Football Defense Has Ups And Downs In 52-17 Opening Loss To LBCC

Freshman safety Andy Reyes makes the open field tackle during PCC's season-opening loss Saturday night v. Long Beach City College, photo by Richard Quinton.
Freshman safety Andy Reyes makes the open field tackle during PCC's season-opening loss Saturday night v. Long Beach City College, photo by Richard Quinton.

The Pasadena City College football team's defense forced six turnovers against pre-season state No. 7-ranked Long Beach City College. But the Vikings never let up on offense and dominated the final three quarters in a season-opening, 52-17 SCFA non-conference victory at Robinson Stadium Saturday night.

It was PCC's defense that shook off a 10-0 deficit to help the Lancers rally for 10 points to tie it in the final minute of the first quarter. David Vardanian forced a fumble recovered by Matt Terlizzi at the LBCC 31. After a personal foul penalty, quarterback Ian Brian connected with running back Amad Andrews for a 16-yard touchdown pass. On the next series, lineman Matthew Perez recovered a fumble at the Long Beach 21. Enrique Lozano booted a 34-yard field goal that gave PCC 10 points in a span of 32 seconds and a tie game at 10-10.

Over the final three quarters, Long Beach's speed and a collection of offensive mistakes and suspect coverage on special teams allowed LBCC to pull away. In the second quarter, a lost PCC fumble led to a 28-yard TD pass from quarterback Grant Lowary to Jabari Minix that gave the Vikings the lead for good at 17-10 with 5:55 left before halftime. Three minutes later, Lowary connected with Mike Wilson for a 30-yard TD throw and a 24-10 halftime advantage.

Big plays haunted Pasadena in the second half, including a 73-yard TD as receiver Shaun Colamonico took a short pass from Lowary and found an opening to sprint for six, and then a 92-yard punt return for a touchdown by Cedric Byrd that began the fourth quarter. 

In the third quarter, PCC's final score was the result of a 7-play, 95-yard drive engineered by quarterback Ian Brian. The freshman came off the bench in the second quarter for starter Adam Besana and completed 6 of 7 throws in the series, including a 55-yard bomb to receiver Kyle Torres. Brian capped it with a 17-yard TD dart to receiver Forest Fajardo. Lozano's second extra point cut it to 31-17 with 4:07 left in the period. 

Overall, Brian completed 17 of 31 passes for 223 yards and two TDs. The Lancers totaled 400 yards in offense with sound rushing performances by returning backs James Shaw (13 carries, 74 yards) and Andrews (12 attempts for 52 yards). Fajardo led the receivers with nine catches for 85 yards while Torres totaled 162 all-purpose yards on three receptions for 73 and three kick returns for 89. 

Lozano continues to be one of the team's best players as the sophomore averaged 39.7 yards in nine punts, launching six inside the 20 yard line. He added two touchbacks on kick returns and scored five points. Yusef Muhammad, a returning All-SCFA First Team returner, returned a kickoff 70 yards for PCC's longest play of the game.

Defensively, the secondary collected four interceptions by Jshoun Wolfe, Ty Apana-Purcell, Josiah Purchase, and a 30-yard pick and return by Andy Reyes. However, the team allowed 416 yards passing by Lowary and 555 total yards overall (plus 248 yards on special teams returns). PCC's offense lost five turnovers, three on interceptions. 

The Lancers will go on the road next week to face San Bernardino Valley in a 6 p.m. SCFA non-conference game kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 9.