After a round of losses by Pasadena City College’s Lancers, the visiting team kicked off their SCFA American Pacific League opener with defeat by Allan Hancock’s Bulldogs in Santa Maria on Saturday afternoon.
The Lancers were as close as 21-14 against the Bulldogs during the first half of the game but were unable to keep up against their top ranking opponent. The game was lost 45-14 after the Bulldogs used a ball-control play to run down the clock.
“It’s very disappointing, obviously, because our kids worked so hard to get to this point of the season,” said PCC head coach Steven Mojarro. “But you know, you have to give credit to Allan Hancock; they’re one of the better teams.”
The Bulldogs are three-time defending conference champions and currently hold a three-game streak overall against the Lancers.
Allan Hancock’s running back Eddie Battle blasted the opening kickoff 86 yards, scoring a touchdown. The Lancers’ rough start of 3-0 was followed by a 10-yard scoring run by Bulldogs’ running back Maurice Smith.
The 14-0 lead, 12 minutes into the game, left the Lancers with a lot of ground to make up. After a 67-yard dash in the first quarter, PCC’s quarterback Edward Norton successfully passed the ball to wide receiver David Telles for their first touchdown, which was a two-yard pass that brought the score to 14-7.
Overall, the Lancers had more possession of the ball by a margin of 10 minutes. The defense worked hard to get their footing with linebacker Mark Navarro pulling off 13 tackles against the Bulldogs. Navarro credited his defense strategy to his study of Allan Hancock’s past games.
“We were fighting very hard, you know, battle for battle,” said Navarro. “Pretty much I knew it was just going to be a running game because all [the Bulldogs] do is run.”
While the Lancers’ defense worked hard, it wasn’t able to keep pace with the opposing team’s offensive strategy. Norton set up a play that ended in the red zone during the second quarter, and their faked 21-yard field goal attempt by placekicker Bracamonte Bucio, resulted in a fumble. The ball was then picked up by the Bulldogs who darted 95-yards for another touchdown that brought the game to 21-7.
The Bulldogs went on to score an additional 10 points before halftime, surpassing the Lancers’ seven. Norton, who was injured during a play before the third quarter, was disappointed with the team’s performance and the choices he made during the game.
“We had a lot of special team mistakes,” said Norton. “But it’s just human error so it happens. I should’ve made better reads on who to pass to.”
While PCC still has tough teams to face, the Lancers hope to have a stronger performance for the remainder of their conference games. They may get some good luck for their next game at home against LA Pierce’s Brahmas this Saturday at 6 p.m.