SANTA CLARITA, Calif. - Sophomore running back Matt Bowen tied a school record with five rushing touchdowns and sophomore receiver Louis Gipson hauled in137 receiving yards to lead No. 7 College of the Canyons to a 44-23 victory over No. 4 Ventura College on Saturday night at the VC Sportsplex.
The Cougars, who improved to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in conference, are now in sole possession of first place in the National Division, Northern Conference. Ventura College (4-3, 2-1) now sits in third place, behind second-ranked Cerritos College (4-2, 2-0).
Bowen rushed for 100 yards and five touchdowns on 28 attempts, for his first 100-yard performance of the year. The sophomore tied the COC record for most rushing touchdowns in a single game, shared by Fred Winborn who accomplished the same feat
against Pasadena City College in 2008.
Freshman quarterback Tony Dawson completed 7-of-10 passes for 150 yards and a score, while rushing for 98 yards on 11 carries, while Gipson hauled in 137 yards, which set a new season high for the sophomore receiver.
COC linebackers Joey Cicoria and Ryan McAleenan recorded seven tackles each, while the Cougar defense notched four interceptions, including two from corner Lance Poole.
On the first play of the game Ventura College quarterback Brad Odeman immediately tried to move the ball down the field with a long pass attempt, but Canyons’ Poole was there for the interception.
Canyons didn’t move the ball well on its first possession of the game and then had a problem getting the punt off, which set up the Pirates with a short field. One play later, Ventura was up 7-0 with 13:22 left in the first quarter.
The Cougars equalized the score after a missed VC field goal. Sophomore wide receiver Kwasi Washington rushed 41 yards to the Ventura three-yard line to set up the score, before Bowen eventually took it in for a one-yard score.
Canyons’ first drive of the second quarter saw Dawson orchestrate a nine-play, 91-yard march down the field that ended with a 36-yard pass to Travion Tucker, with 9:38 left in the half.
Six minutes later, VC found itself in the end zone again, but they missed the extra point, and trailed the Cougars 14-13 with 3:49 left before the break.
Canyons quickly reacted and scored again - this time a one-yard carry by Bowen - increasing the Cougar’s lead to 20-13.
The second half would not be as close, with Canyons opening up the action with a interception by McAleenan that was returned 37 yards to the Ventura 8-yard line. One play later, Bowen again found himself in the end zone and the Cougars jumped out to a 27-13 lead with 11:44 left in the third quarter.
Ventura got as close as seven points in the second half, after Dashnaw fumbled a handoff in the Cougar end zone, which was recovered by a VC player for a score.
Freshman kicker Eric Kreitz gave COC a 30-20 lead with a 42-yard field goal with 1:26 left in the third quarter, but Ventura was able to put together a quick drive to start the fourth quarter, and pulled within seven again after a 36-yard field goal.
On Canyons’ next possession Bowen added his fourth score - a three-yard carry - to give the Cougar’s a 14-point cushion, with 12:19 left in the game.
The fourth quarter was all COC as the defense locked down the Pirates. Ventura was held to a punt, a turnover on downs and an interception to end the game.
Bowen ended his record-setting night with a final four-yard touchdown run with just under two minutes to go.
In total, Canyons amassed 412 yards of total offense, compared to just 291 yards for Ventura. The COC defense held VC to just 62 rushing yards.
After its bye week, College of the Canyons will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 2 as they host Moorpark College during the college’s homecoming celebration.
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