CORSAIR FIELD — Santa Monica College held off a late rally by Pierce Saturday to secure a win, 37-31, at home.
Pierce drove the ball all the way to the Corsairs’ 26-yard line but came up short when quarterback Jake Basmagian threw a low pass to wide receiver Joseph Morris that ended their rally.
The Corsairs got the ball back and lined up into their victory formation that ended the game.
“When it counted the most we stopped him,” Head Coach Gifford Lindheim said after his defense allowed a rally against San Bernardino Valley a couple weeks ago and was very pleased with how they responded not allowing Pierce to do the same.
Pierce struck first with a 44-yard touchdown pass from Basmagian to wide receiver Joseph Morris. The Corsairs were unable to get things started early in the first quarter. Late in the quarter the Corsairs made their move capitalizing off of a Basmagian interception. Two plays later quarterback Alfonso Medina found wide receiver Kris Comas for a 14-yard touchdown, but the extra point was blocked giving Pierce a one point lead, 7-6.
A few possession changes later the Corsairs struck again this time with a two-yard run by running back Myles Johnson that put them up 14-7 with the two point conversion successful to end the first quarter.
The Corsairs found the end zone early in the second quarter with another Medina to Comas pitch and catch to put them up 21-7. Both teams would get one last score in before half-time with a Medina to wide receiver Frank Murray touchdown to put the Corsairs up 28-7. Pierce responded right back before the half with a Matt Rasmussen touchdown pass to Grego Wanamaker as time expired to pull Pierce closer, 28-14.
You could feel the momentum slowly switching sides as Pierce came out of half-time fired up and responded with a two-play, 28-yard drive that ended with a Wanamaker touchdown run from five yards away that pulled pierce within a score 28-21.
Pierce was later stopped at the Corsair 16-yard line, settling for a field goal that put the score at 28-24 in favor of SMC.
It was turning into a shoot-out heading into the fourth quarter. Pierce was on the move and was in Corsair territory when Basmagian threw another interception. The Corsairs responded with a Trevor Dionne field goal to put them up 31-24.
Pierce was still looking to rally as Basmagian found Satterfield-Row for a 29-yard touchdown pass that tied the game at 31.
The Corsairs were very familiar with this situation as San Bernardino Valley rallied against them a few weeks ago. The defense stayed poised, forcing Pierce into a pair of three-and-out situations, capitalizing with two field goals of their own to put them up 37-31.
Pierce would have one shot to tie it up and force overtime. They started on their own 32-yard line and was able to push the ball all the way to the Corsair 26 after a key fourth down conversion run by Basmagian that kept the drive alive. Unfortunately, they were unable to repeat their success when a Basmagian pass fell short of its target giving the Corsairs the ball back to end the game.