The College of the Canyons football team returns to the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Southern Regional playoffs for the second consecutive year after defeating Bakersfield 24-7 at home on Saturday.
Although Bakersfield dominated the time of possession by more than nine total minutes, it was the Cougars who were on the offensive throughout the night, out-gaining the Renegades in total yards 425 to 224.
Canyons (8-2 overall, 4-1) quarterback Armani Edden had an efficient passing night and completed 14-of-16 passes for 124 yards and no touchdowns in one half of play. Michael Wilson later relieved Edden of his duties to begin the second half as Canyons’ signal-caller.
Edden rushed the ball seven times for 11 yards.
Changing up the pace of play, Wilson finished out the game behind center completing both of his pass attempts for 53 yards but did most of the damage with his legs.
He rushed the ball five times for 47 yards and finished as the Cougars’ second-leading rusher.
Four different Cougars scored in the win, as Tanner Brown kicked off the game’s scoring with a 39-yard field goal to take an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter of play.
Brown hit 1-of-2 field goals, hitting all three of the extra-points.
10 different Canyons players rushed the ball combining for 248 yards on the ground. Cayden Dunn led the pack with 11 carries for 35 yards and a score, the two quarterbacks, Edden and Wilson, followed with seven and five rushes.
Cyrus Zuell scored the other rushing touchdown for the Cougars from five yards out. Zuell has rushed the ball 65 times for 394 yards and five rushing touchdowns in nine games played this year.
Dunn has totaled 616 yards and seven rushing touchdowns on 95 carries over the same stretch.
Holding Bakersfield (3-7, 1-4) to just seven points, the least amount of points Canyons has allowed in a single game all year, the Cougars were stingy on defense allowing a meager 3.4 yards per play in 66 plays.
Seven different Cougars finished the game recording a sack as Benjamin Seymour, a Valencia High School alumnus, had three for a loss of 36 yards, Jake Schultz had two for 12 yards and Sterling Cooper and Trevor Ojoh each had one.
While Canyons’ receiving core didn’t score a receiving touchdown, wide receiver Lennox Howard, who has five receptions for 72 yards on the year, returned a punt 45 yards for a touchdown.
Trevon Elliot and Tiquan Gilmore each led the team in receptions (four) as the former finished with 71 yards and the latter with 50 yards in the win.
With the win, the Cougars claim a share of the Southern California Football Association (SCFA) National Division, Northern League title along with Ventura and Long Beach, who also finished 4-1 in conference play.
The Cougars defeated Ventura 48-38 earlier this month, but fell to Long Beach 32-24 the following week.
While all three schools are headed for postseason berths, the No. 3 ranked Canyons team is the only team to earn a regional playoff game and will host No. 2 Saddleback College at Cougar Stadium at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Saturday’s game will have a little more meaning for the Cougars, as the No. 2 ranked Gauchos defeated Canyons 45-20 in the first game of the season.