Coming into Saturday’s game against the College of Canyons Cougars, the PCC football team hadn’t won back-to-back games since 2010. All that has changed as the Lancers were able to escape with a well-fought 20-12 win over the Cougars that came down to the last minute of play.
The Lancers, who are coming off an impressive victory last week against LA Harbor, came into the matchup looking to get rolling right from the opening kickoff. It didn’t come easy however, as the score remained deadlocked at zero through the first quarter of the game.
Then, with 6:50 remaining in the second quarter, freshman linebacker Anthony Johnson recovered a fumble at the 24-yard line in Cougar territory, setting the Lancers up with great field position. And after two minutes, freshman running back Timothy Jones ran up between the tackles, punching it into the end zone for the 7-yard touchdown run, putting the Lancers on the board first.
In the final seconds of the first half, the Cougars had the ball on their own 25-yard line. Then, the Lancer defense struck gold after sacking Cougar quarterback Tony Dawson. He fumbled the ball and who else but Johnson was there yet again to recover the loose ball. That gave the Lancers the opportunity to put up more points on the board before halftime, and they did. Freshman kicker, Franklyn Cervanka hit a 42-yard field goal, putting the Lancers up 10-0 as the teams headed to the locker rooms.
Then, things got interesting. Halfway through the 3rd quarter, COC was able to get on the board with a 6-yard touchdown run by running back Da’John Gaines. However, the Lancers special teams unit was able to block the PAT, recovered the ball, and took it all the way to the house for two points. Instead of a 10-7 game, the score was 12-6.
After the Lancers couldn’t get the offense moving, the Cougars drove down the field and Gaines was able to rush into the end zone on another 6-yard run for his second touchdown of the night with 1:24 to go in the period. That tied things up at 12, and the Cougars’ kicker, Eric Kreitz, missed the PAT, adding to the Cougars’ miscues.
As the game entered the final quarter all tied up, it was set to be a thrilling finish. And it sure was. With 8:27 to go in the game, the Cougars fumbled yet again. PCC recovered wide receiver Daniel Bernard’s fumble, setting up the stage for quarterback Dejon Williams to lead the Lancers to a win. The team needed him, and he came through. Just a mere 20 seconds after the fumble recovery, Williams threw a dart to J. Turner Jackson who scampered 45 yards down the left sideline for the touchdown.
“My receiver told me to give him a chance so I gave him a chance. He succeeded,” said Williams, who ended the game with 76 yards on 6-for-12 passing and 62 rushing yards on 21 attempts.
The Lancers were able to convert on a 2-point conversion, giving them the 20-12 lead.
The Cougars of COC were not going to be taken down that easy, however. They had possession of the ball in the final two minutes of the match, looking to tie the game up. They were able to drive down the field into Lancer territory, converting on two 4th downs during the drive. But the Lancer defense stepped up once again, as sophomore defensive back Marlon Dobbins read the quarterback’s throw and jumped on it for the interception with under 30 seconds left. The Lancers kneed the ball down and came away with the victory.
“I thought their best part of their performance was their resilience and playing the full 60 minutes,” says PCC head coach Fred Fimbres. “Particularly in the second half, when Canyons came out and made a couple plays and got it tied up at 12. They kind of stole the momentum away and our guys just kept grinding and they believed and kept playing together.”
Quarterback Dejon Williams felt confident after this win, saying he is feeling good for their game against Cerritos next week.
“We’re striving, but we still want to do better,” he said. “We’re going to come back hungry.”
“He came through in the clutch and when we needed him to make a play, he made the play,” Fimbres said of Williams. “He’s a playmaker, no doubt.”
This win gave the Lancers their second win of the young season, already doubling their win total from last year. They now head back home for a conference match-up against Cerritos College at Robinson Stadium.