Southwestern (3-0), which was ranked #16 in California last week in the CCCFCA/JCAB poll, trailed the host Brahmas 14-10 when staring quarterback Isaraelu "Tofi" Paopao took a hard hit at the end of a short run and left the game midway through the second quarter. At that point it was up to Perez, who had played one series earlier in the quarter, to rally the Jaguars and keep the team undefeated.
And that's exactly what he did, throwing a touchdown pass to Travis Gardner three plays later that gave Southwestern a lead it would hold the rest of the game. Anthony Herrera kicked a field goal late in the first half and Westbrook scored all three of the game's touchdowns in the second half as Southwestern dominated the game over the last two quarters en route to the 27-point win.
Pierce (1-1) started out well enough, forcing a Southwestern punt after just one first down to begin the game and taking over at its 38 yard-line. Then on the Brahmas' first play from scrimmage, Shakeem Wharton broke free for a 62-yard touchdown run to give Pierce a 7-0 lead just 1:39 into the game.
That play, however, would not only end up being Pierce's longest offensive play of the game, but would account for nearly one-third of the Brahma offense in the game. Southwestern answered back with two scoring drives in the first quarter, with Herrera booting a 29-yard field goal to get the Jaguars on the board and then, following a Pierce three-and-out, Paopao scoring on a 13-yard run late in the quarter to give the Jaguars a 10-7 lead.
Pierce re-took the lead early in the second quarter, but it was the Brahma defense that did the damage when Jay'Onn Myles intercepted a Paopao pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. Despite the pick-six, Paopao stayed in the game, but was injured when he was hit in the ribs at the end of a 3-yard run five plays later at the Pierce 27 yard-line.
That's when Perez entered the game and moments later threw to Gardner for the go-ahead touchdown. On Pierce's next possession, the Brahmas approached midfield but soon faced a 4th and 6 at their own 44. The Brahmas lined up to punt, but an illegal substitution penalty changed it to a 4th and 1 and convinced Pierce to try for the first down. However, on the play, Divanuel Flores threw Pierce fullback Zachary Mumford for a 1-yard loss, turning the ball over to the Jaguars at the Brahma 48.
That sequence led to a 42-yard field goal by Herrera with 2:15 left in the first half. After another Pierce punt, Herrera tried another 42-yard field goal on the final play of the first half, but his kick sailed wide left to keep it 20-14 in favor of the Jaguars at the half.
In the second half, Southwestern took the game over on both sides of the ball. The defense forced a Pierce three-and-out to start the half, and the offense drove 60 yards in 11 plays, with Westbrook scoring his first touchdown of the game to push the Jaguar lead to 27-14. Then came another Pierce three-and-out, and another Southwestern drive that ended with a Westbrook touchdown. This time the 195-pound sophomore scored on a 4-yard run midway through the quarter to push the lead to 34-14.
After that, Pierce threatened to score one last time, driving to the Jaguar 28 yard-line. But then safety Aaron Leon intercepted Sean Smith's pass into the end zone. Southwestern then drove the length of the field, covering 80 yards in 15 plays to put the game away. Westbrook scored his third touchdown of the half and of the game when he caught a 7-yard scoring pass from Perez early in the fourth quarter to make it 41-14 and close out the scoring.
Perez finished 34 of 46 passing for his 251 yards with no interceptions and 2 touchdowns. Combined with Paopao, who was 12 of 18 for 101 yards, the Jaguars amassed 352 yards through the air. Westbrook rushed for 82 yards on 24 carries, scoring twice on the ground and once after a short pass from Perez. Malik Kimbrough led all receivers with 14 catches, about half of which came on modified end-around plays on which he took a short pitch from the quarterback, good for 122 yards. Gardner had 9 catches for 85 yards and Kevin Mills had 7 catches for 53 yards. On defense, Kalvin Waters had two quarterback sacks while Messai N. Small, Mike Molina and linebacker Santana Leomiti were all quite visible as the Jaguars held Pierce to just 195 yards of offense and 13 first downs.
