Roughly 500 spectators looked on as the Santa Monica Corsairs pulled an unexpected victory in Saturday night’s American Pacific Conference game.
Stealing a Pierce fumble, and the game, SMC scored a 24-yard touchdown during the final seconds of the game.
The loss hampers the Brahmas bowl chances significantly.
“We’re excited, that’s a very good football team here,” said Santa Monica’s head coach Gifford Lindheim. “We’re trying to emulate them. They’re conference champs, and that’s what we have to be.”
Santa Monica, with a previous overall record of 2-4, got on the board first with a 7-yard touchdown pass minutes into the first quarter, kicking the extra point to make the score 7-0 Santa Monica.
“We just didn’t play very well, that’s the bottom line,” said Pierce offensive coordinator Jim Thornton. “We could’ve executed our plays better, we had four interceptions, that just shouldn’t happen.”
The turnover bug bit the Brahmas big time Saturday night as the Pierce quarterbacks combined to throw four picks that turned into 21 Santa Monica points.
The Corsairs led the game by the slimmest of margins throughout the second half.
The Pierce defense played very well by the numbers, but were unable to keep Santa Monica, playing with a shortened field out of the end zone.
With just under two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Pierce was intercepted by Santa Monica, taking the ball to Pierce’s 45-yard line.
A penalty was called at the end of the play against the Brahmas, advancing the ball to the 33-yard line. Pierce supporters became increasingly more frustrated as the clock ticked away the seconds, crying out in shock when Pierce’s last-second timeout was called.
As the teams battled it out on the field, Pierce head coach Efrain Martinez stalked back and forth on the sidelines.
“They haven’t put it all together yet,” he had said of the Corsairs earlier that day. “But teams like that, they’re bound to get that game, I just hope it’s not against us.”
As spectators rushed the field, many Pierce supporters could be seen with tears in their eyes, as family and friends engulfed the players on the field.
Kim Larvia and her father William Playter had come down from Seattle to see her nephew, Pierce halfback Kiyle Playter, play for the first time since he joined the team.
“We haven’t seen him play for this team, and we wanted to see him,” said Larvia.
Playter’s grandfather, an elderly man with an eye patch and walker, added a muffled “he’s an all star,” after the game, as he hobbled down the bleacher stairs.
On the visiting side of the stadium, Julio Reyes sat out in the chilly stands over an hour before the game began with his 11-year-old son James, to watch his other son, defensive linebacker Devyn Reyes.
“Our team, we’re about average,” said the senior Reyes, who has attended all his son’s games. “But we’ll see how this game goes,” he said.
As supporters for Santa Monica clustered around their team, cheering and screaming in the night chill, coach Martinez delivered a scorching post-game speech, disappearing from the field as family members engulfed the Brahmas.
The game lasted a little over three hours, making the Pierce football team’s conference record 3-1 overall. The Brahmas’ next game will be at home, a conference match against Los Angeles Southwest College on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m.