Facing a state top 20-ranked team for the third straight week, the Pasadena City College football team found its defense again and pushed host and #19-rated San Bernardino Valley to the very end of a 20-14 SCFA non-league loss Saturday night.
The Lancers (2-3 overall) held a surprising 7-6 lead by halftime but the Wolverines (4-1) responded in the third quarter with a pair of touchdown strikes by state-passing leader Jeremy Moussa to take a 20-7 lead.
With seven minutes left, PCC faced a 4th-down-and-2 at its own 44-yard line. Jonathan Borashan, who punted 10 times in the game, fooled everyone as he lofted a trick play pass of two yards and a first down to Gary Chew. On the very next play, wide receiver Daniel Centeno took an end around handoff and cut toward the sideline as he raced 54 yards for a touchdown. Bracomonte Bucio's second extra point kick sliced the deficit to six with 6:39 remaining.
After a failed onside kickoff, SBVC nearly scored on a bomb by Moussa but safety Andy Reyes made a TD-saving breakup in the end zone. With 2:19 left and SBVC at the PCC 27, the Wolverines were content with running out the clock. However, on the very first play of the series, safety Shane Andrews punched the ball out of the hands of San Bernardino running back Darrell Turner Jr. The ball flew some 20 feet in the air before Reyes leaped up to grab the fumble and gave PCC new life.
Starting from the Lancers 17, PCC starting quarterback Edward Norton took off on a 28-yard run to midfield. On 4th-and-3, second QB Kade Wentz, who came in after Norton had to leave with an injury, promptly hit David Telles for an 8-yard pass and a first down to the SBVC 35. Wentz then took off for an 18-yard run, followed by another first down strike of 10 yards to Dyllan Wright that put PCC at the SBVC 7.
After Wentz was sacked on the next play, the signal caller spiked the next pass to set up one last play with three seconds left. In a bit of a controversial finish, Wentz fired a pass to the end zone that Wolverines' DB Claude Dent intercepted in front of PCC wide receiver Ahmad Lipscomb. As the pair rolled Lipscomb came up with the ball from Dent but the referees ruled that Dent had the initial possession for the game-ending interception.
Despite the team's third straight loss, Pasadena's defense impressed by limiting the state's leading offense to 20 points after the Wolverines were averaging more than 50 points a game. Moussa completed just 17 of 35 passes for 262 yards after averaging better than 400 yards per game and 21 TD passes in the first four games.
Leading the D was cornerback Jeremiah Hartfield, who made two interceptions and broke up two other Moussa attempts. Reyes finished with a team-high 10 tackles (seven solos), the fumble recovery and two pass breakups to go with 60 yards in punt/kick returns.
Andrews as well as linebackers Drew Pendleton, and Lucio Rodriguez each made seven tackles. Pendleton, Rodriguez, outside linebacker Hector Palacios and lineman Robbie Kindle all had sacks as Pasadena's pass rush and strong secondary coverage forced SBVC to go to more of a ground game by the fourth quarter. Safety Darren Meyers added two quarterback hurries and DT Omar Delgado had four tackles, two behind the line of scrimmage. Cornerback Amir Davis also played well with strong coverage of SBVC receivers. Palacios is tied for third in the state in sacks with 7.5.
On the team's first offensive series, PCC took a 7-0 lead with 8:22 left in the first quarter when Norton darted to the sideline before stepping in for a 5-yard touchdown run. The score capped an 8-play, 66-yard drive that included a 23-yard carry by Norton and a 10-yard carry by running back Darnell Williams. Norton also had passes of five and 12 yards to Telles.
Borashan averaged 35 yards a punt in a career-high 10 kicks, including a long of 48 yards. Telles had a game-high six receptions for 41 yards. Centeno led the ground game with 70 yards (two reverse runs). PCC's rushers finished with 170 yards in 38 carries for a respectable 4.5 yards per attempt. Norton ran for 62 yards in 10 carries (three sacks gave him 35 net).
The Lancers continue to be a good time possession team as they are No. 5 in the state with nearly 34 minutes a game controlling the ball on offense. The team's defense is tied for fourth in the state in QB sacks with 20, only one behind the leaders.
PCC takes its bye week next Saturday and returns to start SCFA American Division Pacific League play on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Allan Hancock College. The league opener figures to be a matchup of the two top teams in the 6-team APL. Hancock is 2-2. The teams played to overtime last year won by the Bulldogs, 27-21.