By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
Prior to the Riverside City College Tigers’ loss last week to Golden West College, the Tigers were the No. 1 ranked team in the Southern California Football Association. The College of the Canyon Cougars looked to hand the Tigers their second loss in as many weeks and show why they deserve to be the No. 1 team.
The Cougars won their fifth game against the Tigers (3-2), 41-24, on Saturday to continue their perfect season against a team they lost to in the championship only a few years ago. The Cougars are currently not scheduled to play any more ranked opponents for the rest of the regular season, but the Cougars have shown they belong in the conversation for the best team in the conference.
“I saw a team that was fired up to play and we executed what we needed to do,” said COC coach Ted Iacenda. “Tonight was a nice non-conference win, there’s no question about it. We’ve just to regroup on the bye week now and we’ve got to get ready for our conference opponents next week.”
Off the first drive for the Tigers, Cougars defensive back Joshua Madison picked off quarterback Budd Bernie and took it to the house for the first score and set the tone for the rest of the game. The Cougar defense would come up with two more interceptions on the game, one from Cole Bullock and one from Allan Smith.
“We knew this was a big week, so everyone was locked in during practice,” said Smith. “This is a big accomplishment for us because they beat us a few years ago. Coming back and beating them was a great thing. We’ve got a real good team, our coach prepared us for this moment.”
The Tigers were able to march back down and tie up the game with a 3-yard rushing touchdown by running back Dean Connors, but that would be their only touchdown of the first half, finishing the half with only 10 points.
The Cougars would continue their relentless offensive efforts capped off by the interception hauled in by Smith and a sack by Jonathan Thomas to finish off the half up 27-10. Cougars quarterback Colton Doyle would only complete five passes, but would finish the half with 108 yards and two touchdowns.
Iacenda said a key focus coming into the game was not dropping easy passes. The team responded accordingly.
Both of Doyle’s touchdowns were hauled in by wide receiver Tiquan Gilmore, who finished the half with two catches for 97 yards. Doyle would finish the night with 208 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Moises Haynes also found the end zone in the first half to cap off a 27-point half, and would continue his dominance in the second half on another goal line carry. Haynes would finish the game with 94 rushing yards after just 12 rushing yards in the first half.
“If it wasn’t for the offensive line, I wouldn’t have ran the way I did,” said Haynes when asked about what changed in the second half. “We were hungry. We lost very badly to them in the championship so we had a chip on our shoulders. We prepared as if this was our championship game.”
The Tigers woke up in the second half, scoring two touchdowns with backup quarterback Jordan Barton, who finished the night with 194 passing yards, but the Cougars remained on top of their game. Bernie was taken out of the game in the first half after throwing two interceptions.
The Cougars kept their foot on the pedal, scoring two more touchdowns in the second half, which included a 69-yard passing touchdown to Calvin Littles. Haynes controlled the ball for the Cougars, ultimately sealing the fate for the Tigers.
The Cougars are on a bye next week and are scheduled to play Bakersfield on Oct. 16.