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Another Overtime v. Canyons, Another Tough Loss For Football

Another Overtime v. Canyons, Another Tough Loss For Football image

Four quarters don't decide football games between Pasadena City College and College of the Canyons. For the second consecutive season, the National Northern Conference foes went to overtime, and for the second straight year, it was the Cougars who outlasted the Lancers.

On the first overtime series, Justin Morales hit receiver Stephen London for a 20-yard touchdown pass that sent the Cougars to a 29-22 victory Saturday night before a PCC Homecoming night crowd at Robinson Stadium.

The Lancers (4-5 overall, 1-4 in NNC play) saw their postseason hopes officially dashed when Canyons linebacker Evan Harrington intercepted quarterback Nick Ponce's pass at the Cougars' 10 in overtime, ending the game.

PCC blew a 19-7 lead late in the third quarter. Canyons (6-3, 3-2 in the NNC) would use a safety and two Nick Hale short touchdown runs to take a 22-19 lead later in the fourth quarter.

The Lancers roared back on the ensuing series. DeMonte Bell ran back a kickoff 33 yards to the PCC 44. Starting quarterback Caleb Fore would follow with completions of 11 and 23 yards to running back John Roberson. Fore helped set up a tying, 35-yard field goal by Brian Gonzalez to make it 22-22 with four minutes left.

Unfortunately for the Lancers, Fore, a freshman who became the team's fourth different starter at quarterback this season, was knocked out of the game with an undisclosed injury on a 4-yard run that preceded the field goal. Fore, from Waialua, Hawaii, completed 16 of 31 passes for 204 yards, but was also sacked 7 times.

He found Kemonte Bateman for a 23-yard TD pass with 8:49 left in the third quarter that gave Pasadena a 12-7 lead. Running back Anthony Pines would later make it 19-7 on a 12-yard scoring run up the middle as the sophomore made a leap then dive the last 3 yards into the end zone. 

PCC led 6-0 at halftime thanks to Roman Pula's second interception of the contest as the sophomore linebacker returned a Morales pass 29 yards for a touchdown with 7:22 remaining in the second quarter. Pula also scored a key defensive touchdown on a fumble return in last year's 42-41, overtime thriller at Canyons. 

Special teams play haunted the Lancers much of the evening. Kicker Nick Luevano missed on an extra point following Pula's TD after having a 33-yard field goal attempt blocked by Justin Cudworth in the first quarter.

D.J. Stephens would open the third quarter by returning a Gonzalez punt 61 yards for a touchdown that gave COC a brief 7-6 lead. Pula was stopped on a 2-point conversion run attempt after PCC's second touchdown.

But the biggest special teams gaffe of the night came with seven minutes to go in the game when Gonzalez had a punt blocked by Anthony Johnson at the PCC 35 and Johnson would ultimately recover the ball at the Lancers' 2. The play set up Hale's 2-yard TD run that gave Canyons a 22-19 lead. It was sixth time this season that a PCC kicker had either a punt or field goal blocked. The team's offensive line problems due to injuries and lack of depth have contributed to that statistic.

PCC wide receiver Sean Carraway led the offense with 6 receptions for 113 yards, including a spectacular falling catch after the ball had been tipped by a Canyons defender. Stephens was a force for Canyons with 293 all-purpose yards, including 8 receptions for 132 yards and 101 yards on punt returns.

On defense, Pula finished the game with his 2 pickoffs, 7 tackles, a sack and a hurry. Defensive end Ahkeem Mckinney made 8 tackles, including 2 sacks. Defensive back Tyrell Austin added 2 pass breakups and a fumble recovery. Once again, linebacker Jeremy Aguilar, the NNC Defensive Player of the Week for the Moorpark win, led the team in tackles with 13, including 3 for loss. Linebacker Will Do added his season high of 10 tackles. 

PCC will go for a .500 season when it closes the 2009 campaign in a 7 p.m. conference game at Glendale College Saturday, November 14.

[Photo--Roman Pula runs back this interception 29 yards for a touchdown in the first half of PCC's 29-22 overtime loss to Canyons Saturday night at Robinson Stadium, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 11/08/09
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email:


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