Electricity was in the air Saturday when the Brahmas secured their first home win since week seven of the 2015 season, defeating the Los Angeles Southwest College Cougars in a game that had an hour-long midgame delay due to lightning.
The Brahmas offense came out strong scoring on their first possession of the game with a pass from starting quarterback Jonathon Saavedra to wide receiver Damaris August, followed by a touchdown from Keyshawn Richards.
“Great team win, for both offense and defense, special teams played a key role in the game too,” Richards said. “The second half we got out a little slow because of the delays but we still played a great game.”
Richards was injured in the first game of last season and had to sit out the rest of the season and wasn’t playing in the season opener, but he came out and carried a good portion of the runs and added a touchdown to the blowout.
The Cougars got on the board in the second quarter when the snap went over the head of Brahmas punter John Pecaro and returned for a touchdown
The remainder of the second quarter was redeemed by wide receivers Joseph Branch and Amari Smith and defensive back Will Davis with receiving touchdowns.
With 19 second left in the second quarter a massive cloud of lightning trickled its way into the horizon calling for the game to be brought to a halt due to the lightning rule.
The rule essentially states if the referee can see the lightning the game cannot continue due to the safety of the players and viewers in the stands.
“Everyone played good in the first half, but because of the lightning delay we got complacent, but that’s our faults as coaches we didn’t have our players ready to go after that long delay, but it’s a learning experience,” defensive coordinator Torry Hughes said.
The referees used the break as the halftime. After the final 19.2 seconds in the second quarter, the game game rolled into the third quarter.
“The first half was great,” head coach Jason Sabolic said. “Firing on all cylinders and scoring five touchdowns, that’s where you ideally want to be offensively.”
During the third quarter LASW turned the heat up, closing the gap by adding two touchdowns, making it 35-21.
Running back Sterling Salguero scored the sixth touchdown for the Brahmas, and he would be followed with another touchdown by Steven Frost putting Pierce at a comfortable lead of 49-21.
“We started off really strong, it felt good especially coming off of last week’s loss,” Salguero stated.
The obvious animosity between the two teams ramped up in the second half. The game had a total of 14 personal fouls between the two teams. Dimitri King from Pierce was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct, and later in the game a Cougar was ejected as well.
Defense definitely played their part in the game with a group effort. Eric Mateo racked up three sacks and twelve tackles.
As the final seconds ticked off, running back Xanre McCleary scored the final touchdown of the game bringing the score to 55-21 Brahmas taking the win.
Pierce would end the game with 33 penalties and 10 sacks. The Brahmas suffered disadvantageous yard loss on multiple penalty calls of unsportsmanlike conduct, but it wasn’t enough to stop the team from taking home a win.
There was visible tension between the two teams throughout the game, there were some unnecessary roughness, personal foul and technical foul calls made by the referees as well as trash talk between the players.
The tension was thick enough to the point that at the end of the game LA Southwest wouldn’t even participate in the traditional handshaking of both teams on the 50 yard line, showing a major lack of sportsmanship.
Sabolic knows that his goals for the season are.
“We have to keep getting better every week,” Sabolic said. “It’s not about wins or loses, it’s about these kids becoming better football players and better young men.”
Football’s next game is on September 16 against Southwestern College. The game will start at 6 p.m., and will be held at the Southwestern campus.
Prior to Monday’s practice, assistant coaches and players were informed of the termination of Sabolic and Hughes. Full story available here.