COSTA MESA — Five weeks into the season, the Orange Coast College football team finally got to utilize its victory formation. Now, after an 18-7 win over visiting San Diego Mesa Saturday, the Pirates enter a bye week hopeful that they can formulate some momentum to take into the second half of the campaign.
"A year ago, we were 4-0 in September," OCC Coach Mike Taylor said. "This year, we were 0-4. We're 1-0 in October. We talked about winning the rest of the month and we'll see."
The Pirates (1-4) scored on all three of their first-quarter possessions, then relied on their defense and methodical ground game to hold down the Olympians (0-5) and drain the clock.
For the second straight week, the OCC ground attack produced two backs with triple-digit rushing totals.
Freshmen Robert Penny and Bill Chimphalee, who combined for 235 yards and three touchdowns on 40 carries in a 42-35 loss at Grossmont on Sept. 25, paired to compile 250 yards on 46 attempts.
Penny gained 144 yards to help the Pirates collect 19 of their 24 first downs on the ground.
But Chimphalee's 24-yard run late in the third quarter was OCC's only ground gain of more than 11 yards. The passing attack netted pickups of 34, 21 and 21 yards, all on receptions by sophomore tight end Jeff Waldron, a Costa Mesa High product.
Waldron scored the first touchdown on a 21-yard connection with Zach Emde, who finished five for 10 for 87 yards with one interception. The touchdown pass doubled OCC's total for the season.
"It was fun," said Waldron, who was also part of a blocking front wall that included tackles Robert Wright and Kyle Donaldson, guards Mike Meyer, Stuart Strohter and Travis Whitlock, as well as center Alec Davis.
OCC rolled up 39 minutes, 36 seconds in time of possession.
Defensively, linebackers Earnie Sagiao (nine tackles), Eric Wiersma and Travis McNaughton, combined for 22 tackles.
Sophomore safety Bryan Pali had seven tackles and one of OCC's two interceptions.
Sophomore end Bryce Brantley had a sack, his fourth of the season.
"I thought our defense played great," said Taylor, whose team surely benefitted from playing the least-productive offense in the 37-school Southern California Football Assn.
Mesa, which came in averaging 7.5 points per game, failed to hit that number, producing just 85 yards rushing and 46 passing.
"We have a lot better team than our record shows," Waldron said. "I think we all see this win as something we can build on going into conference."
After the bye, the Pirates open Eastern Conference Central Division play at Riverside.
Orange Coast 18, San Diego Mesa 7
SCORE BY QUARTERS
SD Mesa 0 – 7 – 0 – 0 — 7
OCC 16 – 2 – 0 – 0 — 18
OCC – Waldron 21 pass from Emde (kick blocked), 12:01.
OCC – Maake 1 run (Vandeman kick), 7:36.
OCC – Vandeman 22 FG, 0:38.
SDM – Christian 1 run (Johnson kick), 14:09.
OCC – Safety, snap out of end zone, 3:15.
SDM – Okidi, 20-83.
OCC – Penny, 25-144; Chimphalee, 21-106.
SDM – Robledo-Yanez, 3-6-1, 31.
OCC – Emde, 5-10-1, 87, 1 TD.
SDM – Peck, 2-15.
OCC – Waldron, 3-76, 1 TD.