PASADENA — Justin Posthuma hadn't played a football game since his last hurrah as a St. Francis High quarterback nearly two years ago.
Getting his first collegiate start Saturday night with Pasadena City College against Glendale Community College in both teams' season opener at Robinson Field, Posthuma flashed the poise and playmaking ingenuity that made him an All-CIF first-team pick as a senior with the Golden Knights. After rallying the Lancers to a big early lead, Posthuma tossed two second-half touchdowns to seal a 49-28 nonconference victory and cap off a five-touchdown, 323-yard passing performance.
"It's great to get back on the field, it feels good," said Posthuma, who redshirted at UCLA last season.
Posthuma's arm accounted for the first 14 points of the second half — touchdown passes of 12 and 32 yards to Kwajo Bonsu and St. Francis product Ian Hamilton, respectively — the last of which doubled the Lancers' lead to an insurmountable 49-14 margin with 30 seconds left in the third quarter. His drop-back passing ability was on display, evidenced by a 96-yard touchdown bomb in the first half, and he also proved adept at escaping trouble when he scrambled to find an open receiver for another score to end the second quarter.
"I think we made enough mistakes tonight offensively and defensively for a season's worth," Glendale Coach John Rome said. "Defensively, I thought we missed a lot of tackles and gave them extended play opportunities."
Despite falling behind by 28 points early, Glendale looked to have forced its way back into the game by scoring two unanswered touchdowns on consecutive possessions inside the final 4:30 of the second quarter.
The Vaqueros' defense followed up the second of those scores — a 20-yard strike from quarterback Kevin Hunter (21 of 40 passing for 207 yards and two touchdowns) to Eugene Gandara that made the score 28-14 with 1:00 left in the half — with an interception of Posthuma by Osa Aikhionbare in the end zone as the Lancers were knocking once again with a first down at the Glendale 24-yard line.
Instead of taking a manageable deficit into the locker room, however, the Vaqueros ran two more plays, the second of which resulted in a fumbled snap recovered by Pasadena's Khambrell Gomez with 3.9 seconds on the clock.
Posthuma then took a broken play, on which he bobbed and weaved his way out of no less than half a dozen tackle attempts, and connected with Jameel Hassan in the back of the end zone from 20 yards out as time expired.
"Jameel made a great play," said Posthuma, who completed 18 of his 22 passing attempts. "I've been telling these guys we've got to work on scramble drill and he ran to the back corner of the end zone and I saw him wide open. I just gave him the ball and he did the rest.
"It was pretty big. After that pick, I was pretty down on myself and I felt like this next drive was going to either make or break me. …I was glad we just bounced back and scored right away, we needed that."
Glendale would never get back within three touchdowns, although the Vaqueros did score the final 14 points of the game on a two-yard run by Joseph Wiggan that capped a seven-play, 40-yard drive at the 13:09 mark of the fourth quarter, followed by Omar Barrera-Sanchez's five-yard rushing score to complete a nine-play, 60-yard drive with under a minute to play.
"We made the kind of mistakes that really set you back and really give the other team momentum when we could have had it at that point," said Rome, whose team also coughed up a fumble on the Lancer's seven-yard line midway through the first quarter that killed its first promising drive of the game. "I thought the halftime score should have been, at the very worst, 21-28. I think we'll get better."
The Lancers scored on their first four possessions of the game, alternating between yard-churning drives down the field and quick home-run scoring plays to build a 28-0 lead by the 12:07 mark of the second quarter.
James Owens capped a nine-play, 60-yard march with a one-yard rush to make it 7-0 at the 10:43 mark and it was Owens (145 yards on 12 carries) doubling the lead at the 7:54 mark with an 80-yard breakaway on the first play from scrimmage of Pasadena's second possession.
Posthuma then engineered a nine-play, 95-yard drive to close the first quarter, hitting Ben Childs with his fifth pass of the drive for a 10-yard touchdown at the 0:13 mark. The former Golden Knight found his way into the record book at the 12:07 mark of the second quarter, putting the Lancers up, 28-0, on a 96-yard touchdown pass, the longest in school history, to a wide-open Jose Rodriguez streaking straight down the field.
Rodriguez raced the last 70-plus yards after the catch untouched to the end zone for the longest Lancers hookup in 55 years (93 yards).
"The scoreboard and the amount of points and yardage was quite impressive, but to be critical and know what we were really trying to do, we've got a long ways to go," Pasadena Coach Fred Fimbres said. "There's no way we can come away from this and be satisfied or happy with what we did. We're going to pursue perfection."