Orange Coast showed off its ability to come up with the big play and Golden West suffered greatly from its inability to get off a play Saturday as OCC won, 31-28, in a Mission Conference Central Division opener at OCC.
Orange Coast (1-3, 1-0) led, 28-14, at the half but Golden West came back to tie it with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. The first came on a seven-yard pass from Dan Blahy to tight end Rob Crabtree with 9 minutes 31 seconds left.
OCC’s Quincy Wimbush fumbled the kickoff and Golden West’s Andy Thorne recovered it and went 33 yards to the OCC two. Charles Chatman leaped into the end zone on the next play and Kevin Bever’s extra point tied it, 28-28, with 9:31 to play.
But OCC quarterback Matt Sauk, playing despite a sore right ankle that forced him out of the game in the first half, moved OCC into field-goal position. He had completions of 35 and 11 yards as OCC moved to the Golden West 34. Nate Bennett kicked a 48-yard field goal to put OCC ahead, 31-28, with 5:25 left.
After each team punted, Golden West started the final drive at its 30 with 2:29 to go. Blahy completed four passes, three to Wesley Morris, for 40 yards in helping his team reach the OCC 18 with 24 seconds to go and no time outs left. He went back to pass and was chased and tackled after a one-yard gain by OCC linebackers Steve Gonzales and J.J. Smith with about 15 seconds left. Amid the confusion and not facing the clock, the Rustlers couldn’t get organized before time ran out.
Orange Coast built a 28-14 halftime lead on spectacular performances of Sauk, running back William League and wide receivers Tramon Thomas and Tim Lane.
League set an OCC record for longest touchdown run when he went 91 yards to give OCC a 21-7 lead with 14:02 left in the half.
Thomas caught a touchdown pass for eight yards for the first score of the game. But his biggest play came when he tipped the ball over a Golden West defender, caught it, and raced the final 10 yards of a 56-yard touchdown pass play to put OCC ahead, 28-7, with 11:22 left in the half. Lane caught a 67-yard touchdown pass to break a 7-7 tie.
Sauk was four of six for 145 yards in the first half and finished 11 of 17 for 255 yards in the game.
Golden West’s Morris caught seven passes for 65 yards and also returned a kickoff from two yards deep in the end zone for a touchdown in the first quarter.