Corsair Homecoming Spoiled with Loss Against East L.A. College in Final Home Game
The Corsairs were defeated at the hands of the East Los Angeles Huskies Saturday night in a tragic 51-37 loss that spoiled their Homecoming.
The score fails to convey how close the game was.
"It was a true offensive showdown," said coach Gifford Lindheim after the game.
With less than four minutes left in the third quarter the Corsairs trailed 33-27. Quarterback Zach Scribner and the offense methodically drove down the field until they found themselves in East LA territory. They had a chance to take a critical one-point lead going into the final quarter.
But it was not to be. The Corsairs settled for a field goal, cutting the lead 33-30.
One play later the Husky quarterback launched a deep ball and burned the Corsairs for a 78-yard touchdown. It was now 39-30, East L.A.
When engaged in a shootout, the worst thing that can happen is to run out of bullets, but the Corsairs didn't have the offensive firepower of the Huskies, and were unable to move the ball very much at all on their next few possessions.
East L.A. quarterback Pedro Velasquez again showed off his big arm by hitting one of his big receivers for a 35-yard touchdown over the smaller SMC defensive back. Two successive Husky possessions had yielded 14 points.
The Corsairs were unable to get back into a rhythm. The team's struggles began well before the two long touchdowns.
At the start of the third quarter, the Corsairs were in the driver's seat, holding on to a 20-14 halftime lead. Special teams came up short, however, as the East L.A. returner Jeremy Harris took the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown and tied the game at 20-20. Scribner responded right back with throws of 23 and 42 yards on the ensuing drive, the latter of which went to Anthony Windom for a touchdown, with the Corsairs going up 27-20. Even better, defensive back Adyel Annelus intercepted a pass on the first play of the Huskies' drive. The Corsairs were again in control of their own destiny.
They would not have control for long. The offense couldn't keep up with their East L.A. counterparts, who scored 31 second-half points to the Corsairs' 17.
A critical element to winning football games is winning the time-of-possession battle. SMC won the battle in the first three quarters, but games are won and lost in the fourth quarter, where East L.A. controlled the ball for a more than 11 minutes. The Corsairs got 10 points out of their fourth quarter time-of-possession, but it wasn't enough.
One of the more surprising things was that the Corsairs were finally able to assemble a rushing attack. Running back Travis Rawls gained 166 yards on the ground, which was more than the team compiled in their first five games combined during their very forgettable losing streak to start the season.
Also out of the ordinary was the Corsair defense that was very ineffective against the Huskies. In previous games, the defense gave up a lot of points but that directly correlated to the offense's struggles. In a game where the offense scored a season-high 37 points, the defense was unfortunately the weaker unit. The Corsair defense didn't record a sack.
East L.A. was successful in their bid to play spoiler at the Corsair's homecoming. More disappointing than the loss, however, is the lack of any kind of welcome from the Corsair students and fans. Official game attendance was 250, and it might be a stretch to say that half were SMC fans. Homecoming fell on Halloween, and the choice of how to spend their Saturday was apparently easy for the students and the fans.
The Corsairs are still mourning the loss of their former coach, Robert Taylor, who passed away last week. Most everyone on the team could be seen wearing something in honor of him, notably pins with his picture on the shirts of the team staff. Taylor's brother, Ed, said a few words during the pregame festivities.
The Corsairs came into the game seeming better than they had all season, coming off an emotional 29-28 thriller at West L.A. College that was preceded by a tough road win in Santa Barbara. Their homecoming and their win streak would be spoiled by a lackluster fourth quarter.
"It feels very deflating," said offensive line coach Willie Roaf regarding going winless at home on the year. "Especially after winning two in a row on the road... Tough loss."
Now the Corsairs travel to Los Angeles Southwest for a 6 p.m. kickoff. They have earned the reputation as road warriors. The final two games will determine if they keep it.