The College of the Canyons football team has to put together a fine body of work since rattling off six consecutive wins, with the most recent coming in a 58-10 win over East Los Angeles College at East Los Angeles on Saturday.
Canyons dominated the visitors from wire-to-wire, racking up 547 yards of total offense, amassing 304 yards passing and rushing for another 243 yards, while the stingy defense allowed a meager 246 yards, 139 yards through the air and 107 on the ground.
“We are obviously just starting conference play and we right now, are extremely talented, at times we can play very, very good football in all phases offense, but we also have a tendency to wait until there’s a sense of urgency and then we start to play,” said Canyons head coach Ted Iacenda.
“That’s been indicative of our play in the first half of almost every game this year. Our focus last week against ELAC was to fix that and start early with energy and not wait until the second half to get things going.”
Canyons starting quarterback Armani Edden got the Cougars going just under three minutes into the game with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tiquan Gilmore. Forcing a Huskies’ punt on their first possession of the game, Edden struck again for his second touchdown in the first quarter leading the team down the field on a three-play 54-yard drive that ended with a 29-yard touchdown reception to Jordan Anderson.
“It’s been phenomenal and there’s no doubt that he’s a big part of the reason that we are having the success that we are having,” Iacenda said about Edden’s growth. “His attention to detail, his overall improvement week in and week out, and he’s also a great young man and a great teammate. The kids rally around him and love him.”
A 25-yard field goal from Tanner Brown with 3:02 left in the first quarter capped the scoring heading into the second quarter. The Cougars forced a fumble on the ensuing East LA drive and Cyrus Zuell punched it in on a seven-yard touchdown with 10:24 left in the first half.
The Huskies finally got on the board with a 28-yard field goal by Juan Rangel, but the Cougars answered with a swift two-play, 56-yard drive capped by a 60-yard pass from Edden to Alonzell Henderson. It was Edden’s third and final touchdown of the game.
Edden finished the game completing 12-of-17 pass attempts for 214 yards and three passing touchdowns. He rushed four times for three yards.
Canyons backup quarterback Michael Wilson spelled Edden and began the second half behind center as the Cougars quarterback and showed his versatility, running in a 26-yard touchdown.
East Los Angeles responded by scoring their only touchdown of the game on a 12-play, 83-yard drive that lasted 5:43 seconds resulting in an 8-yard touchdown run by Pierre Robinson.
“Obviously, that was the highlight of that 2018 team and this defense has really kind of done it without the accolades and every week they have come in and started kind of slow, but in the second half when we needed to get stops, they were front and center,” Iacenda said.
Wilson came back, this time throwing a 19-yard touchdown pass to Vantraveous Williams and his second passing touchdown of the game on the following drive that ended in a 37-yard passing score to Lennox Howard.
In one half of play, Wilson completed 4-of-5 passes for 90 yards and two passing touchdowns. He added another 83 yards and one rushing touchdown on five rush attempts.
Canyons capped its second-highest scoring total on the year with a six-yard touchdown run by Kartillus McFadden with under four minutes remaining in the game.
The Cougars road to the postseason continues with a road game against Ventura at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
“We need to play smart football, there’s no doubt about that. We need to start off fast, like we did to ELAC, and try to keep that pace,” Iacenda said. “We definitely need to be sound in the kicking game.
“Our special teams play really needs to be up to par and we have to play sound football on offense and make the most of our possessions and on defense. We have to tackle well and get the ball away from them.”