Defense key to victory

Game goes down to final drive

Santa Monica College (5-2) held off a late rally from Pierce College (3-3) this past Saturday, to seal the 37-31 victory.

On Pierce’s final drive, they would make it all the way to the Corsair 26-yard line before a low, angled pass from quarterback Jake Basmagian to wide receiver Joseph Morris fell to the turf, giving the ball back to the Corsairs.

With 51 seconds left on the clock, the Corsairs simply ran out the clock.

While the offense put up the points, it was ultimately the defense that sealed victory for the Corsairs.

Head Coach Gifford Lindheim felt confident in the defense’s ability, as he would give the ball back to Pierce after punting on a fourth and one situation early in the fourth quarter.

In the end, the defense made the stops that mattered. “I just knew our defense was going to come through at some point in the second half,” Lindheim said. “When it counted the most, we stopped them.”

The defense forced six turnovers, including four fumbles.

Pierce would strike first, scoring on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Basmagian to Morris, giving them a 7-0 advantage.

After some stagnant drives from both sides, SMC quarterback Alfonso Medina connected with wide receiver Kriss Comas for a 14 yard touchdown pass that would have tied the game, but Pierce blocked the extra-point.

The Corsairs eventually returned the favor, recovering a Pierce botched punt-return.

The Corsairs capitalized on the turnover with a two-yard touchdown run by running back Myles Johnson, who had 122 yards rushing on 23 carries and the lone touchdown.

Comas, who had been suspended in the Corsairs’ last game, showed why he is a key player in the offense. He snatched a Medina pass away from a Pierce defender for his second score of the day to put the Corsairs up 21-7 after a two-point conversion.

“I know I didn’t play last game, so I was coming back hard,” Comas said on his spectacular catch. “I didn’t want my quarterback to get an interception.”

He finished the game, hauling in three passes for 63 yards with two touchdowns.

Pierce came out of the half down 28-14, but continued quickly found momentum on their side.

They scored on their first possession with a 5-yard touchdown run by Wanamaker, then capitalized on a Medina interception, kicking a field goal to pull Pierce within 4 points going into the fourth quarter 28-24.

Corsairs’ defensive lineman Martin Perry stopped a potential scoring drive by Pierce after intercepting Basmagian. The interception would lead to another field goal by kicker Trevor Dionne, giving the Corsairs a 31-24 lead.

Pierce took no time in responding to their previous mishap, scoring off a 29-yard touchdown pass that evened the game at 31.

After kicking two fourth quarter field goals, the Corsairs would take a 37-31 lead with two minutes and 37 seconds remaining.

Pierce would get the ball back on their 32-yard and drive the length of the field, only to be stopped by the Corsair Defense.

Next week, the Corsairs battle the defending champions, L.A. Valley College in SMC’s Homecoming game.

“That’s the champion,” Lindheim said “if you want to be the best you have to beat the best.”