Two-Way Fajardo Helps PCC Football End 6-Game Losing Streak

Lancer Forest Fajardo breaks up a pass during the team's 42-24 win at LA Harbor College Saturday evening, photo by Richard Quinton.
Lancer Forest Fajardo breaks up a pass during the team's 42-24 win at LA Harbor College Saturday evening, photo by Richard Quinton.

Forest Fajardo went old-school Saturday night for the Pasadena City College football team. It was the return of ironman football as Fajardo, the team's leading receiver, played both sides of the ball in the Lancers SCFA American Pacific League contest at LA Harbor College.

The sophomore ended up playing multiple series as a receiver on offense and as a cornerback on defense. By game's end he led the Lancers in solo tackles with four, broke up two passes and made four receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown as PCC stopped a 6-game losing streak in defeating the Seahawks, 42-24. 

PCC jumped out to a commanding 35-7 halftime lead and cruised to the team's first league win as the team improved to 3-6 and 1-3 in the APL.

The Lancers used a number of big plays to produce several scores. PCC took a 7-0 first-quarter lead when quarterback Isaia Ah-Hing found a wide open David Telles for a 54-yard touchdown pass. After running back Salman Gurung scored on a 3-yard TD run on the first play of the second quarter to make it 14-0, it was running back Darnell Williams' turn to star as he broke through the line and galloped 64 yards for the team's longest offensive play of the season and a TD. Kicker Fernando Murillo, who was a perfect 6-for-6 on extra points, booted the point after for a 21-0 lead.

Leading 28-7 with 1:17 left before halftime, Ah-Hing rifled a 28-yard scoring throw to Fajardo, who made an outstretched two-hand grab on his way into the end zone. It was his team-leading eighth touchdown, all on receptions. On the ensuing series, linebacker David Vardanian got to Harbor quarterback Paxton Stevens for a sack. Stevens lost the ball and lineman Hector Palacios scooped it up and ran 30 yards for a fumble return TD that capped the team's high-scoring first half.

The Lancers strong rushing attack continued v. Harbor as Williams gained 91 yards in 12 carries and Gurung added 37 yards in nine attempts, adding his second TD of the game late in the third quarter. Sultaan Sullivan contributed 11 carries for 51 yards before an injury ended his night. 

Telles totaled 131 yards in all-purpose yardage. PCC's defense had four takeways, including recovering three fumbles and an interception in the end zone that stopped a potential Harbor scoring drive by Jeremiah Lugo. Vardanian had two forced fumbles, a recovered fumble, a sack and tied Fajardo for the team leadi in overall tackles with five. Vardanian also played two ways, subbing on some offensive plays as a fullback. He had two short carries. Yet another player who played both ways was receiver/defensive back Drew Pendleton, who made four tackles and added two short receptions for six yards. Telles moved to defensive back on Harbor's final offensive drive.

Ah-Hing, who has had an interesting sophomore season as he served as the team's long snapper, had his best game of 2018. In just one half of work, he completed 11 of 16 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. 

Next Saturday, Nov. 10, the Lancers conclude the 2018 season with a league contest at Santa Barbara City College. Kickoff is 1 p.m.

PCC GRIDIRON NOTES: Pasadena is 17th in the state and ninth in the SCFA in rushing yards average at 190.3 yards per game...The team again established ball control at 36 minutes of possession. PCC is second in the state in time of possession (34:39 average), just behind Butte in the North region...The team is 13th in the state in first downs and fifth in moving the chains via the rush (104)...PCC is 2-2 on the road this season with one more game remaining, but were just 1-4 at Robinson Stadium...LA Harbor was charged with 207 yards on 23 penalties while PCC 117 on 12 flags...Lugo's end zone pickoff was only the third by the secondary all season, but Fajardo nearly had a pick six along the sideline on a third-quarter Seahawks pass. The usually sure-handed letterman bobbled the ball at the Harbor 25 as it fell to the turf...Twelve of the 25 tackles made by Palacios this season has been behind the line of scrimmage (56 yards lost). He added his team-leading sixth sack v. Harbor.