With a division title on the line the Pierce College football team won its second bowl game in the last two years and clinched the first American Division Championship since 2010.
The Brahmas were victorious over the Chaffey College Panthers making a comeback in the second half after being down 13-7 finishing the game with a final score of 21-13.
“Winning was our goal,” said Defensive Line Coach Kort Huettinger. “And we did it. These guys played their hearts out. They did what they were supposed to. Two years in a row.”
Returning to the field from an important win the prior week against Glendale Community College, the Brahmas started off strong against Chaffey College with a 50-yard touchdown pass from Nick Arbuckle to sophomore tight end Tyler Kolodny in the first quarter.
Chaffey responded quickly scoring a touchdown on the team’s next drive on a one yard run by quarterback Dimitri Morales to tie the game at 7-7 and cap a 73 yard drive with 2:34 remaining the first quarter.
The Panthers were able to score again in the second quarter when Morales connected his second touchdown of the game on a nine yard pass to running back Jamie Snowten taking a 13-7 lead after kicker David Young missed the extra point attempt.
Going into the second half Pierce was able to stop Chaffey on a big drive when cornerback Max Lyons came up with a huge interception in the red zone and returned the ball 97 yards to put the Brahmas at the 1 yard line.
Pierce capitalized on the turnover three plays later when Arbuckle hit receiver Shaquan Hall with a five yard touchdown pass to take a 14-13 lead. Arbuckle finished the game 30-38 with 3 touchdowns 313 yards and was named the game’s offensive most valuable player.
“We came out and we put our foot on their throat and we kept it on their throat and we never let up,” said defensive back Bobby Baker. “Not once. And the defense was just phenomenal.”
For Pierce, the defensive backs came to play when the Brahmas forced another interception by Jay’Onn Myles to keep the Panthers scoreless for the last two quarters and put Chaffey out for good.
“The biggest play was Jay’Onn’s interception with about two minutes left,” Brahma quarterback Nick Arbuckle said. “We were up by one point. That was huge for us. That gave us a chance to score at the end and that really put a dagger in their heart.”
After the interception, the Brahmas drove 40 yards down field to score with 57 seconds with Arbuckle finding Hall a second time for a 36 yard passing touchdown and putting the nail in the coffin for the Panthers.
With 41 seconds left in the game, Chaffey College tried to make a push for the endzone to tie the game but Pierce’s defense stepped up big stopping them short of the goal line as time ran out on the Panthers.
“A big driving force for this team is our defense,” said Arbuckle. “We knew we were going to have to go in to the game having to score 30-40 to win and it’s such a pressure off my back and pressure off the whole offense. The defense does it every week. They did it today. They made plays to keep us in the game.”
The Brahmas ended their season seizing the American Division Championship and won the team’s second bowl game in the last two seasons. As for next season the Brahmas will be without some key players as they are getting offers to move on to four-year universities.
“How do you bring that back next year,” said Huettinger. “Hopefully we get a new class coming in next year and keep winning.”