Football Nearly Upsets Hancock, Loses In OT, 27-21

Lancer Forest Fajardo hauls in a 33-yard TD pass that gave PCC a lead in its 27-21 OT loss v. Allan Hancock on Saturday, photo by Richard Quinton.
Lancer Forest Fajardo hauls in a 33-yard TD pass that gave PCC a lead in its 27-21 OT loss v. Allan Hancock on Saturday, photo by Richard Quinton.

The Pasadena City College football team led practically everything Saturday in its Homecoming game and SCFA American Pacific League opener against Allan Hancock. The Lancers held a commanding 14-0 lead at halftime and were up 21-14 late in the fourth quarter. PCC, the state leader in ball control offense, controlled the ball for nearly 3/4th of regulation time, surprisingly outgained the Bulldogs' state-leading rushing attack, 209-189 in yards, led in first downs, 25-15, and total offense, 396-323.

But when it was over, the Lancers couldn't lead in the category that mattered most--the scoreboard. Allan Hancock rallied for a late touchdown to tie it, then used a 23-yard touchdown run by Justin Vargas to defeat PCC in overtime, 27-21. Hancock (5-1 overall) handed the tough-luck Lancers (2-4) their fourth straight loss.

Hancock nearly won on the last play of regulation, but kicker Hector Gil-Garcia missed wide left on a 42-yard field goal attempt. PCC had the opening possession in OT. After being sacked for an 8-yard loss, Lancers quarterback Mario Bobadilla connected with Forest Fajardo for a fourth down, 17-yard completion, but the pass was a few yards short of the first down at the Hancock 17. 

The Bulldogs took over possession at the PCC 25. Facing a third down-and-8, Vargas picked the right time for the team's longest run of the game, sprinting in from 23 yards out for the winning score.

Bobadilla and running back Sultaan Sullivan led a balanced Lancers offensive attack. Sullivan ran for a team season-high 26 carries for 144 yards (150 yards is his college high), including a long of 48 yards in the second quarter. Bobadilla completed 15 of 26 passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns. The pair helped march the Lancers on two long scoring drives in the first and second quarters.

On the game's opening series, the team marched 81 yards in 13 plays. Bobadilla fired passes of 15 yards to Fajardo and 16 yards to Sullivan while also picking up 17 yards in two carries. After a 10-yard carry by running back Darnell Williams, Bobadilla completed the drive with a 5-yard TD throw to receiver Bryan Torres

After PCC stopped Hancock on its first offensive, the Lancers seemed in trouble when the Bulldogs' Cale England pinned them at their own 1-yard line on a 48-yard punt. Instead, PCC marched 99 yards on another 13-play series. Bobadilla darted 12 yards for a first down and Sullivan bolted for carries of 10 and 20 yards. Just 11 seconds into the second quarter, the Lancers then made it 14-0 when Bobadilla found receiver Drew Pendleton for a 24-yard TD pass. Fernando Murillo kicked the second of his three extra points. 

Early in the third quarter, Hancock started its comeback when Jaquez McWilliams blocked Jonathan Borashan's punt and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown. The Bulldogs special teams came through again later in the period on another blocked punt, this time by Seth Mathysse. That punt block gave Hancock the ball on the PCC 10. Vargas ran in for a 5-yard TD score that tied the game at 14-14.

Pasadena rebounded and took a 21-14 lead just 3:10 into the fourth quarter. Bobadilla launched a 33-yard TD pass to Fajardo to the joy of the Robinson Stadium crowd. But again punting woes for PCC occurred when Bobadilla tried a quick punt that traveled only six yards, allowing Hancock strong field position at the Lancers' 40. With 3:10 remaining in regulation, Bulldogs' quarterback Thomas Carr completed a 9-yard scoring pass to Isaac Bausley. Gil-Garcia's extra point tied it at 21-21.

The Lancers defense was led by lineman David Vardanian with 10 tackles (seven solos). In the first half, Jamal Tims prevented a touchdown, stripping the ball from the state's second leading rusher Ryheem Skinner at the 1 with teammate Steven Isip recovering the fumble in the end zone. Defensive back Jeremiah Lugo added eight tackles and both linebackers Jason Villa (all solos) and Kobe Quiroga had six each. 

Next Saturday, Oct. 20, PCC plays a league contest at Pierce College. Kickoff is 6 p.m.

PCC GRIDIRON NOTES: PCC is 2-5 in overtime games going back to the first year of OT in 1997. It was the first OT game since 2014 for the Lancers, a 23-17 loss at Moorpark. The last OT game at Robinson Stadium was in 2009, also a Homecoming Game where the Lancers lost to College of the Canyons, 29-22. PCC's last win in extra time was in 2004, 38-31, at El Camino...Wide receiver David Telles led receivers with six receptions for 38 yards. Fajardo had three catches for 65 yards...PCC limited Skinner to just 46 yards in 12 carries after the back was averaging 120 yards per game...Allan Hancock joined the Pacific League last season and went 5-0 to win the title and is now 6-0 in its short time in the conference...PCC is averaging a state best 37 minutes a game on offense and has won the time of possession category v. all six of its opponents this season...The Lancers rushing game is averaging 173 yards, which is 21st in the state and a very strong No. 10 in the SCFA...Sullivan has a shot to rush for 1,000 yards this season, now at 488 through six games...Besides the two blocked punts and one short quick kick shank, PCC faked a late second quarter field goal attempt and it turned into an 18-yard loss as holder Borashan was caught rolling out...Murillo, a left-footed freshman from Arcadia High, was 3-for-3 on conversions and booted them in place of regular kicker Cesar Ruiz, who is a perfect 14-for-14 on kicks this season. Ruiz handled the kickoff duties as he has had all season.