Although a 12-1 record indicates College of the Canyons just completed another very successful football season, most of the Cougars’ success took place during the offseason. COC, coach Chuck Lyon says, not only had talent, but also character, and that – along with a reliance on local recruits – led to 26 consecutive wins before falling to Grossmont 24-19 in the Dec. 3 Southern California championship game. “Playing with as many local guys as we did,” Lyon said, “that had a lot to do with it. We basically had the Foothill League and Notre Dame High (of Sherman Oaks). The others were ‘character’ kids.” The Cougars drew from Birmingham of Lake Balboa, Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks, L.A. Baptist of North Hills, Alemany of Mission Hills, El Camino Real and Taft of Woodland Hills, Royal and Grace Brethren of Simi Valley, Granada Hills, Crespi of Encino, Paraclete of Lancaster, Crescenta Valley of La Crescenta, Palmdale, Highland of Palmdale, Agoura and the Foothill League (Hart, Canyon, Saugus, Valencia, Burbank and Burroughs of Burbank). AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake “This has been a great year,” Lyon said. “Best group of people I’ve had in 30 years of coaching. Great kids, great ‘character’ kids and fun to be around.” Grossmont, from El Cajon, went on to beat City College of San Francisco in the state title game. Safety net: Of a school-record five football All-Americans, three were safeties: Justin Tryon (Taft), Ja’Vonte Holmes (Palmdale) and Michael Carr. There’s more talent in the Cougars’ defensive backfield. Brian Walker, from Hackensack, N.J., committed to Washington State. He had three interceptions, seven pass breakups and one fumble recovery. Troy Nolan (El Camino Real), who finished the season with 55 tackles, one fumble recovery and four interceptions, is being recruited by several schools. Cougars and Bengals: Former COC linebacker Jonathan Fanene, currently with the Cincinnati Bengals, saw playing time last weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 6-foot-3, 290-pound Fanene, a seventh-round pick out of Utah, dropped running back Willie Park for a 4-yard loss in the second quarter. Cougars and Panthers: University of Pittsburgh kicker Josh Cummings, a former Cougar from Hart High, was a second-team All-Big East selection. It was the second time he’s been chosen for the all-conference team. Cummings led the conference in field goals per game (1.56), field-goal percentage (73.7, 14 of 19) and PAT percentage (100 percent, 19 of 19). Cummings kicked 15 points in a game in 2003, tying Jason Tompkins for the COC record, and kicked four field goals in a game, another COC record. Nate Brown, (818) 713-3607 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!