The Pasadena City College football team had hopes of a winning season in 2016 after dropping to the lower American Division of the SCFA. Playing in the American Metro League, the Lancers were supposed to be a favorite. Instead, PCC dropped four of its last five league games and finished on a sour note with a 4-6 record.
The Lancers lost for the first time at Robinson Stadium this year in a 43-21, season-ending defeat against Santa Ana on Saturday. Despite the defeat, PCC did win four games for the first time since the 2010 season. The program saw some pluses with the return of Tom Maher as head coach. Maher won the program's last conference title in 2001 (Mission Conference crown) and led his teams to bowl games in '01 and 2002.
PCC ran into a hot team in the finale as Santa Ana (5-5, 5-1) won its fifth in a row and placed second behind league champion East Los Angeles.
Against the Dons, the Lancers were hurt by two second-quarter interceptions, including a 71-yard return for a touchdown by Lautoa Nomura. That was followed by a pickoff into PCC territory that led to a second TD, a 40-yard run by Deven Boston that gave Santa Ana a 17-0 lead.
PCC sophomore quarterback Jett Even came off the bench to spark PCC in a mini comeback. He led the Lancers to trail just 24-14 on touchdown throws of 13 yards to Rasheem Whitfield right before halftime and a 10-yard strike to Brayon Williams in the third quarter. Even completed 14 of 22 passes for 156 yards and he gained 114 yards in nine carries but netted 71 due to being sacked seven times.
Running back James Shaw ran for a team-high 78 yards in 15 attempts, including a 3-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. Even completed a 16-yard throw to Shaw on a fourth down play that extended the series.
PCC's defense had problems stopping big plays, including long TD passes of 64 and 71 yards thrown by Santa Ana quarterback Conner Miller.
Individually on defense, Lancers linebacker Jasper Chavez made a team-high 10 tackles.
The team's MVP arguably this year was kicker-punter Enrique Lozano, who was outstanding again v. Santa Ana. He was 3-for-3 on extra points, booted two touchbacks on three kickoffs, and had his best punting game of the year. He punted five times for a 46.4 yards average, one a season long of 59 yards.
[Photo--Quarterback Jett Even rallied PCC off the bench in a loss v. Santa Ana at Robinson Stadium, image by Richard Quinton.]