The Pierce College Brahmas kicked off their 2012 season by defeating Victor Valley College 42-26 on Saturday at Pierce’s John Shepard Stadium.
The Brahmas opened the game with a touchdown run by sophomore running back Kenny Boggs within the first few minutes of the first quarter, followed by another touchdown by freshman wide receiver Jaelen Strong.
Strong’s 75 yard touchdown catch gave the Brahmas a 13-0 lead within the first half of the first quarter.
Strong ended the game with three touchdown receptions to go along with his 245 receiving yards.
“Victor Valley brought a lot of challenges, but we had to step up,” Strong said.
Another huge contributor for the night was freshman kicker Brian Gutierrez.
Gutierrez made every kick he put up Saturday night.
“I used yoga, pilates, and lots of Olympic squats in the off season to train for my debut,” Gutierrez said.
The Brahmas’ defense also proved to be a force to be reckoned with when sophomore linebacker Austin Whalen intercepted a Victor Valley pass and brought the ball back to the Victor Valley 8-yard line.
Victor Valley responded quickly with an interception of their own to end the first quarter trailing 21-6, which held into halftime.
Victor Valley came back from halftime with a vengeance, but the Brahmas still held strong defensively.
Offensively, the Brahmas added to their lead in third quarter with rushing touchdowns from sophomore Adam Schechter and freshman quarterback Nick Arbuckle.
Victor Valley didn’t let the game go easily, adding a touchdown late in the third quarter to bring the score to 35-14.
Victor Valley continued with two more unanswered touchdowns, closing the gap to 35-26.
The Brahmas continued to fight, with Arbuckle throwing an 85-yard touchdown pass to Strong, which sealed the game 42-26 for Pierce.
Pierce players contributes the success of Saturday’s game to their home field advantage, something they didn’t have last season.
“It feels really good to come out and get a win especially at home since we were out on the road all last season,” Whalen said. “We’ve been practicing here all summer so we’re familiar with it, and it was nice having all the fan support.”
The Brahmas took more from this game than a win; they took a note on what improvements came from last season and what still needs to be worked on going into the rest of the season.
“I feel we did okay, not all that great,” said Head Coach Efrain Martinez. “Being game one, we have a lot to work on.”
“We can’t get too excited when we’re up, and when we get too excited we seem to think the other team is not that good,” Martinez added. “We need to play like we’re behind all the time, but I see an overall improvement all around.”
Another struggle for the Brahmas Saturday night came from penalties.
The Brahmas lost nearly 200 yards thanks to penalties.
“We need to have fewer penalties on defense,” said Coach Nick Basile.” We need to learn to keep our composure, and learn not to beat ourselves.”
The Brahmas aren’t taking the Victory Valley win as any sign to slow down, instead using Saturday’s game as a learning experience and a means to do better for their next game against Mt. San Jacinto.
“This is only game one,” said Strong. “We still have a lot to do.”
Pierce faces Mt. San Jacinto on the road next Saturday at 1 p.m.
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