Backup quarterback Jakob Doolittle was dressed in his PCC practice attire, shorts, yellow quarterback jersey, no helmet with the number 3 instead of his official uniformed number 15. He was backed up by at least 10 other players. But instead of taking a snap, he looked at his phone, pressed play and let the melody run for a few seconds.
“Listen baby,” Doolittle sang.
The Lancers are in the middle of a bye week and decided to have a lip-sync contest between a few sections of the squad. It’s quite controversial amongst the players, but many people believe that Doolittle’s group had the best outing when they started singing Marvin Gaye and Tammie Terell’s 1976 hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
It wasn’t long before the entire team got in on the action, jumped into a mosh pit of football players and sang along.
The PCC football team are (4-1) for the first time since 2010, sitting atop the American Mountain division. Head coach Robert Tucker has certainly surpassed expectations, given the fact that he was hired in the midst of the pandemic, and for the most part, has the same roster since 2019 when they went (6-4) and started the season (2-2).
Although the offense has been averaging 41.5 points since their week 1 loss against Cerritos College, the real reason why this team has been winning is it’s defensive playmakers. It all started Week 2 when All-state cornerback Kaydon Spens had 2 passes broken up, an interception, a blocked punt, a sack, and 4 tackles against LA Valley College. The following week against Santa Monica College, safety Osvaldo Raigosa had two interceptions. And this past Saturday, linebacker Lucio Rodriguez had 11 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and an interception against College of the Desert.
Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This is a bend, don’t break defense. They are willing to take chances by shooting the gaps and blitzing the quarterback in order to put pressure on the quarterback, but they also risk the big play if they don’t get to the quarterback or they shoot the wrong gap. The Lancers are giving up 331 yards per game with 129 yards coming from the ground.
With that said, that aggressive mindset has helped this squad thus far. They have rarely given up the big play and will allow other teams to earn field goals while they have scored touchdowns. There are only few other cautions about the defense. The main one being missed tackles, but the CCCAA does not keep track of those stats, but they are evident in the game.
On the other side of the ball, newly appointed starter Quarterback Kade Wentz who has put on some muscle since the last time we saw him in 2019. He’s not only leading the division with 8 touchdowns, second in passing yards per game with 222.4, but he’s also become a run-threat with 3 rushing touchdowns. This team likes to air it out and often. This past Saturday, Wentz threw two 20 plus yard passes in the first drive to score a touchdown within the first 39 seconds of the game. Two of his favorite targets are wide receiver Jeremiah Hartfield and Wheeler Smith, who both have 4 receiving touchdowns a piece.
The good news is that this team can only get better. Wide receiver Jeremiah Hartfield and running back Miles Anderson should be back before they face a (2-2) Grossmont, October 16. The bye week will help this team recover from nagging injuries and return some of it’s offensive playmakers.
The only question remaining is how high up the mountain can this Lancers team climb?
Are they ready to go from hunting to being hunted? Are they prepared to be the favorites for the second half of the season? Robert Tucker has established himself in Los Angeles as a guy who can create quick turnarounds, he’ll take a lackluster team and make them winners.
Prior to coaching at PCC, he had a (30-3) overall record and turned around programs like West Hills College and LA Valley College. West Hills were (2-8) before Tucker arrived. They were (10-1) under Tucker. LA Valley College was (3-7) before Tucker and he turned them around and went undefeated (11-0).
Only time will tell, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
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