It was yet again another defensive showcase at home for College of the Canyons on Saturday night as they defeated Golden West College 26-9.
In a game where starting quarterback Andrew Brito was absent due to a lower-body injury, backup quarterback Wyatt Eget got his first career start and didn’t skip a beat, completing 19-of-35 passes for two touchdowns and an interception.
Eget also carried the ball four times for 19 yards, but it was his elusiveness in the pocket that stood out as he escaped potential sacks and extended plays.
Canyons (5-0) head coach Ted Iacenda attributed Eget’s success to the hard work he’s been putting in all season and the fact that he stayed ready just in case his number was called.
“We know Wyatt can play ball. He’s a smart football player and he’s been taking his mental reps all year playing behind Andrew,” Iacenda said. “Sometimes when you have a backup in you have to dial everything back and that’s not the case with Wyatt. He knew the intricacies, we did not miss a beat offensively and he’s going to get better and better.”
“It’s a big win for me and for our team,” Eget said. “Having guys like Brandon (Pierce) makes my job so much easier. I’m working with all our receivers and getting in tune. These guys are ballers, I just need to get them the ball.”
Pierce finished the game with six catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. He was also involved early and often in the run game with several sweep plays, as the coaching staff made a concerted effort to get him the ball.
Wide receiver Damaris August scored the other passing touchdown, a huge 76-yard score at the beginning of the third quarter that put the Cougars up 19-0.
Jarrin Pierce added three catches for 15 yards and Leroy Deshazor had three catches for 32 yards.
In all, Eget connected with nine different receivers and backup quarterback Michael Wilson also connected with Kenny Torrance on his only pass attempt, giving Canyons a total of ten different pass-catchers on the night, a season high.
“It definitely makes life easy because every play any one of our guys can score,” Brandon Pierce said about all the weapons on the offense. “So we just come out and play our game and everybody eats. That’s how we look at it.”
After a slow start to the first quarter in which the only score was a Tanner Brown 30-yard field goal, Canyons picked up momentum when Johnny Morrison III and Tariq Speights were able to tackle Rustlers running back Tevon Valdez in his own end zone, resulting in a safety.
On the ensuing offensive position for the Cougars, Brandon Pierce scored on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Eget.
“First off, that was a great job by our punt team covering the ball and getting it down to the one. That puts us in position to make a big play,” Speights said. “By Charles (Ike) doing his job and blowing up their lead blocker, it set Johnny free. It set all of us free to get in there and swarm and come up with the safety.”
“Charles went down and did his job which cleared me up to go through the gap. I saw my target and made the tackle,” Morrison III added.
The Cougars’ defense entered the contest as the No. 1 defense in the Community College Athletic Association, allowing only 30 points in four games. They hadn’t allowed a passing touchdown all season until tonight, a late score by Golden West (2-3) when the game was already out of reach.
Still, the defense wasn’t happy about giving up that touchdown.
“They are more mad about that garbage touchdown then I am,” Iacenda said. “That’s why our defense is the way it is. It’s because the kids compete every day in practice. We’ve got a great group of defensive players and it’s a beautiful thing to see on Saturday nights.”
Canyons enters the bye week undefeated, the best start its had to a season since 2015. The team will use the time to heal up with injuries to Brito and running back Cayden Dunn, who got hurt in the first half of tonight’s game.
COC plays Moorpark College on Thursday, Oct. 11 in its first conference game of the year.