Corsairs beat West LA in thriller 49-48

The Santa Monica College Corsairs came away with a victory in their most exciting game of the season Saturday afternoon, narrowly beating cross-town rival West Los Angeles College 49-48.

With less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter, the Corsairs took a seven-point lead going up 49-42 behind a beautifully orchestrated drive led by quarterback Christian Smith.

“I do think this is the type of game that can propel us through the end of the season,” said SMC quarterback Christian Smith. “This was a very close game, but towards the end we showed grit, and nobody can take that away from us.”

It looked as if the Corsairs had stolen the game in the closing moments. But in seemingly no time, West LA College quarterback Dallas Lopez had the Wildcats in SMC territory and in perfect position to strike, which is exactly what they did.

With 12.1 seconds left in the game, Lopez completed a high arching bomb down the left side for a touchdown, leaving the Wildcats just an extra point shy of tying the game. But in a truly daring move, the West LA coaching staff elected to go for the win.

The Wildcats lined up for the two-point conversion, and the crowd went wild; trying desperately to give their exhausted defense the only boost they knew how to give.

As West LA hiked the ball, they tossed it to their running back up the right side, but before the Wildcat running back could make a move, SMC defensive back Kevin Johnson shot through the defensive line, stopping the play in the backfield, preserving the win for the Corsairs.

“It was a little pitch, and I got off my block and went and made the tackle. It felt good to step up and make a big play like that, SMC family you know what I mean? You try to make plays to win the game,” Corsair defensive back Kevin Johnson said.

This is the Corsairs third straight game giving up 30 or more points, which is a far cry from the dominating reputation Corsair defense had built over the past three seasons.

Although at the end of the day, the Corsairs came away with a victory and continued their conference win streak which now stands at 24. But if they plan on securing their fourth straight conference championship, they’re going to have to improve on the defensive side of the ball.

“This team is it’s own animal, it’s not like any of the other teams. We’re trying to find the right formulas, and continue to improve throughout the season,” said SMC head coach Gifford Lindheim.

The Corsairs needed this type of a victory to re-establish the swagger they seemed to have lost throughout the first part of the season.

But If the Corsairs are going to truly get back their swag, they will have to improve upon a performance even as impressive as Saturday’s.

“I always think, just give us one more play to make a stop, and to their credit they wanted to win the football game, but we wanted to win too,” said Lindheim. “We made a great play on the last play, and we were maybe one more play better than them today.”

The Corsairs will travel to LA Valley College next Saturday for a 6 p.m. matchup.