Saddleback, after playing horribly for a half, stormed back to beat Orange Coast College, 22-21, in a Mission Conference Central Division game Saturday night at Saddleback College.
The Gauchos (6-1, 2-0 in the division) scored with 1:54 left on fourth and two when Marcellus Chrishon went 24 yards around right end to cut OCC's lead to 21-20.
On the two-point conversion, quarterback Tim Snowden pitched to running back Marc Bohn who pulled up and floated the ball into the back of the end zone where Dan Zamora was alone.
The catch set off a wild celebration along the Saddleback sideline.
"I wasn't sure if the pass was ever going to come down," Saddleback offensive coordinator Bill Cunerty said. "The play worked because everyone did their job of selling the option."
But Saddleback's victory party was nearly cut short.
The Pirates (5-2, 0-2) got a 46-yard kickoff return from Eric Washington to put the ball on the Saddleback 42. OCC got as close as the 29, but faced with fourth and six, it sent out kicker Carlos Ornelas with 50 seconds left. Ornelas' 42-yard attempt was low and short.
Perhaps more painful than the late miss for OCC, was the Pirates' failure to score when they were near the goal line in the final minute of the first half.
OCC's defense intercepted five passes by Snowden in the half, including one by Dan Petrone at the Saddleback 35 with 56 seconds left.
Quarterback Donnie Smith then completed a 33-yard pass to Cullen Plousha to give OCC a first down at the Saddleback two with 49 seconds left. OCC gained a yard on a dive play, lost five on a penalty, then got two on a pass to get to the four-yard line. Smith's third-down pass fell incomplete as time expired.
The officials met to see if any time should be put back on the clock but decided to end the half with OCC ahead, 21-7.
"We just looked at each other and said that we played as poorly as we could and were only down by 14," said Snowden, who was three of 13 for 60 yards and five interceptions in the first half. He finished the game seven of 21 for 116 yards and five interceptions, including three in a row at one point.
Saddleback used the running game to control the second half as Chrishon amassed 96 yards in 16 carries. He had 151 yards in 27 tries for the game.
Chrishon, who scored on a two-yard run in the first quarter, also scored from one yard with 41 seconds left in the third quarter to cut the lead to 21-14.
OCC's scores came on a five-yard run by Washington in the first quarter, a 20-yard run with a fumble by offensive guard Jason Butler, and a seven-yard pass from Smith to Brian Higgins in the second quarter.