Corsair Football Earns Emotional Win in Honor of Fallen Coach
The Corsairs pulled off a miraculous comeback victory aginst the West Los Angeles College Wildcats, last Saturday afternoon, in the final minute of the game with a two-point conversion that earned them their second win of the season and a final score of 29-28.
The game was dedicated to their former coach, Robert Taylor, who passed away last Thursday.
With 10:51 left in the game, the Corsairs were looking at a 28-7 fourth-quarter deficit. Yet another drive had stalled at midfield, so Gerryl Bennett pinned them at the 11-yard line with a good punt.
Just when it was looking like this would turn into another painful blowout as they began a drive down the field, Nicholas Adams came up huge with a fumble recovery that set up the Corsair offense at the 6-yard line. Travis Rawls pounded it in for the touchdown two plays later. The extra point attempt failed. The Corsairs now trailed 28-13.
It again seemed that West L.A. would put the game away when they started the ensuing drive with great field position on the Corsair 41-yard line. However, the defense that came up so huge earlier only gave up three yards in three plays and forced a punt.
As the Corsair offense trotted out on to the field the question of the hour was who would lead them. Breonathon Shelton and Zach Scribner had alternated that duty during the game, but neither did much to distinguish himself. It was Scribner's turn, however, and he jogged out to lead a possession that needed 80 yards and a touchdown if the Corsairs would have any shot at winning this game. On the second play of the drive, Scribner began showing off some of the skills that Lindheim has had so much confidence in through this lean season.
He chucked a 48-yard bomb downfield to Anthony Windom, who set up the Corsairs with a fresh set of downs at the West LA 35. Chase Fletcher showed why he's the teams best offensive weapon, catching a 16-yard pass and following up with a huge 19-yard touchdown catch. To close the gap, Scribner hit Sayyid Rivers for the 2-point conversion and bringing the deficit to 28-21.
The defense stepped up big again, holding West LA to another crucial three-and-out. A short punt put the ball on the Corsair 25, meaning that Scribner and the offense needed 75 yards in the game's final 4:13 to tie the game up. Scribner directed an efficient air attack that picked up first downs on Scribner passes of 5, 13, 15, and 4 yards. He also chipped in a clutch 11-yard scamper on third down to give them first and goal from the 10. A pass interference call put the ball at the 2, and Travis Rawls punched in his second TD of the game, putting the Corsairs an extra-point away from tying it up.
Rony Estrada jogged out with the field goal unit to attempt to tie it up. The crowd was tense; Estrada had missed an extra point attempt earlier in the game. However, Coach Lindheim had a change of heart, and he called a timeout and sent the offense, along with the red-hot passing arm of Zach Scribner, back out onto the field.
This was the all-or-nothing play. Scribner rolled out to his right and zipped a pass over the middle to a wide-open Gerryl Bennett to give the Corsairs a 29-28 lead with exactly 1:00 left in the game.
The Wildcat offense came out onto the field hoping to replicate the magic that had driven the Corsairs, but it was not to be. The Corsair defensive line spent most of that final minute in the backfield harassing the quarterback, who almost had two of his desperation passes intercepted by Corsair defensive backs.
Scribner was excellent on the final two drives of the game. He was 8-for-14 passing and racked up 124 yards, and even made a big play with his feet, gaining 11 yards on third down.
Lindheim was level-headed on Scribner's performance: "Like I've said all year, we knew what Scrib was capable of and I was not at all surprised by what he did out there today."
Gerryl Bennett showcased his versatility this game. In addition to handling the punting duties, he scored the first points of the game - a 24-yard touchdown pass to Sayyid Rivers - and the last the last points of the game - the 2-point conversion catch from Zach Scribner.
The defense continued to play well in this game, though the 28 points the other team scored are misleading as the Corsair defense was playing on short fields because of a sub-par kicking and punting performance.
Regardless, they came up big when needed. Roderick Benman led the charge, netting 6 solo tackles and a sack-fumble on the Wildcat quarterback when they were threatening to score at the Corsair 6. He also broke up a pass in the third quarter.
The hero of this game who isn't listed in the stat sheet is the late Coach Robert Taylor, who had assembled this team before he was dismissed in August just before the season began. "He was our motivation in this game" said Benman.
Scribner was even more explicit about the presence of his former coach: "He was here with us." Asked about his performance on the final two drives, he said "Coach T was watching me… when you've got somebody you love who died, strange things happen."
Lindheim, Taylor's interim replacement, said "I think everybody felt a little special today because of the loss of Coach Taylor this earlier this week. Guys really dug deep and we're fortunate to get the win today."
Next week is Homecoming, and the Corsairs will take on East LA in the final home game of the season at 6:00 PM. All will be watching to see of the Corsairs can continue their surprising winning streak.