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Pierce Struggles, Then Burns East L.A. at the End, 19-10

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A magical carpet ride it wasn’t.

Both Pierce and East Los Angeles colleges struggled offensively on the synthetic surface at East Los Angeles’ Weingart Stadium for the better part of Saturday night’s season opener, but the Brahmas finally caught fire, scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to give first-year Coach Bill Norton a 19-10 victory.

Sophomore tailback LaShante Parker was the chief rug rat for Pierce, rushing for 157 yards in 22 carries and scoring two touchdowns. Parker’s 34-yard run put Pierce ahead to stay, and Arie McQuaig (60 yards in 14 carries) added a four-yard scoring run with 7 minutes 47 seconds to play to seal the victory.

The Pierce defense dominated East L.A., pressuring quarterback Oscar Tavera repeatedly and sacking him twice. Tavera, a converted linebacker filling in for injured starter Santiago Alvarez, completed just 12 of 31 passes for 74 yards and had one pass intercepted.

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The Brahmas limited the Huskies to 35 rushing yards and 109 yards overall.

Pierce quarterback Joe Pica completed 11 of 29 for 97 yards. He threw one interception, the only Brahma turnover.

Neither team could mount much of an offense in the first half. The Brahmas rushed for just 38 yards in the first two periods and had 123 yards at halftime.

East L.A. was even less productive, gaining 36 yards on the ground and 86 total in the first half.

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Pierce had just one sustained drive, marching 77 yards in 12 plays in the first period. The Brahmas mixed their plays well on the march, and Parker scored on a two-yard run.

Frank Diana’s conversion attempt sailed wide right, and Pierce led, 6-3, with 6:46 left in the period.

Of the Brahmas’ five other series in the first half, they punted three times, failed on a fake punt attempt and failed on a fourth-down pass.

East L.A. scored on the first series of the game, moving from its own 35 to the Pierce 19 in nine plays. The drive stalled there, and Francisco Ortega booted a 36-yard field goal to put the Huskies ahead, 3-0.

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East L.A. scored again midway through the second period after taking over at the Pierce 47. The 10-play march was culminated by Tavera’s nine-yard touchdown pass to Steven Corpus. Ortega added the kick, and the Huskies led, 10-6, with 7:53 to play in the first half.


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