College of the Canyons football (2-0) brought the heat against the visiting Southwestern (0-2) Jaguars in a 43-7 win on Saturday.
COC’s defense would be vital for the team and the opposite for Southwestern.
The Cougars registered four interceptions, a sack and forced eight punts. They now have seven picks on the season.
Quarterback Chayden Peery was solid in his two quarters of work. Peery threw 8-14 with 108 passing yards and racked up three touchdowns.
Neither team could find their groove early as each started with a turnover and a punt.
The Cougars had a 45-yard touchdown reception by Zyon Slade called back due to penalties. Slade made up for the penalty with a 34-yard reception to set up Perry’s first rushing TD.
COC had a shake-up at quarterback, which saw Peery on the sideline for a couple plays, but freshman Cam Fouts went two for two in his short time of work. Peery would come back and connect with wide receiver Josh Smith for a 21-yard score to go up 13-0 in the first quarter.
Smith would be a big-play threat throughout the night, with all of his early catches being big 20-plus-yard plays. Smith finished with four catches for 94 yards and two TDs.
“The mindset was to just dominate,” said Smith. “The whole week we’ve talked about dominating.”
Peery threw his one interception in the first half trying to hit a wide open Calvin Littles, but the ball had too much hang time. The Georgia Tech bounceback got the ball right back after linebacker Cole Bullock brought down the second COC interception.
“Preparation coming into it,” said Bullock. “We do a lot of studying and a lot of film work. So that kind of sets up [the interceptions]. That’s where it always comes down to, hours in the film room.”
The team certainly has been prepared so far this season, something head coach Ted Iacenda believes is a strength of this team.
“This is a defensive group that really likes to watch film,” said Iacenda. ”When you have a group that likes to watch film, it means they’re going to get better as the year goes on. The sky’s the limit for the defensive side of the ball.”
The Cougar defense never let up even after facing three different Southwestern quarterbacks. COC allowed just one first down and forced four turnovers, including three picks, in the first half.
Once they had the ball back, the Cougars rolled, leading to another Peery 1-yard rushing score.
Semahj Williams brought down the third COC pick of the half to set up a Damon Banks 10-yard rushing TD to put the game away early and go up 26-0 just before halftime.
PATs would be the only area Canyons lacked after kicker Ty Morrison missed two PATs in the first half. The former Valencia kicker still had a solid game kicking off and making his one field goal attempt from 38 yards.
For the second week in a row, the Cougars put away their opponent early and were able to flex their depth in the second half.
Both teams featured four quarterbacks but for polar opposite reasons. Canyons’ Cam Fouts, Bryce Dickson and Noah Staples all took advantage of their playing time and led the offense into the red zone.
Staples was also able to find Smith for a 31-yard TD on his one completion.
Southwestern had quarterbacks going through revolving doors but all were unable to spark the offense against the fierce Cougar defense.
“We are ferocious, there’s no question,” said Iacenda. “We’re playing disciplined football. We’re having the takeaways and that’s been key for us.”
The Jaguars’ one score was a big one. Late in the fourth quarter, quarterback Dylan McCain was able to connect with receiver Kahanu Davis for a 91-yard TD reception.
The play ended the potential of Canyons’ first shutout in four years. The defense still has an impressive four games of holding opponents to 10 or fewer points dating back to last season.
COC will return home Saturday for a matchup with Fullerton (1-1). The Cougars and Hornets kick off Saturday at 6 p.m.