Cougars’ errant long snaps aid Griffins’ 36-18 football victory

William Dudley

William Dudley

SANTA CLARITA — The Grossmont College Griffins combined six fumble recoveries, excellent team defense, steady leadership  from QB Ryan Woods, and encouraging signs of life from its running game to craft a convincing 36-18 victory over the College of the Canyon Cougars in Saturday evening’s road game in Santa Clarita.

I should also mention Grossmont’s long snapper, whoever he may be (Matthew Poulin, a freshman from St. Augustine in San Diego, is listed as such in the Grossmont roster), even though neither his name nor his snaps were mentioned by the game‘s radio announcers while I monitored the game from my home in San Diego County.

The long snapper — the person who throws the football between his legs to a target yards behind him for punts and field goal kicks and such — generally prefers anonymity because he has one of those jobs that is only noticed when something goes wrong.

Grossmont’s snapper achieved this desired anonymity, as the only time the announcers mentioned long snaps (which they did often) was when the Cougars were doing the snapping. They snapped high, they snapped low, they bounced snaps to the quarterback in shotgun position (several yards behind center). One snap hit a Cougar receiver running in motion; another snap sailed yards above a punter‘s head and into the end zone for a Grossmont safety.

The snapping snafus were one part of what the radio announcers called the extraordinary hospitality of the hosting Cougars.  Going into the game with a 3-1 record and a No. 6 Southern California ranking (one spot above Grossmont), the Cougars gave up seven turnovers, including six lost fumbles, and incurred several poorly-timed penalties that choked off whatever momentum they had been able to generate.

The Grossmont defense did have something to do with this. Cougar running back Emanuel Osuchukwu had come into Saturday’s game averaging an incredible 12 yards per carry. Grossmont held him to 3 yards per carry. Cougar receiver Chris Rivas had been averaging more than one hundred reception yards per game. Grossmont held Rivas to two catches for 27 yards. Led by linebacker Pat Kelly, Grossmont’s defense put constant pressure on the three Cougar quarterbacks who played. The most effective of the three was third-stringer Justin Morales, a product of Carlsbad High School.  The three quarterbacks combined for 130 passing yards.

Quarterback Ryan Woods outdid the Cougar trio with 212 yards passing, including two touchdowns to Alex Mcleland. It could have been more if not for some uncharacteristic dropped balls by Grossmont receivers.

Perhaps even more encouraging to Grossmont fans was that many of their highlights were…running plays. Davis Fluker had almost 100 yards rushing, including a 50-yard touchdown play. Darrin Alex averaged 5.4 yards per carry, including a nifty 37-yard touchdown run.

All in all, a satisfying win for the Griffins.

Dudley is a student in MComm 132.