PASADENA- Pasadena City College came into its football game hosting Moorpark College coming off its first win of the season last week and looking for its first Southern California Football Assn. National Conference win this week. The game was also a rematch of the 2002 Potato Bowl, although Saturday night’s game at Robinson Stadium could have been called the Hot Potato Bowl, as both teams combined for nine turnovers. However, it was the visiting Raiders who took the most advantage by scoring 22 points off turnovers to Pasadena’s 12 en route to a 36-15 victory.
Both teams came in with identical records and they seemed intent on mirroring each other mistake for mistake as they swapped the ball back and forth on turnovers.
“Turnovers kill you every day. It doesn’t matter what day it is. Today, apparently, we had many more than we needed,” second-year Lancer coach Fred Fimbres, whose team gave the ball up five times, said.
Pasadena City College (1-6, 0-3) went down, 17-0, before scoring the game’s next 15 points. They finished the first half with a 26-yard field goal by Martin Magana and trailed by 14 at half. Moorpark started with the ball in the third quarter and on the fourth play running back Maxx Lunn fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Lancer Steven Williams. Zeek Julien then came in at quarterback for PCC replacing starter Justin Posthuma, who threw two first-half interceptions, one of which was in the end zone and the second of which led to a Raider touchdown drive. The change immediately paid dividends as Julien took his second snap and ran it 49 yards on a quarterback option to the right for a touchdown. The ensuing PAT kick by Magana was blocked by Raider Saladin McCullough. It marked the first PAT kick missed by the freshman, who came in 10 for 10.
Moorpark (2-5, 1-2) then got the ball back and on the second play of the drive, Lunn promptly fumbled again, with the ball once again being recovered by Williams. Six plays later the Lancers scored again, this time on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Julien to Cameron Washington, who caught the ball over the middle and fought his way through a gang of tacklers to score. The Lancers then went for two and failed, leaving a game that could have been tied still tilted toward the Raiders 17-15.
After Moorpark seized control of the game once more with an 11-play, 65-yard touchdown drive complete with a successful PAT kick, the teams traded places and repeated the sequence of fumbles and scores. Lancer Marciss Grigsby coughed up the ball on the first play following the long Raider scoring drive after being stripped by Marc Palacios. The Lancer defense, which was led in tackles by Dalyou Pierson with 11, looked to have covered for Grigsby when Tyler Marona recovered a fumble caused by Earl Glinton, but a costly live-ball personal foul call on Egberto Foster negated that and two plays later the Raiders scored again. Like the Lancers, the Raiders then missed the PAT kick that followed the score off the turnover.
Two plays into the next Lancer drive, PCC fumbled the ball away again when Julien was hit in the hands with an unexpected shotgun snap and the Raiders fell on the ball at the Lancer 24-yard line. The Raiders then took nine plays to cover those 24 yards, finishing with a five-yard pass from quarterback Max Leffler to Justin Robertson. That score would be the final points of the game as the Raiders, like the Lancers, went for two and failed to convert.
“We put Zeek in the game and run the option stuff with him and obviously we thought we had something going and then we had some poor ball exchanges [and] some errant snaps,” Fimbres said.
To start the contest, Pasadena’s opening possession ended in a season’s best 64-yard punt by Manny Meza. On Moorpark’s first snap on offense, Raider quarterback Max Leffler then threw into double coverage down the right side of the field and was picked off by PCC’s Trayvon Watson, who, with two fourth-quarter picks last week, was one of the heroes in Pasadena’s first victory of the season over Golden West, 17-9. But in continuing the parallel, seven plays later, PCC quarterback Justin Posthuma was intercepted in the back corner of the end zone by a diving McCullough.
After a three-and-out possession by each team, Moorpark got the scoring started with a 24-yard touchdown run by Maxx Lunn. The Lancers looked to answer, but Posthuma was intercepted once again, this time before they had managed a first down. The pick was made by Victor Fermin, who came into the contest tied for the state lead in interceptions with five. The visiting Raiders converted the turnover into points seven plays later on a one-yard touchdown run by Roberson. On the drive, Lunn caught an 18-yard screen pass to get Moorpark within three feet of the end zone. Lunn was a workhorse for Moorpark throughout the matchup, with 17 carries for 93 yards and the one score in the first half, and 30 carries for 140 yards overall.
Both squads mounted long drives in the second quarter, with neither resulting in touchdowns to continue their synchronicity. The Raiders went 15 plays, holding the ball for 8:05, and covering 70 yards before Leffler fumbled at the one-yard line and PCC’s Gary London recovered. However, Lancer Zander Anding fumbled on the next play, eventually resulting in a 22-yard field goal by Derek Kirk. Pasadena followed with a 14-play drive that culminated with Magana’s 26-yard field goal with 22 seconds left in the first half.
So, in a game of parallel miscues, it was Moorpark who took the most advantage while also completing more successfully executed drives to come out with their first conference win, something PCC will try to get next week hosting Allan Hancock. The Raiders also won the 2002 Potato Bowl.