The 2019 Pasadena City College football team did something over its final three games that no Lancers team had accomplished in 67 years. PCC didn't allow a touchdown or field goal over its final 12 quarters of play and capped its first above-.500 season since 2008 with its second straight shutout, 35-0, over Santa Barbara City College Saturday night at Robinson Stadium.
The Lancers outscored their last three opponents, 98-2, including back-to-back shutouts (first time in 45 years) as they closed out the season with a 6-4 record. PCC finished in second place in the SCFA American Pacific League at 4-1 and closed the year on a 4-game winning streak. Steven Mojarro is the first PCC head coach to reach a .600 winning percentage since James Kuk's 2008 Lancers went 7-4 overall. That was also the last time a PCC squad made it to a bowl game, winning the Santa Barbara Tremblay Bowl over Southwestern.
Only a blocked kick for a 2-point conversion return by Santa Monica early in the third quarter back on Nov. 2 (a 30-2 victory) prevented PCC from spinning three straight shutouts, last done by the 1952 Pasadena Junior College Bulldogs, who had four consecutive blankings that season.
Against SBCC, the Lancers got things rolling with 6:46 left in the first quarter when lefty quarterback Edward Norton completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jabari Kindle. Bracamonte Bucio kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead and ended the night perfect 5-for-5 on his PATs. The score was set up on a 29-yard aerial by Norton to Wheeler Smith that moved the ball into Vaqueros territory.
Near the end of the period, a 16-yard sack by outside linebacker Craig Francois pinned Santa Barbara at its own 5. A 17-yard punt return by Andy Reyes gave the Lancers great field position at the SBCC 35. Although it took 11 plays, including converting on a 4th-and-1, PCC punched it into the end zone on a 1-yard dive by running back Salman Gurung for a 14-0 lead just 4:07 into the second quarter.
On the next series, PCC drove 10 plays for 70 yards with Gurung scoring his second touchdown on a 10-yard run up the middle and a 21-0 advantage. Darnell Williams ran five times for 33 yards on the drive as the team moved the chains for four first downs. The Lancers made it 28-0 just before halftime on an 8-yard TD scamper by second quarterback Kade Wentz.
In the second half, it was the Lancers defense that made big plays to keep the Vaqueros off the board including a heroic goal-line stand. SBCC went 12 plays to bring the ball to the PCC 1-yard line on second down. First, sophomore lineman Omar Delgado and second-year outside linebacker Hector Palacios combined to stop quarterback Scotty Forbes short of the end zone. On the next play, sophomore DT Robbie Kindle got through the line and brought down Forbes for a 2-yard loss. The Vaqueros went for it on 4th-and-goal but Forbes pass to the corner of the end zone was deflected by letterman safety Darren Meyers to end the scoring threat.
With 4:50 left in the third quarter, Meyers came up big on special teams, blocking a Ray Shay punt inside the 10 with fellow sophomore safety Shane Andrews returning the final few yards for the game's final touchdown.
Among the top defensive standouts were letterman linebacker Mark Navarro, who made a 33-yard interception return in the first half, Andrews, who led the team with seven tackles and two pass break-ups, and Francois, who made two of the team's six sacks. Sophomore linebacker Drew Pendleton added five tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, a hurry and pass break-up. Sophomore lineman Omar Delgado made five tackles with a sack and two hurries and Robbie Kindle (Jabari's older brother) also totaled five tackles.
Offensively, Gurung rushed for a game-high 61 yards in 11 carries while Norton added 13 runs for 58 yards. Williams contributed 53 yards in 12 attempts. In all, PCC used its ground game to eat up clock time with 49 rushes for 217 yards net. The defense limited Santa Barbara to 142 yards offense, just 27 rushing.
"All year, I felt we had a strong defense, but we faced that 4-game stretch against some really great teams," Mojarro said. "Once we were in our league games, I knew we could control our opponents because our secondary wasn't going to allow any big plays, and our pass rush, thanks to some smart schemes, caused havoc for the opposing quarterbacks. Our veteran talent on that side of the ball was our strength this season."
In the team's six wins, PCC allowed just a combined 41 points (6.8 average a game). In the last three games, the Lancers defense dominated, allowing only 424 total offensive yards, just 135 rushing in 85 plays (1.6 yards net per attempt). The defense finished No. 8 in the SCFA in yards allowed per game and 22nd in the state despite giving up 154 points in three losses to such powers as Saddleback, Chaffey and Allan Hancock, the APL champions.
2019 PCC FOOTBALL TEAM LEADERS
Sacks--Francois, 10, Palacios 7.5
Pass Break-Ups--Hartfield, 6, Andy Reyes 6
Passing--Edward Norton, 63-for-109 attempts, 835 yards, 11 TDs
Rushing--Norton, 111 carries, 714 yards, 6 TDs
Total Offense--Norton, 1,549 yards, 17 TDs
Receiving--David Telles, 40 catches, 446 yards, 5 TDs
All-Purpose Yards--Telles, 810 yards (312 return, 52 rushing)