Second Half Miscues Result in Tough Loss for Corsair Football
The Corsairs suffered another defeat this past Sat., Nov. 7, as they gave up 16 unanswered points in a 19-18 loss to the Los Angeles Southwest College Cougars on the road.
The win ended a season-long eight-game losing streak for the Cougars as the Corsairs let another impressive first half melt away with a poor second half performance.
Corsair defensive end Roderick Benman forced a fumble that was recovered and downed by the Cougars in their own end-zone, thus counting as a safety. The Cougars scored just three points during the entire first-half as the Corsair defense dominated the line of scrimmage.
Head Coach Gifford Lindheim said that it was important for his players to "start fast and stay on top of them.
"We did that initially, but I was disappointed we let them get back in the game."
The second series of the fourth quarter saw the momentum swing firmly and irreversibly towards the Cougars favor. Still trailing 18-9, the Cougar defense roared up. Scribner was sacked for an 11-yard loss and Kendall Gordan's subsequent run on 3rd-and-18 resulted in a Cougar defender popping the ball out of Gordan's grip, scooping the loose ball up, and rumbling 55 yards for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 18-16.
The Corsairs fought back valiantly but their ground game collapsed when starting quarterback Zach Scribner threw his second interception of the game. The Corsair defense mounted another admirable stand, sacking the Cougar quarterback for an 11-yard loss. They punted two plays later.
SMC's next possession began with just under five minutes left in the fourth quarter. The ground game had been effective up to that point, and few first downs would have run-out the clock and preserved the victory. Alas, the Corsairs held the ball only three seconds before Travis Rawls lost a fumble that was then recovered by the Cougars.
This turnover was particularly destructive to the team's hopes since it put the still-trailing Cougars at the 20-yard line, already within field-goal range. They scored the final points of the game on a 34-yard field goal and didn't look back, making the final score a devastatingly close 19-18.
The Corsair offense became turnover-prone in the second half. Scribner threw two of his interceptions in the second half, one of them when there were just 22 second left on the clock, and while the Corsairs had enough time for two attempted drives to win the game it simply wasn't enough as the team shot itself in the foot with a costly holding penalty, giving them 2nd-and-20 at their 34-yard line.
An 18-yard pass by Scribner to Sayyid Rivers gave them 4th-and-2, but the fourth-down rush by Kendall Gordon only picked up one yard, turning the ball over on downs.
The Corsairs had one last chance to win the game with 22 seconds left, but Scribner was intercepted on his second pass, which iced the game.
The Corsair defense put up another impressive effort this week, allowing just eight completions off of 22 attempts for a paltry 73 yards. They also piled on five sacks. Most importantly to a defense's success was stopping the run. They were victorious in that department, allowing only 42 net yards on 37 Cougar rushes.
Roderick Benman shined yet again, compiling 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles-for-loss, as well as a forced fumble that resulted in a safety. In total, the Corsair defense swarmed all over the Cougars to the tune of 16 tackles-for-loss, and 6 passes defended. Despite the overall great defensive effort, it wasn't enough to stop the Cougars from scoring the final 16 points that got them the one-point victory.
Coach Lindheim was proud of how the team faired initially in the first half. Lindheim stated the Corsairs "played well and did what we were supposed to do, but we didn't do it for an entire four quarters, and the result was a tough loss."
The Corsairs travel to Los Angeles Pierce College this Saturday in hopes of defeating the soon-to-be-crowned Conference Champions,as well as playing spoiler to Pierce College's six-game winning streak.