Excessive penalties and sloppy play led the Pierce College Brahmas to a loss against the Southwestern Jaguars on Saturday, Sept. 19 in Chula Vista, Calif.
The Brahmas’ play may have been affected after the defensive team had trouble finding a functional bus to make the trip.
The game was scheduled to start at 6 p.m., but kickoff didn’t take place until 8:45 p.m.
The Jaguars won the game 23-20 and earned their first win of the season.
The bus that was assigned to Pierce’s defensive team had an air conditioner that was not functional and an emergency exit on the roof that would not open.
The team waited at a park in Studio City for three hours before returning to the bus.
The choice was to either forfeit the game or ride the ventless bus down to DeVore Stadium. The Brahmas defense was relentless and insisted on playing.
Pierce started the game kicking the ball off to the Jaguars, but quickly changed the possession when linebacker Tanner Kanteman intercepted a pass near the sideline.
Despite the hardships the defense faced to get to the game, they looked sharper in the first half.
“They ran just about every play on their offensive scheme,” said Pierce defensive back Jason Sturdivant. “We stopped over pursuing the ball and just stayed home and just played ball after that.”
The Pierce defense forced a three and out on the next drive, but Jaguars’ defensive back Connal Brown grabbed a pick 6 and puts Jaguars up 7-0 after a successful field goal.
The biggest obstacle for the Brahmas was penalties being called on both their offense and defense. The yards they lost cost them first down opportunities and their defensive penalties gave the Jaguars enough yards to put them in scoring position.
“We had too many penalties, 21 or 22 penalties just can’t happen,” said Pierce’s head coach Jason Sabolic. “You can’t play that bad against a team like this and expect to win.”
Freshman running back Kyshawn Richards scored off a 27-yard outside handoff and the Brahmas tied the game at 7-7.
Towards the end of the first half, Pierce quarterback Sean Smith started connecting on crucial passes. Two passes caught by wide receiver Jamere Austin for a combined 52 yards. Smith kept the drive alive with a short pass to wide receiver Xavier Ubosi who evaded a sideline tackle to put six more on the board for Pierce.
At the half, Pierce led 14-10 after a Jaguar field goal.
In the first half, Pierce’s running game seemed to be the biggest reason why the team was able to pick up so many yards.
Sophomore Running back Calvin Howard opened up Pierce’s first drive of the half with a 59-yard run to give Pierce excellent field position. They were not able to convert and the ball went back to the Jaguars.
On Pierce’s next possession, Smith threw a pass down the middle to Trevor Kanteman who finishes his run on the 14 yard line. Pierce couldn’t gain any yards and fumbled on fourth and 10.
After Pierce’s defense did not allow any touchdowns in the first half, Southwestern College went on to score two quick second half touchdowns to make it a 23-14 Jaguar lead.
Smith continued to throw accurate passes and found tight end Trevor Kanteman for a Pierce touchdown to close the gap to three points.
The Brahmas made a good last effort on its final drive, but couldn’t convert on a fourth-and-1 pass.
Southwestern College ran the clock down to end its losing streak.
There was not one play or one call that attributed to Pierce’s loss, but a combination of penalties, turnovers and good offense by Southwestern College. The Jaguars were able to execute offensively in the second half and took the game from the Brahmas.
“Defensively we had to put a lot of time in because Pierce runs a million different formations,” said Jaguar’s head coach Ed Carberry. “We were able to make plays on fourth down that mattered.”
Pierce College (1-1) will play Glendale Community College (1-2) next on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in Glendale.