The Lancers looked poised to earn their first win on Saturday night, leading 17-0 for most of the first half, but an Orange Coast College Pirates interception late in the fourth quarter was the difference in the game. The final score was 27-23.
“We looked very strong in the first three quarters,” head coach Fred Fimbres said. “There are a lot of positives that we can take from Saturday’s game, but we are not happy that we didn’t win the game.”
The fatal interception came when Lancers quarterback Darrian Cazarin was hit in the pocket as he was throwing the ball, which was intercepted by a Pirates lineman who returned the pick 42 yards, leading to a 2-yard touchdown run.
“We had just stopped them on a fourth down,” Defensive Coordinator Carl Lopez said. “We had the momentum, but one of them blitzed and one of their guys happened to get past the front line and hit [Cazarin.] It was unfortunate timing, and we ended up having to try to play against the clock.”
PCC started out in a groove, marching 71 yards down the field in the first quarter with a series of plays that took more than eight minutes off the clock and led to a touchdown pass from Cazarin to Jake Holguin. A field goal and a quarterback run from Cazarin gave the Lancers a 17-0 lead until late in the second quarter.
Building on its outstanding play from the first game, PCC’s defense held OCC to 13 rushing yards in 30 attempts, while lineman Dalyou Pierson led the team with seven tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a sack.
“In order to be a competitive, championship-level defense, you have to be able to stop the run,” Fimbres said. “[Pierson] is a leader of our team. He does a great job on defense and we expect him to improve and continue to do better.”
The Lancers will hope to grab their first win at El Camino College.
“We just need to execute a little better on our game plan,” Fimbres said. “We are going down the right road. We just need to clean some things up and get better.”