Prior to the snap, wide receiver Jeremiah Hartfield motioned from right to left of the formation, nearly running perpendicular behind quarterback Edward Norton who hiked the football and faked the first of two read options to running back Miles Anderson before sprinting to his left. The true conspiracy happened when the only defender in good position was beguiled into tackling Hartfield, the man without the ball.
The remaining receivers set up perimeter blocks, and as the last trailing defender fell to the turf, Norton decelerated into a trot by the time he reached the end zone for the 53-yard touchdown run. The Lancers went up 35-0 in the third quarter and went on to defeat the Compton TarTars 38-12.
On another occasion Norton lined up in the receiver position. This time, wide receiver Ivan Ostry took the direct snap, faked the hand-off to Hartfield and ping-ponged his way down field, running into five defenders along the way before being pulled by the leg and swung to the turf. The Lancers ran the football 17 times and threw the football twice.
“Regardless if it’s homecoming or not, but we have to have an edge to us when we’re playing at home,” head coach Robert Tucker said. “I think that’s true in all sports, but definitely here for us at PCC. We have an unbelievable facility, great fans, great atmosphere, and we have the band. We have to have that mindset that we don’t lose at home.”
The Lancers scored five minutes after the third quarter began. They scored so quickly that PCC’s marching band that customarily plays the University of Miami Hurricanes fight song after every score, didn’t have time to sit down after their halftime performance. Instead they decided to pretend that they had instruments in their hands and sang the song aloud from the bleachers. There was nothing but smiles and joy on the squad and in the stands.
“Havin’ fun,” said safety Osvaldo Raigosa responding to how he was feeling.
At halftime, Compton had five first downs and 41 total yards. PCC’s defense was once again led by linebacker Lucio Rodriguez with his 6 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and one sack.
“When I blitzed in, I came in through the side,” Rodriguez said. “I’m gonna get this guy, I’m gonna get this guy, and soon as he hiked the ball I went full speed outside, and I moved from the running back. And the next thing you know the quarterback is in my face and I grabbed him, spun him, and threw him to the ground.”
It was indicative of their 0-6 record and number of players on the field. A team official disclosed that Compton normally runs an active roster of approximately 58 players, but only had 40 active players minus the four players that were hurt during the game. The short roster forced some of their players to play on offense, defense, and special teams.
The Lancers were coming off of their second loss of the season. In fact, the Lancers lost two things against Grossmont College last week. Kade Wentz suffered a concussion, so the Lancers decided to run the football mostly with Norton in what Compton defenders called out as “wildcat” and “read-option” packages. In Wentz’s last full start, the Lancers had more of a balanced attack, but in his absence backup quarterbacks Norton and Jakob Doolittle, and wide receivers Jeremiah Hartfield and Ivan Ostry took a few snaps.
Saturday night was not only homecoming, but it was the first in-person game for spectators and fans at Robinson stadium for the football team since November of 2019. PCC and Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas announced that fans could enter the stadium by completing a health survey and wearing a mask.
At the end of the game, the players were embraced by the fans and family. Freshman linebacker Jessie Canizales family sang him happy birthday for the entire stadium to hear.
“Anytime you get a chance to where you have the band just firin’ you up, and you’re playing in front of your family and friends,” Tucker said. “You want to show everyone how much work you put into something. And you just want to put that on display and ‘hey, I’ve been working hard on something and these are the fruits of my labor’. I think there’s a lot of joy in that. There’s a lot with doing it for your family, but also doing it with your teammates.”
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