Corsairs pull off thrilling comeback
Everything was slipping away. Jeers started to rain down from the home crowd, frustration threatening to boil over amongst fans and players as well. All that the Corsairs had accomplished during the season was about to be washed away. Then, the improbable happened. History was made on the gridiron as Santa Monica College overcame a 26 point deficit to defeat conference rival LA Pierce 50-47 to continue their eight game winning streak, giving them sole possession of first place in the Pacific Conference.
The Corsairs found themselves down halfway in the third quarter 40-14. Pierce quarterback Nick Arbuckle had just thrown his fifth touchdown pass of the game. On the pursuing drive, SMC started to build momentum with a 61 yard run by running back Myles Johnson, which was followed by a four-yard touchdown run by running back Aaron Jones that would cut the deficit to 40-21.
The Corsairs then scored again as Alfonso Medina connected with Ralph Gordon II for a 21-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 12.
“I thought after we made a couple of big plays that we were unstoppable,” said Head Coach Gifford Lindheim.
Medina completed 22 of 38 passes for 379 yards with six touchdowns. Gordon had five receptions for 118 yards, with three ending in touchdowns.
“We started off sluggish in the first half. At halftime, we went in to have a talk and we got it together. We came out dominating,” Gordon said.
The fourth quarter was the turning point of the game, when SMC began to exert their indomitable will.
Their defensive intensity rose and started to smother Pierce. The Corsairs forced Arbuckle into several interceptions, a stark contrast from the first half. Corsair wide receiver Reggie Mitchell picked off a few of those passes. “Even when we were trailing, we never got down. We basically lifted each other up to play even better. As a defense, we have to be ready for every moment,” said Mitchell.
With SMC still down 47-42 late in the fourth, Medina found Jones for a 37 yard touchdown, Jones’ second of the game. The Corsairs pushed ahead 50-47, completing the monumental comeback.
Pierce had one final chance to steal the win, but they turned the ball over, sealing yet another Corsair victory.
Santa Monica College will try and clinch their second consecutive conference championship next Saturday at Antelope Valley College at 7 p.m.