Football Closes 9-1 Regular Season, Finish Undefeated 5-0 in APL Play

Michael Prappas (10), Mario Luna (50), Adrian Ramirez (44) and Ceasar Ramirez converge on a tackle in PCC's win (photo by Richard Quinton).
Michael Prappas (10), Mario Luna (50), Adrian Ramirez (44) and Ceasar Ramirez converge on a tackle in PCC's win (photo by Richard Quinton).

The Pasadena City College football team once again relied on its defense to complete a 9-1 regular season as the undefeated champions of the SCFA American Pacific League at 5-0. PCC used two big plays with a blocked punt for one touchdown an interception return for another to get by host Los Angeles Valley, 30-22, on Saturday afternoon.

It is the first time a PCC team went 9-1 in the regular season since the Lancers won the Mission Conference title in 2001. 

The Lancers led by as much as 24-7 by halftime as kicker Justin Vergara was perfect on field goals of 41, 22, and 35 yards. Less than four minutes into the game, defensive back and league MVP candidate Idrique Carmichael blocked a punt and Devon Mayes returned it 27 yards for a special teams defense TD. 

LA Valley (4-6, 1-4 in APL games) responded with a 72-yard interception return for a TD by Tony Newsome that cut it to 13-7 in the first quarter. It was the third time that PCC allowed a pick 6 this season. 

Damien Gonzales returned the ensuing kickoff 77 yards to set up the offense's only touchdown. Lefty quarterback Kekahi Graham hit Jacob Turowetz for a 13-yard TD pass and Turowetz, the holder on special teams kicks, followed with a fake for a 2-point conversion run.

In the second half, the Monarchs pushed the Lancers in scoring the first offensive TD in league play against PCC's defense, a 1-yard run by Bryan Massengale in the third quarter to cut it to 24-14. 

Torriq Brumfield would give the Lancers some distance as he picked off a sideline pass and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown with 31 seconds leff in the third quarter. A failed 2-point conversion pass kept the score at 30-14.

LAVC wouldn't quit as QB Wesley Tshimanga threw an 11-yard TD to receiver Harrison Bock, who then caught the conversion pass that turned things into a one score deficit with nine minutes left. 

A fumble on the ensuing kickoff gave LA Valley the ball at the PCC 45. A big 12-yard sack, the ninth of the game for the Lancers, was turned in by Kyden Bailey that stopped that drive. PCC's defense held tough on two more LAVC series, including Elijah Lewis intercepting a pass in the final minute that insured the victory.

Overall, Adrian Ramirez made a team-high nine tackles (seven solos) and a sack, Julius Ray forced two fumbles on two sacks for 25 negative yards, Brumfield had four tackles, two hurries, his pick 6, and a hurry while Carmichael had a breakup, the punt block and his state-leading seventh interception (tied with Cerritos Zedekiah Rodriguez-Brown). Jose Oliveros contributed four tackles, 1.5 sacks, a hurry and a fumble recovery.

Jachai Pulley added six tackles and a hurry, Bailey five tackles, Israel Duncan five tackles and a half-sack, Michael Prappas four tackles, a pass breakup, a sack and a hurry, Alexander Arroyo four tackles including a sack, Eli Moulton three tackles and a pass break-up, and Mario Luna and Ceasar Ramirez combined on a sack. 

PCC's offense was limited to season lows with 10 first downs and just 161 yards offense as the team committed five turnovers (three interceptions). Turowetz made four catches for 29 yards and second-string quarterback Wyatt Oak ran for 18 yards in three carries on a day that had few offensive highlights. 

Vergara was 3-for-3 on extra points, scored 12 points and added three touchbacks on kickoffs to give him 22 kicks into the end zone this season. He is 10-for-11 on field goals and 21-for-21 on extra point kicks. 

The Lancers are on a collison course to face American Metro champion Chaffey, a perfect 10-0 record, in the American Bowl championship game to be played on Saturday, Nov. 25 (time TBA). Chaffey handed the Lancers their only loss this season, 31-21, on Sept. 30. 

PCC GRID NOTES: The Pasadena defense was tied for fifth in the state in sacks with 38, 9.5 by Ray and 5.5 by Duncan...Pulley's 58 tackles (32 solo) leads the team...The team's defense is seventh in the state in points allowed per game at 15.7...Isaac Glover leads the rushing game with 706 yards while Graham has a team-best 1,839 passing yards and 21 TDs...Jordan Rodriguez, who missed the game due to injury, leads all Lancers receivers with 39 catches. He is one of 10 different receivers who have caught at least two TD passes with Turowetz, Tijani Daley, Drushun Phillips and LeMonte Holmes all with three a piece...Director of Football Operations/Head Coach Robert Tucker ran his PCC record to 23-8 and will be coaching his fifth bowl game (two now as Lancers coach).