The Lancers football team needed an emphatic stop Saturday night on third down, leading Citrus College Owls 23-20 with 56 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Citrus marched their special teams unit on the field to attempt to tie the game with a field goal. With no fans in the stands at Robinson field, the student parking lot 4 erupted. Approximately 50 fans cheered, honked their horns, or clapped, causing multiple car alarms to randomly go off. The sounds started to echo through the parking lot and crescendo onto the nearby field. It was the only advantage the Lancers had all night. The ball was snapped, grabbed by the holder, and missed wide left.
The parking lot went bananas as the Lancers sealed the win in victory formation. The team is now (3-1) and are riding a three game win streak. The defense and special teams were the true winners of the game. After being frustrated by the Owls punter all night who kept scrambling before punting the football ruby style to buy time for his defenders to get down field, it was finally blocked, recovered, and returned by cornerback Kaydon Spens to bring the game even 27-27.
“Our game plan was really just to attack them from each side depending on the foot of the kicker,” said Spens. “It was a right-footed kicker, so we would attack the right side of their block team but our left side. It was just shooting the gaps. At the start of the play, I just shot it and got the block. We knew it was coming because we were working on it in practice all week.”
Osvaldo Raigosa was named the SCFA Defensive Player of the Week after snagging two interceptions against the Owls. In the fourth quarter, the Owls quarterback dangerously threw the football into the middle of the field. It was tipped to Raigosa and returned 23 yards to the Citrus 9 yard line.
“We had amazing play calls by our coaches,” said Raigosa. “Everyone was doing their job and the D-line was getting to the quarterback. We gave him a hard time, seeing where to throw the ball, having him throw it up a little higher because our defense was getting pressure. And they just gave me a chance to make a play. I know that only one of us gets most of the credit, but it really is credit to everyone.”
Coming into the game the alternative quarterback, Edward Norton, led the team in rushing with 143 yards and 2 touchdowns. But there were only random sightings of him Saturday night even though the Lancers attempted more quarterback keepers than ever before. Kade Wentz, the featured quarterback, came into Saturday night’s performance with 84 yards on 31 rushing attempts which netted 2.7 yards per carry.
The Lancers new spread option offense struggled to put up points all night. It may have been designed to throw off the Citrus College defense, but the only team confused on the field were the Lancers when they were forced to pass. Quarterback Kade Wentz had one his worst passing performances since he became the starter. He went 16-31 for 184 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions.
After an early forced fumble by freshman Carlos Ramirez in the first quarter, quarterback Kade Wentz was back at the helm. He threw a 41-yard bomb to wide receiver Wheeler Smith for the first score of the game. Everything felt like this team would win in resounding fashion, but the Lancers soon found themselves behind 14-7.
In the first half, Wentz rolled out to his right, but nobody was open downfield. He threw it anyway and was almost picked off, ruining any chance of putting a dent in the Citrus College lead. Even after redeeming himself with a 15 yard run scamper into the end zone, he had moments of confusion.
On another occasion, Wentz attempted to go back to the air with another deep bomb to Smith. The decision was costly because there were at least 15 yards of real estate right in front of him if he had tucked the ball and ran for the first down to keep the drive alive.
In the third quarter, Kade Wentz was intercepted by Kendall Henderson, who ran it back 41 yards for the touchdown and tied the game at 20 apiece. At that time it felt like Wentz would have been benched. Norton came in for a small drive, but Wentz was back in the driver’s seat once the fourth quarter started.
Even in the fourth quarter, Wentz hiked the football in shotgun formation, missed a wide open receiver scampering across the field on a slant route. He rolled to his right to catch him on the scramble, but missed yet another opportunity to score.
The Lancers take their three game winning streak into Robinson stadium against College of the Desert (1-2) Saturday October 2, 2021 at 6:00 p.m.
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