 13th overall and 10th since COC reinstated its program in 1998.
Canyons will advance to the CCCAA Southern California Regional Playoffs for a second straight year.
The Cougars are set to host Saddleback College (9-1, 4-1) at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23 at Cougar Stadium. Riverside City College will host Mt. San Antonio College in the other first round matchup.
Canyons and Saddleback previously met in week one of the 2019 season with the Gauchos emerging victorious 45-20.
Stay up to date on all this season's action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
—Photo by Jeff Dahlia/Canyons Football