The Brahmas (2-2) returned home for an emotional win against Mt. San Jacinto College (2-1), knocking off the Eagles 49-21 in the first home game for interim head coach James Sims.
The Brahmas came out quick on offense, taking the ball 89 yard in two minutes on their first drive of the game, ending with an 8-yard touchdown run from running back Marquise Mickens.
The Eagles responded quickly, scoring on the first play of their next possession on a 90-yard pass play down the sideline.
Mt. San Jacinto followed that drive up with another scoring drive that started at the Pierce 40-yard line, taking a 14-7 lead.
The Brahmas answered right back, driving 80-yards down the field, capping it off with a 1-yard touchdown run by Mickens.
“It was very exciting with the coaching and the plays being called. We just looked like a well-oiled machine,” Mickens said. “We kept our foot on the pedal, and we kept it driving, finishing really strong. As a freshman coming in and scoring, it’s an exciting thing; it’s beautiful.”
Pierce took control of the game in the second quarter, scoring three times and never looking back.
Sterling Salguero scored early in the quarter on a 2-yard run.
Special teams contributed with a blocked punt by Erick Mateo that was recovered at midfield, which led to a touchdown run by Keyshawn Richards.
With 36 seconds left in the first half, Brahmas quarterback Jhakari Harrison narrowly escaped a sack and connected on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Amari Smith, giving the Brahmas a comfortable 35-14 lead going into halftime.
“First half, defensively, we gave up some cheap touchdowns; it should have been 35-0,” defensive coordinator Dylan Flannery said. “The defense that we were running all game, we just installed this week. When you put that into context, I’m very proud of the way they played. There are just some easy fixes to be made. It takes them a little bit to wake up in the second half, so as a team, that is something we need to work on.”
As the game rolled into the third, quarterback Jonathon Saavedra escaped a sack, getting the ball to Damaris August for another 16-yard touchdown pass, taking the score to 42-14.
The Eagles answered back with three minutes left in the third quarter, scoring on a 4-yard pass, bringing the score to 42-21 before the fourth.
That was the last glimmer from the Eagles offense, turning the ball over the next three possessions with a fumble, interception and once on downs.
“Big players make big plays,” said linebacker Darryl Dolberry, who had an interception late in the fourth quarter. “We did what we were supposed to do, and we knew we could beat them like that. It was a job well done. We just have to go to practice and grind, grind, grind, and hopefully get the same results next week.”
The Brahmas added one more touchdown with six minutes left in the game, on an eight-yard pass from Harrison to wide receiver Nate Gedeus bringing the score to 49-21.
The Brahmas gave Sims the traditional Gatorade bath as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
“The key was to come out and continue the intensity and keep playing strong; that was my goal,” Sims said. “I didn’t want to think that the game was already over at 35-14, so I’m glad they came out and continued to play hard.”
Sims said he wants to continue working on cleaning up the personal fouls.
The Brahmas received two personal fouls this game, an improvement from the first home game of the season against LA Southwest College, in which there were 14 between the two teams. Sims wants that number down to zero.
Pierce had a total of 75 offensive plays with an average gain per play of 6.4 yards, with the 482 yards split between the ground and in passing games. Saavedra and Harrison combined for 238 yards passing while the core of running backs added 244 yards.
Pierce will host San Diego Mesa next week for its home game on Sept. 30. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.