COSTA MESA—Last year, in Pasadena City College football Coach Fred Fimbres’ first year, his team had only three wins, but one of them was in his debut to start the season and another was a signature win in the conference opener against then-nationally ranked Fullerton. This year, five games into the season, coach Fimbres and his Lancers went into their matchup with Golden West College Saturday night still looking for a win of any kind.
Finally, the wait is over, as Pasadena City College got into the win column with a 17-9 nonconference victory over the Rustlers at LeBard Stadium on the campus of Orange Coast College.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Fimbres. “We’ve been talking to the guys every week about trying to play 60 minutes, play a complete game, stay together. I think today, except for a couple miscues, it was good to see the results of them doing what they were asked to do.”
PCC (1-5) went into the fourth quarter leading, 10-9, with its first win in sight. On the first Rustler possession of the quarter, Golden West drove within 10 yards of the lead before the Lancer defense pushed it back. Andrew Nedrano got a sack for a 12-yard loss. After a false start by Golden West put it back to the 24-yard line, Rustler quarterback Ryan Watson was pressured by Gary London, leading to an interception by Trayvon Watson in the end zone.
The next PCC possession ended with a 26-yard field goal attempt blocked by Rustler Malcolm Smith, leaving PCC clinging to the slim one-point lead. London and Trayvon Watson then did it once again, respectively pressuring then intercepting the Rustler quarterback for a second time. The second fourth-quarter pickoff gave the ball to the Lancers 19 yards from an insurance touchdown. Marciss Grigsby got that score with a 15-yard touchdown run to the right corner of the end zone. The extra-point kick was good, and PCC led, 17-9, with 2:53 to go. The Rustlers, still within one touchdown and a two-point conversion from a tie, frantically drove down the field but came up empty, and the Lancers were winless no more.
“It’s hard work, man. Honestly, I don’t know what to say right now. I’m so shocked right now we won. We’re just going to keep up the good work and keep fighting on,” Trayvon Watson said. “We’ve got four more games to go, and we’re going to win four more games.”
The vision of that first win got blurry very early for PCC. The Lancers got the ball first and on their first snap, quarterback Justin Posthuma threw an interception to Golden West’s Robert Van Deripe, setting up the hosts 33 yards from the end zone. On the following snap, the Rustlers’ first, quarterback Ryan Watson ran into the line and bounced out to the right, going 33 yards for a touchdown. After 24 seconds, PCC trailed, 7-0.
The Lancers went on to control the rest of the first quarter, possessing the ball for 10:27 compared to Golden West’s 4:33, and ran 20 plays compared to the hosts’ seven. On PCC’s second possession, the Lancers turned to Grigsby, handing him the ball four times straight to get started. The Lancers got to the 10-yard line, but a Van Deripe sack made Pasadena settle for a 37-yard field goal by Martin Magna. It was the first points scored in the first quarter by Pasadena this season. Grigsby had 10 carries for 51 yards in the first half, and finished with 20 carries for 95 yards and the one key touchdown.
The first victory of the 2012 season for PCC came into better focus late in the second half. On their fifth possession, Posthuma connected with Mitchell Crockom for a 26-yard pass completion to get started. Posthuma then converted two third downs through the air to keep the drive alive and finished it with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Tairen Owens. The freshman, formerly of Muir High, ran a skinny post pattern to get open and, after the kick the Lancers led, 10-7, with 54 seconds left. It was an advantage PCC took into halftime, its first halftime lead of the season, with its first win in sight.
Things started to get foggy for the Lancers at the start of the third. The Rustlers got the ball to start, but Lancer Dwayne Reed, who had a sack in the first half, took it away when he recovered a Watson fumble at the PCC 19-yard line. The ensuing PCC drive was a disaster. Before the first snap, they were called for two offsides penalties, then burnt a time out. PCC did not get a first down, and the long snap on fourth down sailed over punter Manny Meza’s head and across the back line for a safety.
The following Golden West (2-4) possession looked to have ground to a halt, but the Rustlers used a fake punt to keep the drive going and trigger a bizarre series of events. Punter Brett Beighton threw a 12-yard completion to Van Deripe for the first down. After the play, a ruckus started on the Golden West sideline. Out of the mob of Rustlers, Lancer Dashon Wade emerged without his helmet. Both teams rallied around their coaches and Wade was ejected. The incident fired up the Lancers, and Steven Williams got a sack on the next play, followed by a Rustler run for no gain, and then on third down a pass interference call on PCC that was waved off, leading to an actual punt.
“I’m excited for the players and the coaches. They do all the work,” Fimbres said as the Lancers celebrated their win. “The players most importantly. They work really hard.”