Pierce Tops Santa Monica, 7-0

Kevin McCleary's 47-yd TD run with 4:40 remaining in the game was the only scoring in LA Pierce's 7-0 victory over visiting Santa Monica September 28th.

The Brahmas, who went 0-10 in 2001, used stingy defense and McCleary's big play to upset Santa Monica, which entered the game ranked #9 in Southern California and #17 in the nation by JC Grid-Wire.

Pierce won the game despite generating only one touchdown, 11 first downs and 216 yds of total offense.  But the Brahmas avoided turning the ball over, and the defense limited Santa Monica to just 117 yds of offense and 8 first downs after the first quarter to post the shutout. 

The game started well enough for Santa Monica as they marched down the field into Brahma territory behind the powerful running of 235-lb RB James Jackson.  However, when the drive stalled, the Corsairs tried a 44-yd field goal, and it fell short.  After getting the ball back, Santa Monica again drove into Brahma territory but was again forced to try a field goal.  This one, a 32-yd try, was blocked by Pierce's Victor Thomas, keeping the game scoreless.

By the end of the first quarter, Santa Monica had rolled up 124 yds of offense and 9 first downs and had held the ball for over 11 minutes, but had nothing to show for all that except the missed field goals. 

Just over 4 minutes into the second quarter, Pierce got its first scoring chance of the night.  LB Aaron Brown made a nifty play on an attempted screen pass as he tipped the ball to himself and made the interception at the Corsair 21.  However, the Brahma offense lost 17 yds in the ensuing series and was forced to punt.

Santa Monica then embarked on a lengthy drive to the Pierce 23, but the half ended before they could put any points on the board.  For the first half, the Corsairs outgained Pierce 188 to minus-1 on offense and held the ball for over 21 minutes.  Still, the game remained 0-0 at intermission.

Pierce took the opening kickoff of the second half, and suddenly their offense came to life.  Three completions by QB Mike Spargo to WR Delfino Hernandez got the ball deep into Santa Monica territory.  After Hernandez' 3rd catch, a 43-yd effort, got the ball to the 5 the Corsair defense held firm and forced a field goal attempt.  But John Wall's 22-yd attempt was blocked by Daryl Adams, keeping the score 0-0.

Pierce got another scoring chance early in the 4th quarter when Thomas intercepted a pass Haley appeared to be trying to throw out of bounds.  That again gave the Brahmas the ball at the Corsair 21.  But the offense again could not capitalize on the opportunity and turned the ball over on downs at the 18.

Then the Pierce defense held again, forcing Santa Monica to punt with just under 6 minutes left and giving the ball back to the Brahma offense.

And that's when McCleary got his chance to shine.  On his game-winning run, he took the pitch to the left and got around the first defender to turn the corner.  Then he cut back inside his blockers, past the pursuit and into the open field.  And he picked up more speed as he headed down the right sideline and into the end zone untouched.  His spectacular dash ended with 4:40 left and gave Pierce the only points they would need.

After Santa Monica got the ball back, the Pierce defense held firm, not allowing even another first down.  The Corsairs were forced to punt and hope their defense could get the ball back for one more chance.

But the Brahmas were able to run out the clock.  Powerful RB Jermaine Moore carried 3 times for 29 yds, including a key 16-yd run on a 3rd and 8, to keep the ball away from Santa Monica. 

For the night, McCleary finished as Pierce's leading rusher with 63 yds on 9 carries.  Moore added 37 yds on 15 carries.  Spargo went 5 of 15 passing for 99 yds, and 4 of those passes went to Delfino Hernandez for 91 yds.

Among the many standouts on defense were Brown, who had a full sack, 2 half-sacks and an interception; Thomas, with an interception and a blocked field goal; LB Anthony Roberts, who had a full sack and a half sack; and Safety Leon Friend, who was most unfriendly towards the Corsair receivers.  His big hits early in the game helped set the tone for the Brahma defense and undoubtedly contributed to a number of dropped Corsair passes early in the game.

For Santa Monica, QB Mike Haley finished 18 of 30 for 123 yds, but he also had 2 interceptions.  Jackson rushed 20 times for 107 yds to lead all runners.  WR Samuel Knight caught 6 passes for 45 yds and WR Theron Shakir caught 4 passes for 32 yds to lead Corsair receivers.

Saturday, September 28, 2002 - 7 p.m.
at John Shepard Stadium, Woodland Hills, CA
A Western State Conference – Pacific Division Game

LA Pierce College (Brahmas)  7
Santa Monica City College (Corsairs)  0

1st Quarter: No Scoring
2nd Quarter: No Scoring
3rd Quarter: No Scoring
4th Quarter: P – McCleary 47 yd run (Wall kick) 4:40 -- 7-0

Team Statistics: LA Pierce Santa Monica
First Downs 11 (4 pass; 4 run; 3 pen) 17 (5 pass; 11 run; 1 pen)
Rushes – Yards 34-107 37-118  
Passing Yards 99 123
Comp - Att – Int 5-15-0 18-30-2
Return Yards 30 46
Sacks – Yards 6-40 1-1
Fumbles – Lost 2-0 2-0
Penalties – Yards 14-139 14-126
Time of Possession 27:50 32:10 

Individual Statistics:

P:  7-McCleary 9-63, 6-Moore 15-37, 12-Spargo 5-9, 8-Hernandez 1-8, 22-Dean 3-2, team 1-(-12)
SM:  33-Jackson 20-107, 6-Sinclair 1-24, 38-Romano 3-10, 45-Willcot 1-6, 15-Haley 11-(-22), team 1-(-7)

P:  12-Spargo 5-15-0-99

SM:  15-Haley 18-30-2-123

P: 8-Hernandez 4-91, 29-Melia 1-8

SM:  13-Knight 6-45, 1-Shakir 4-32, 14-Todd 3-27, 6-Sinclair 2-11, 38-Romano 1-5, 33-Jackson 1-2, 10-Perez 1-1

P:  11-Wall 5-34.2 avg
SM:  40-Rosenberg 4-33.3 avg

Kick Ret:
P:  7-McCleary 1-30
SM:  43-Sandberg 1-23, 13-Knight 1-17

Punt Ret:
P:  none
SM:  1-Shakir 2-6

Int-Ret Yds:
P:  4-V.Thomas 1-0, 31-A.Brown 1-0  
SM:  none

Missed FG:
P:  11-Wall 22 yds (blocked)
SM:  40-Rosenberg 44 yds (short), 9-Post 32 yds (blk)

Kick Blocks:
P:  4-V.Thomas
SM:  23-D.Adams

P 6:  31-A.Brown 2, 13-A.Roberts 1½, 55-Tinnion-Bennett 1½, 1-Handy ½, 59-Patterson ½ 
SM 1:  95-Posada

Notes:  Both teams are now 2-1.  Santa Monica entered ranked #9 in South, #17 nationally by JC Grid-Wire. Last year Pierce finished 0-10 while Santa Monica finished 1-9 with their only win coming vs. Pierce (47-6). McCleary's TD run was outstanding – he took the pitch to the left, cut back to the right and went down the sideline. SM dominated the 1st half, outgaining Pierce 188 to –1, but had nothing to show for it except the 2 missed FGAs. Pierce got the ball at the Corsair 21 after each interception, but also came away empty both times.

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