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Santa Monica Pushed to Limit by Pierce, 31-29

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

Coming into Saturday night’s Western State Conference game against Santa Monica College, Pierce was riding a high.

A week ago, the Brahmas registered their first win by thumping hapless West Los Angeles--the conference whipping boy.

But after being edged, 31-29, at Santa Monica, Pierce Coach Bob Enger wasn’t brimming with optimism about the rest of the season.

“Right now we’d be happy to beat four nuns,” Enger said.

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However, late in the second half, it appeared as if the Brahmas (1-6 overall, 1-5 in conference play), who trailed, 21-0, at halftime, might register a comeback victory.

Pierce tailback Cassius Auzout scored on a 1-yard run with a minute to play and Desmond Wells ran in the conversion to bring the Brahmas to within 2 points.

But Santa Monica recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.

Late in the first half, Paul Bonner replaced freshman quarterback Ronnie Lopez, who had suffered a bruised shoulder. Bonner put on an impressive performance, hitting receiver Chad Zeigler on a 36-yard strike with 6:24 remaining in the third quarter to pull Pierce to within 21-14.

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“Lopez and Bonner will be alternating from here on out,” Enger said.

Mario Henriquez countered with a 22-yard field goal with 10:52 to play to give Santa Monica a 10-point lead.

But Pierce came back again. With 7:28 to play, Auzout scored from 2 yards and the Brahmas trailed, 24-21.

With 2:39 remaining, quarterback Daryl Hobbs scored on a 6-yard keeper to give Santa Monica (3-4, 3-3) a 31-21 lead.


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