Football wins thriller in L.A.

Andre Fuller / Roundup

The contrasting offensive style of the two teams presented a back and forth scoring frenzy that didn’t end until the last possession of the game as Pierce College defeated East Los Angeles College Huskies, 35-27, Saturday night in Monterey Park.

The Huskies spread offense and Brahmas’ conventional pro-style offense left the opposing defenses with headaches throughout the game.

No one benefited from this more than Pierce quarterback Matt Wabby, who ran for two touchdowns and threw one. Taking his game to a new level, Wabby showed great patience and vision as he spread the ball out to everyone on the offense.

“The offensive line really got after it in the second half. They protected me well and the receivers made plays when they had the opportunity to,” Wabby said. “It was just a great way for us to get going in the second half.”

After a long drive by the Brahmas that was capped off with a five-yard touchdown run by running back Prince Young, the Brahma defense stepped up, forcing a quick three and out.

This led to wide receiver Coleman Edmond’s 61-yard punt return for a touchdown. Edmond’s abilities could not be accounted for throughout the game, as the Huskies defense had no answers for the playmaking receiver.

“I have a coaching staff that has a lot of confidence in me. If I say something to them they listen,” Edmond said. “Like when I told them to rekick the ball so I get another opportunity to take t back to the house.”

“So when you have coaches over there that are on your side, making plays like that are easy because you’re not worried about what going to happen.”

Turnovers — and capitalizing on them — was the name of the game for the Brahmas. Usually turning the ball over, the Brahmas found a way to force four turnovers and put East LA on its heels.

However, the Brahmas couldn’t put the Huskies away as their offensive and defensive units couldn’t produce success on a consistent basis.

Throughout the season, playing consistent football has plagued the Brahmas as they start slow and then find a way to get their offense started later in the game.

Fortunately for the Brahmas, they got it together before it was too late when Wabby connected with wide receiver Julian Damon on several occasions, including a 36-yard pass.

“It seems like we don’t wake up until about mid-third quarter. We just gotta get after it sooner. We fall behind too much maybe we aren’t going to bed early enough,” Wabby said.

“We haven’t played four quarters yet, which is a scary thing,” he continued. “We have been in every game. When we put four quarters together, who knows how good we can be?”

This became apparent as Huskies QB Pedro Velasquez connected with WR Anthony Denham for three touchdown passes.

A Wabby interception with 1:20 left in the second quarter led to a 64-yard touchdown drive by the Huskies. Velasquez linked with Denham for a 20-yard touchdown reception, with 0.8 seconds left in the first half.

The lack of tackling ability on both sides was apparent throughout the game, but it was even more so in the second half as the Huskies took the opening second half drive the length of the field and ended it with a two-yard touchdown run by running back Aubrey Haynes.
Showing poise and maturity in the game, the Brahma offense quickly responded as Wabby led the Brahmas down the field as he topped a 59-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run.

The Brahma offensive line stepped up its play tremendously in the second half. Their focus and determination led them to victory.

“Our offensive line is solid. They’re a nasty group that gets the job done,” Wabby said. “I kinda’ gave [the Brahma offensive line] a look in the eyes and they looked at me back and we knew that we had to get after it.”

Wabby & Co. continued its scoring trend with another long drive, capped off by a two-yard touchdown run from Wabby.

“They weren’t better than us. We felt that if we executed, we were going to get the job done,” Wabby said.

Not to be outdone, the Huskies refused to give up as Velasquez orchestrated a big play as he connected with Denham for 78-yard touchdown pass.

Nonetheless, the Brahma offense quickly quieted the crowd with a 52-yard touchdown pass from Wabby to Edmond, leaving 3:15 on the clock in the fourth quarter.

With the momentum swaying, the bend-but-don’t-break Brahma defense was able to adapt to the Huskies’ spread offense as seconds ticked away to their final possession.

“Everybody gets frustrated when we get down, but at halftime, coach talked to us and told us to keep our head up,” Damon said. “And then in the second half everyone started to come together and work as one.”

 
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Pierce defensive tackle, Franky Anaya, recovers a fumble by East Los Angeles quarterback Pedro Velasquez in the first quarter. The turnover would eventually lead to a Brahma touchdown. (Danny Duarte / Roundup)