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Late Mistakes Cost Football in 17-10 Loss To Palomar

Late Mistakes Cost Football in 17-10 Loss To Palomar image

In a league like the National Southern Conference, the team making the fewest mistakes usually ends up in the win column. Two critical, fourth-quarter special teams errors would spell doom for the Pasadena City College football team in a 17-10 loss to Palomar Saturday night. A Homecoming Game crowd of more 750 fans attended Robinson Stadium.

The Lancers (4-4), who opened the season at 4-0, lost their fourth straight game and remain winless in NSC play at 0-3. Palomar evened its record at 4-4 and moved to 1-2 in conference action.

PCC lost leads of 7-0 and 10-7, but appeared ready to regain the advantage in the fourth period. With 10:39 left in the game, kicker Brian Gonzalez missed wide right on a short, 28-yard field goal attempt that kept the score tied at 10-10.

Pasadena stopped Palomar on the subsequent series, forcing a punt. Lancers sophomore returner DeMonte Bell made the risky choice of trying to field a bouncing ball at the PCC 36. Bell touched the ball, but never could handle it as the Comets' Robert Luth recovered the fumble at the Pasadena 40.

Palomar took full advantage of the second PCC special teams miscue, moving the ball on eight plays before quarterback Nate Ong hit tight end Dallas Butler for a 10-yard touchdown pass. Roman Ferreira's extra point gave Palomar a 17-10 lead with 5:54 remaining.

PCC got as far as the Palomar 30 on its final series, but quarterback Caleb Fore fired a fourth-down incompletion to end the Lancers' chances.

The Lancers' best offensive drive of the night came on the opening series as the team engineered a 13-play, 78-yard drive that was capped by a 1-yard TD plunge by Kimball Niumatalolo, the team's top tackling linebacker who was brought in for short yardage rushing plays. Gonzalez kicked the extra point for a 7-0 PCC lead 6:28 into the first quarter.

Transfer running back Ron Spears ran seven times for 38 yards to highlight the long series.

Sophomore safety Omar Smith made the first of his two interceptions in the second quarter, setting up a 31-yard field goal by Gonzalez. The boot gave PCC a 10-7 lead with 6:04 left before halftime.

It was a bittersweet game for Smith, a transfer from Palomar. Smith made two interceptions, broke up his team-leading 12th pass and had three tackles before getting injured on a freak play in the third quarter where he collided with another PCC defensive back trying to defend a Palomar pass attempt. Smith did not return. SMITH INJURY UPDATE, Sunday morning: The 6-foot-3 Smith had x-rays taken and was released from the hospital last night after a precautionary medical check-up due to an injury to his upper body. Smith will be evaluated during the week and is listed to day-to-day for next week's game.

Freshman defensive tackle Kealii Latuselu recovered two fumbles in the second half. Linebacker Cordell Robinson led PCC in tackles with eight while Niumatalolo added seven tackles. The sophomore Gonzalez legged five punts for a 36.6 yards average, including a 56-yarder and three kicks that were landed inside the Palomar 20.

On offense, wide receiver Michael Harrison caught six passes for 80 yards while Spears rushed for 68 yards in 17 carries. Fore completed 14 of 22 passes for 154 yards, but was sacked five times.

For Palomar, running back Tyrese Jones gained 136 yards in 24 carries, including a 66-yard gallop in the game's final minute. Ong completed 13 of 23 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Ferreira added a 36-yard field goal.

The game was PCC Coach Dennis Gossard's 100th as a head coach.

Next Saturday, Nov. 6, the Lancers travel south to face Grossmont College in a 1 p.m. NSC contest.

[Photo--Omar Smith (13) makes one of his two interceptions Saturday during PCC's 17-10 loss to Palomar at Robinson Stadium. It was PCC's final home game, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 10/31/10
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu