COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College football team hung tough with College of the Canyons for the first half before a rough second half did the hosts in during Saturday night's 30-14 loss to the visiting Cougars at Dick Tucker Field.
Big plays on offense for the Cougars (2-0) were too much to overcome for the Pirates (0-2) as they allowed 651 yards of total offense.
OCC quarterback Pete Mitchell was 15-of-21 for 194 yards and wide receiver James Rutledge had a solid night, catching 10 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown. Running back Nick Jackson managed 62 rushing yards on 12 carries despite a stop-the-rush-first mentality on the COC defense.
For the Cougars, starting quarterback Andrew Brito was 7-of-11 for 196 yards before leaving late in the first half on a big hit by Kapono Laguisan (seven tackles, one QB hurry). Brito's backup, Darryn Blackshere was 9-of-20 for 128 yards.
Keland White rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, while the duo of Darryn Blackshere and Jalen Logan combined for 157 yards on 22 carries.
The Pirates came out red-hot on the opening drive as Mitchell (3-for-3 passing, all to Rutledge) and Jackson (43 yards on two carries) darted down the field with ease, capping off a six-play, 75-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run by the OCC quarterback, putting Coast ahead, 7-0.
Canyons tied the game up at 7 two drives later, after a pair of 42-yard connections by Brito were followed with a 2-yard TD run by KJ Latu with 2:51 left in the first quarter.
After an OCC punt, Brito again hooked up on a 42-yard strike, putting COC on the Coast's 1-yard line, where White would plow in one play later, putting the Cougars up 14-7.
Mitchell again used an impressive drive with 40 yards of passing and 24 rushing to push the Pirates to the Canyons' 8-yard line. Reserve quarterback Nathan West (in due to Mitchell having his helmet taken off on the previous play) came in and found Rutledge on an 8-yard TD strike, tying the game at 14 after a Corey Lewis PAT.
Two plays into the second quarter, a 33-yard field goal by Christan Pryor put Canyons ahead, 17-14, and in spite of giving up over 300 yards of first-half offense, OCC stayed just three points behind heading into halftime.
Canyons, hamstrung with 130 yards in penalties, used a pair of third-quarter touchdowns to pull away from Coast in the second half.
OCC found some offensive success, but three second-half turnovers (four overall) stymied any further chances of creeping back into the contest.
Coast will return to action on Saturday at Ventura College, beginning at 6 p.m. OCC's next home game will take place on Saturday, Sept. 23 against Santa Monica, also at 6 p.m.