Football Season Ends With Hard-Fought Loss v. No. 4 Bakersfield
In the season's last three games, the Pasadena City College football team put legitimate scares into high-ranked teams. Losses to regionally rated No. 10 Allan Hancock, No. 2 Ventura and No. 4 Bakersfield were contests decided in the final quarter with the Lancers as close as a one possession margin of either being ahead or tied.
While the end result was a disappointing 1-9 season for the Lancers, PCC head coach Fred Fimbres wasn't all doom and gloom Saturday night. Following his team's 38-17, season-ending loss to Bakersfield before 2,000-plus, tail-gating fans at Memorial Stadium, Fimbres reflected on the improvement his team displayed in the latter part of the season.
"Earlier in the year, there were points where we were in the game competitively, but then have breakdowns that took us completely out of it," Fimbres said. "Then you look at us in the last three games, and you can pinpoint long periods of time where we were playing great football. The offense was moving and controlling the ball, and the defense was holding the fort to keep us around by the fourth quarter. Sure, we lost the three games, but you can bet there were plenty of sighs of relief by our opponents by the time those games were done. We went down fighting and we had some high-ranked teams on the ropes."
Fimbres pointed out that due to injuries that plagued the team all season, including injuries to two key returning sophomore linebackers in the opening two weeks, the Lancers were utilizing second and third string players at a number of key positions. Despite the short-handed and top heavy freshmen lineups on offense and defense, the team appeared to play far better in the second half of the season.
Against Bakersfield, PCC was tied 7-7 after one quarter, trailed 24-17 by halftime, and were still within a touchdown of tying the game with 11 minutes left in the game. The Renegades (8-2) pressured the Lancers with a punishing pass rush, led by linebacker Keylon Hollis, who made four of Bakersfield's eight sacks and finished with 14 overall tackles.
Bakersfield put the game away on Brian Burrell's third TD pass, an 8-yard throw to tight end Mike Dunn with 10:23 left. Jalen Sykes added a 24-yard scoring run, capping his game-high 166 yards rushing (24 carries) that put him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
The Lancers again centered their offense on getting the ball to sophomore transfer running back Zach Sinclair. A week after he gained a team season best 171 yards v. Ventura, Sinclair totaled 253 all-purpose yards. Sinclair amassed 168 of those yards on kick returns, including an electrifying 59-yard return that set up a PCC field goal prior to halftime.
Sinclair gained 70 yards in 14 carries and caught two passes for 15 yards. He made an explosive cut to his left in scoring on a 17-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. That TD was set up by a successful fake punt as reserve quarterback Justin Posthuma took the short snap and lofted a 34-yard pass to linebacker Andrew Medrano that put PCC deep into Bakersfield territory. Medrano later made an interception and a pass break-up on defense.
Quarterback Zeek Julien hit the end zone on a 5-yard option carry in the second quarter. Julien rallied PCC in the first half. Kicker Martin Magana booted a 38-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in the half that cut it to 24-17. A freshman, Magana finished 2012 as the team's leading scorer with 48 points, the first time that a kicker led the Lancers in that department since Dana Barsuhn scored 58 points to lead the squad in 1995.
Freshman defensive lineman Dalyou Pierson made nine tackles, eight solos, and three for lost yardage.
PCC finished last in the SCFA National Northern Conference at 0-6 and has a 10-game losing streak in conference games dating back to last year.
PCC GRIDIRON NOTES: A brightspot in PCC's ball-control offense over the final weeks was the team's revamped offensive line. Center Raul Martinez-Mier, linemen Jose Montes De Oca (converted from defense), Miguel Machado, Jase To'omalatai (only sophomore in the group), Lester Quintana, and Jose Torres opened some holes that allowed the team to develop a strong rushing attack. Fullback Steve Dinov also should receive credit for his fine blocking...Pierson finished fifth in the conference and led the Lancers this year in tackles with 64...Magana became the first kicker since Joe Timchenko in 2001 (11) to boot 10 field goals in a season...With 25 receptions for 360 yards, first-year wide receiver Jeremiah Andrade led the Lancers in receiving only a year after PCC's Wayne Peters led the state in receiving with 81 in 2011. It's the lowest receptions year by a Lancers' leader since 2003...Frosh running back Marciss Grigsby led the Lancers in rushing with 493 yards (Sinclair had 451)...Julien's 876 yards led the team in passing, the lowest leading yards passer since Shane Jackson totaled 715 yards in 2004...It was the first time since 1967 that the Lancers had no individual rush for 500 yards or pass for 1,000 yards in the same season...If you want a preview of the 2013 schedule, just look at this year's schedule as the teams' duplicate their 2012 slate with only the site changing from home games to road games and vice versa.
[Photo--Zeek Julien runs the ball with teammate Marciss Grigsby (28, left) aiding him during PCC's 38-17 season-ending loss at Bakersfield College Saturday, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]