For the opening 34 minutes Saturday night, the SCFA American Division's Pasadena City College football team more than held its own against National Division host Saddleback College. The Lancers briefly took a 14-10 lead in the first half and trailed just 23-21 less than five minutes into the second half.
But the Gauchos kicked into second gear with their speed-laden defense to turn a close game into a resounding 50-21 triumph, sending PCC (2-1) to its first loss of the 2018 season at Mission Viejo High School. A hungry Saddleback squad left the world of the winless, now at 1-2.
PCC played extremely well in the first half, tying the game at 7-7 on a Mario Bobadilla 2-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown with 9:46 left in the second quarter. The Lancers surprised Saddleback by going for it on fourth down. Earlier in the series, Bobadilla connected with wide receiver Drew Pendleton for a 21-yard catch also in a fourth down (and one) situation from the Gauchos' 30.
Saddleback led 10-7 when Bobadilla marched the Lancers 65 yards in 11 plays, completing passes of 12 and 29 yards to receiver Jordan Palmer. Darnell Williams ran in a 1-yard TD score and coupled with Cesar Ruiz's extra point, PCC led 14-10 with 5:29 to go in the first half.
Early in the third quarter down 23-14, Bobadilla bombed a 59-yard pass to receiver David Telles, who fought through a Saddleback defender to race an extra 20 yards to the Gauchos' 18. Bobadilla followed with runs of 6 and 10 yards, then rifled a 2-yard TD pass to receiver Forest Fajardo that cut the lead to two, 23-21. At that point, PCC's offense stalled as if it had a dead battery.
Pasadena's final six series were all three downs and outs in nightmare fashion. The PCC possessions went as follows:. minus-6 yards including a sack; 2. minus-7 yards, a 5-yard penalty, a near safety where Bobadilla just got off a shovel pass attempt in time while being brought down in the end zone, then a short punt setting up a Saddleback TD; 3. 4 yards, then a 15-yard penalty and a partially blocked 11-yard punt that set up a Gauchos TD; 4. 2 yards, then a 27-yard bad punt snap that set up a Saddleback field goal; 5. minus-3 yards; 6. minus-18 yards including a 13-yard bad shot gun snap over QB head.
While Saddleback scored 27 unanswered points, including a 52-yard TD punt return by Innocenzi Rome and a 50-yard scoring jaunt by Jonathan Jefferson, over the last 22 minutes, PCC never got a first down.
Defensively, the Lancers did their best work on the first drive of the game when lineman Hector Palacios made back-to-back sacks.
Bobadilla completed 11 of 19 passes for 154 yards while Telles totaled 128 all-purpose yards (69 on returns). Pendleton had five catches for 31 yards. PCC's running game netted minus-1 yard in 45 plays with Drake Beasley's 28 yards in nine carries leading the team. Bobadilla gained the most yards (40), but netted 13 due to being sacked five times.
The Lancers, a member of the American Pacific League, could encounter more offensive issues next Saturday, Sept. 22 when they face American Metro opponent Chaffey, a team that shocked state No. 7-ranked and National Division power Mt. San Antonio, 13-0, on Saturday. Kickoff is 6 p.m. at Robinson Stadium.
PCC GRIDIRON NOTES: The game featured no turnovers...PCC offensive lineman Juan Perez, a 6-foot-1, 345-pounder, twice showed his talent with the ball. He caught a deflected pass off a PCC receiver and turned it into a 9-yard, first-down reception in the first quarter. When Bobadilla averted a safety, it was Perez who picked up the loose ball and ran it some 15 yards before being tackled and before the refs sorted out the results of the wild play (see game story photo)...PCC has the most wins of any Pacific team with two, but both LA Harbor and Allan Hancock have played only two games each and both are 1-1.