For Pierce, Smith completed 11 of 32 passes for 105 yards. Wharton rushed 9 times for 76 yards and a score, though most of that came on that first play from scrimmage. Bryson Martinez led Brahma receivers with 3 catches for 37 yards. Myles had the big play for the Brahma defense with the touchdown on the interception return.
The win improves Southwestern's record to 3-0, which includes a 35-6 win over Grossmont opening week that is now even more impressive after Grossmont beat Riverside this weekend. Both of those teams are in the National Conference, and Southwestern figures to be a strong favorite in the American Conference's Mountain Division.
Southwestern Jaguars 41, L.A. Pierce Brahmas 14
Saturday, September 20, 2014 - 7 pm - John Shepard Stadium - Woodland Hills
P - Wharton 62 yd run (Sutcliffe kick) 13:21 (0-7)
S - FG Herrera 29 yds 5:30 (3-7)
S - Paopao 13 yd run (Herrera kick) 1:30 (10-7)
P - Myles 25 yd interception return (Sutcliffe kick) 10:19 (10-14)
S - Gardner 9 yd pass from Perez (Herrera kick) 8:05 (17-14)
S - FG Herrera 42 yds 2:14 (20-14)
S - Westbrook 1 yd run (Flatau kick) 10:42 (27-14)
S - Westbrook 4 yd run (Flatau kick) 7:41 (34-14)
S - Westbrook 7 yd pass from Perez (Flatau kick) 12:29 (41-14)
First Downs: Pierce 13 (3 rush, 6 pass, 4 penalty), Southwestern 33 (10 rush, 19 pass, 4 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Pierce 25-90, Southwestern 35-106
Passing Yds: Pierce 105, Southwestern 352
Comp-Att-Int: Pierce 11-32-1, Southwestern 44-66-1
Return Yds: Pierce 76, Southwestern 45
Sacks-Yds: Pierce 1-11, Southwestern 2-17
Fumbles-Lost: Pierce 1-0, Glendale 0-0
Penalties-Yds: Pierce 12-108, Southwestern 11-113
Time of Possession: Pierce 26:15, Southwestern 33:45
Rushing: P 28-Wharton 9-76, 24-Shoatz 11-36, 47-Mumford 1-(-1), 16-S.Smith 3-(-14), team 1-(-7); S 5-Westbrook 24-82, 3-Paopao 5-20, 33-D.Rodriguez 2-12, 24-Nickson 2-4, 12-Perez 1-(-11), team 1-(-1)
Passing: P 16-S.Smith 11-32-1-105; S 12-Perez 34-46-0-251, 2 TDs; 3-Paopao 12-18-1-101; team 0-2-0-0
Receiving: P 1-B.Martinez 3-37, 5-Austin 2-27, 28-Wharton 2-7, 24-Shoatz 2-3, 11-MacHarry 1-16, 3-Hargrove 1-15; S 2-Kimbrough 14-122, 86-Gardner 9-85, 6-McCrea 7-53, 11-Bailey 4-41, 5-Westbrook 3-8, 83-Hall 3-7, 84-Stewart 2-17, 20-Galvez 2-2, 36-Higgins 1-14, 81-Pangco 1-2, 33-D.Rodriguez 1-1
Sacks-Yds: P 45-Welch 1-11; S 50-Waters 2-17
Interceptions-Ret Yds: P 1-Myles 1-25; S 14-Leon 1-0
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: none
Punters: P 9-Sutcliffe 9-32.1 avg; S 99-Kozlik 5-30.4 avg
Kick Returns: P 34-Dorsett 3-26, 19-Kinard 1-25; S 26-Jones 1-26
Punt Returns: P none; S 84-Stewart 2-19
Missed FG: P 9-Sutcliffe 39 yds (wide left); S 38-Herrera 42 yds (wide left)
Notes: Southwestern ent. 2-0, ranked #8 in South and #16 in California; LA Pierce ent. 1-0. Paopao started at QB for Southwestern; Perez played one series in 2nd qtr then took over later in the 2nd quarter when Paopao left with an injury.