Cornerback Eric Waters was the star of the game, coming up with a big fourth quarter red-zone interception in the final minutes of the game to hold off the Vaqueros, 12-6.
“The whole game they were catching us with slant routes. I knew it was going to come again,” Waters said. “I was just happily and thankfully in the right place at the right time.”
Head coach Jason Sabolic credited the defense to having the most impressive performance of the night.
“My hats off to them [defense],” Sabolic said. “They held on when we needed it, they held strong.”
Pierce played with more emotion and intensity than the previous game against L.A. Southwest, despite the low-scoring and closer point-margin, the team had more optimism after defeating a tougher Santa Barbara team.
“We needed to bring it today, we needed to be enthusiastic. We had to come out on fire and we did,” Sabolic said. “We took control of the game in the beginning and punched them in the mouth.”
The offense, however, struggled after the first quarter. After two early touchdown runs by running back Calvin Howard, and two missed PAT’s, the Brahmas would not score the rest of the game.
Howard continues to impress for the second week in a row, rushing for 139-yards and two touchdowns on 26 attempts. Howard said this was a statement game for him and the Brahmas.
“I just had to come in this game with a statement and I just had to make a name for myself,” Howard said. “We are trying to complete every drive when we are on the field.”
Pierce’s passing game continued to struggle. Sean Smith was 13-25 on pass attempts for 139 yards and didn’t throw a single touchdown pass. Smith however did play mistake-free football for the second week in a row and never turned the ball over.
Sabolic said that the offense will go back to the drawing board, start doing some simple things, and taking advantages of the little things.
The Brahmas played a cleaner game of football during the night than in past games. The penalty bug that has plagued Pierce all season was still apparent, but not as game-deciding. The team was penalized 13 times for 105-yards.
Pierce currently stands in second place for the American Pacific Division and remain undefeated against divisional opponents.
“Every game from here on out is a playoff game,” Waters said. “We can’t lose. Our season is on the line.”
Pierce (5-2) will play at noon on Halloween in enemy territory versus long-time rival L.A. Valley College (5-2) in a crucial divisional matchup for second place and the Victory Bell. The Brahmas defeated the Monarchs last year at home, 55-48.
Players and coaches are hoping for the same enthusiasm against L.A. Valley that they played with against Santa Barbara.
“It’s a big time rivalry and we’re going to be ready,” said Sabolic.