COC football in a groove heading into final stretch of season

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College of the Canyons flexed its muscle on both sides of the ball for a second straight week, beating Cerritos 45-9 on Saturday at Cougar Stadium.

Since a loss to Ventura to open conference play, the Cougars have won back-to-back games, outscoring opponents 85-25.

Outrageous point totals weren’t unique to the Cougars’ win over Cerritos. They’ve averaged 37 points through eight games.

It’s the defense that’s beginning to catch its stride, though. Canyons had allowed less than 20 points in just one game prior to its 40-16 win over Moorpark on Oct. 16. Cerritos’ nine points constituted a season-low for the unit.

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“Our defensive line was exceptional Saturday,” said coach Ted Iacenda. “As a whole, the unit was phenomenal. But anytime you can hold a team to under 100 rushing yards that really speaks to the play of the line.”

Cerritos was held to 84 yards on the ground Saturday, averaging 2.5 yards per carry. The Cougars logged eight tackles for a loss as well as a pair of sacks and interceptions.

“Those guys were flying around all night on defense,” Iacenda said.

Quarterback Andrew Brito has thrown seven touchdowns to just one interception over the last two wins, and added a rushing touchdown Saturday. More importantly, he’s been sacked just twice in that span.

“It starts and ends with the offensive line,” Iacenda said. “This a sophomore unit that we’ve transformed and we rely on them heavily.

“They’re giving Andrew the time to run around and do his thing back there.”

RB Marlow hauled in two touchdowns against Cerritos and leads the team with seven touchdown catches this season.

With two weeks left in the regular season, Canyons isn’t control of its own Southern California Football Association playoff destiny. Ventura and Bakersfield remain undefeated in the Northern Conference but also play each other this week, with Canyons set to travel to Bakersfield next week.

Even if they don’t win the Northern Conference, the Cougars still have a solid shot at the SCFA’s at-large bid as they hit the road to play Santa Monica this Saturday. Canyons (6-2, 2-1 SCFA) last made the playoffs in 2013, Iacenda’s first year as head coach.

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“We’re in a good spot for that wild-card bid, but with (Bakersfield and Ventura) playing each other this week, we definitely still have a shot at winning the conference,” Iacenda said. “It’s nice that we’re building a little steam heading into the final stretch.

On the recruiting trail, offensive lineman Carlton Lorenz picked up an offer from Liberty last week. Wide receiver Desean Holmes received an offer from Florida Atlantic on Oct. 3.

“I think this is going to be a banner year for us recruiting wise,” Iacenda said. “It’s nice when kids get those mid-year offers; takes a little pressure off. But things are really going to heat up in the spring.”

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