Madison Bell / Roundup
An orange Gatorade bucket was poured over Head Coach Efrain Martinez’s head Saturday night as fans and players celebrated one of the biggest victories in Pierce College history.
The Brahmas have now won back-to-back games, defeating the 5th ranked team in the nation, the Fullerton College Hornets, 24-21 in their house.
“This is the biggest victory in Pierce College history dating back to the early eighty’s because of the caliber of the team,” said Martinez. ” It was big!”
Beating the Hornets is a step in the right direction toward winning their division.
“My biggest concern is that we’re going to get big headed so it is now [the coaches] job to keep them level headed,” said Martinez.
According to Martinez, the team plans on celebrating all weekend, but come Monday, when they get back on the practice field, they’ll start preparing for their next game.
While the Brahmas celebrated their victory, the Fullerton’s head coach Tim Byrnes said, “it’s an embarrassment losing to the Brahmas.”
Pierce had to step up their game in order stop the Fullerton passing game led by one of the top junior college prospects in California, quarterback Darius Banks.
Running back Greg Wanamaker had a big run in the first quarter that put him close to the goal line, which set up a Pierce touchdown pass from Exavier Johnson to Kiyle Playter.
Pierce’s defense held strong on Fullerton’s first drive holding them to no points and stopping them on a crucial 4th down.
Unfortunately Wanamaker left the game due to a broken leg during Pierce’s 2nd offensive drive of the game early in the first quarter when the game was just in diapers.
“This could be a season ending injury,” said Martinez.
After Wanamaker was unable to leave on his own will, Josh Johnson stepped in at running back, and did a more than respectable job moving chains and finishing off runs with authority.
Quarterback Clinton Granger led the Brahmas into the red zone, but the drive stalled due to a personal foul and a sack, forcing Pierce to attempt a field goal that was missed.
“To the naked eye it seems, oh god the defense is playing bad,” Martinez said. “They’re giving up a lot of points, but when I see them play on film they play well,”
Granger marched Pierce down the field on his second series of the game, beating the Hornets with his arm and his feet while capping the drive with a touchdown on a quarterback sneak.
The Brahmas defense continued their stellar play in the 2nd quarter when Jaston Wells picked off Fullerton quarterback Banks when they were in the red zone and threatening to score.
Pierce’s 3rd touchdown scoring drive was in large part due to the tough running between the tackles by Josh Johnson. On the drive, quarterback Exavier Johnson also made some nice throws with the best one being a strike over the middle to tight end Nate Ingram for a big gain. Johnson would do the rest as he took the ball from 5 yards out to pay dirt, smashing a Hornet defender on his way in.
The Brahmas defense was strong on the Hornets last drive, keeping them out of the end zone to stay 8 points ahead at the half.
On the opening drive of the 2nd half Fullerton found plenty of running room en route to a quick touchdown drive gashing the Pierce defense for large chunks of yards. The touchdown drive was capped off with a 2-point conversion that tied the game up at 21.
Pierce’s offense struggled to sustain a drive or find any kind of rhythm for most of the second half and was held scoreless.
Free safety Gerald Bowman, and linebacker Brandon Reeves led the way for the Pierce defense with big plays and big hits. Behind the strong play and great effort by the rest of the Brahmas on defense, they were able to blank the Fullerton offense in the fourth quarter and force the game into overtime.
“Its not about schemes, it’s about players making plays,” said Ty Greenwood, Pierce’s defensive coordinator.
In overtime Pierce kicker Steven Sandoval put the Brahmas up 3 nailing a 30 yard field goal. They would go on to win the game, as Fullerton kicker missed their field goal attempt from 19 yards out.
“Our defense made it happen,” Exavier Johnson said. ” [The defense] stepped it up.”
With this win the team’s outlook for the season continues to grow with hope of being able to sustain their winning ways.
Up next is the Brahmas home opener. The team will play host to Long Beach City College Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. live from Shepard Stadium.