COD Football upset bid falls short against the Owls, 35-31

COD Football upset bid falls short against the Owls, 35-31

COD (1-4; 0-1) put together a complete game effort on all sides of the ball, offensively, defensively and with special teams as they had a narrow lead late, but a score with a minute left in the game proved to be the difference as the Citrus Owls of Glendora (6-0; 1-0) escaped the Desert, 35-31.

A strong defensive performance by the Roadrunners kept the game close throughout, in a contest where neither team wanted to relent. The Desert front seven held the Owls to seven total rushing yards, but the defense surrendered 338 yards through the air.

The most concerning was the injury to freshman quarterback Alejandro Verdugo (Tucson (AZ) Andrada Polytechnic) who stood in the pocket just long enough to get the first score of the game to sophomore wide receiver Franklin Miller (Palm Springs H.S.) for a 30 yard touchdown, but paid the price on an unimpeded Citrus defensive end who made a clean, but hard hit, on Verdugo. Verdugo would be carted off the field in an ambulance, leaving a cloud hanging over the game and providing a boost of motivation for a home team that was in desperate need for a victory.

On their next possession, Citrus would score, but fail on the extra point attempt, as Desert held the lead, 7-6 at the close of the first quarter.

The Owls would add to their total, with a 5 play 63 yard drive, culminating in a one yard rush and a pass for a two-point conversion, giving the visitors a 14-7 lead to open the second quarter.

Citrus would score again on their next possession, going 55 yards in six plays and taking a 21-7 lead, but the home side was not deterred.

The Roadrunners took their next possession and after having a 29 yard run by sophomore running back Bronton Woodard, Jr. (Goldsboro (NC) Rosewood) called back for a holding penalty, Desert went back to the air and sophomore quarterback Armando Deniz (Thermal Coachella Valley) connected with freshman wide receiver  De'jion Martin (Gaithersburg (MD) Watkins Mill) for a 45 yard pass play. Moments later, freshman linebacker Isaiah Sierra (Tucson (AZ) Empire) decided to play running back and leapt into the goal line pile to score for Desert. After an extra point by sophomore kicker Diego Martinez (Thermal Desert Mirage), Desert was able to get back to within seven, 21-14.

Just before halftime, the Roadrunners would tie the game, as Deniz would connect with Miller for a 27 yard gain and two plays later, Deniz would find Woodard for an eight yard scamper and score, tying the game a 21-21 going into the break.

To open up the second half, the Owls used a 12 play, 45 yard drive that chewed up over eight minutes of game clock to take a seven point lead, 28-21. A drive almost disrupted by the hard work of sophomore corner Jerry Kinney (Oak Park, MI) who had a pick in the end zone, ran 50 yards to mid field, only to have it all called back due to a Desert false start.

The Roadrunners would get a break roll their way, as on their very next possession, Desert had to punt and the Citrus returner fumbled the ball, it was recovered by Roadrunners freshman linebacker Dylan Behymer (Buckeye (AZ) Paradise Honors) and five plays later Martinez nails a 30 yard field goal to get the home side to within four points, 28-24.

As the third quarter was coming to a close, Miller would take a punt return 67 yards for a score and Desert regained the lead for the first time since the first quarter, 31-28.

The fourth quarter became a struggle for both teams, as Desert was trying to hold a lead and the Owls were trying to keep the home team from adding on.

The next game for Desert is Homecoming on October 26 against the Antelope Valley Marauders of Lancaster at 6p. The Roadrunners will be honoring the 40th anniversary of the team which won the 1979 Desert Conference Championship. College of the Desert has played the Marauders since the first full season of football in Palm Desert, 1963 and has accumulated an 18-19-2 overall record against Antelope Valley, including an 8-7-2 record in The Coachella Valley.

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For additional information, please contact the COD Sports Information Office at 760.423.6641.

Information & Story provided by COD Sports Information. Photo by Letícia Gonzalez dos Santos (@lelealohasports on Instagram)