Mt. SAC Bests Pasadena

Kevin Craft threw a pair of touchdown passes to Aiona Key in the last 5:15, leading Mt. San Antonio (4-2, 1-0) to a dramatic 26-25 comeback win over host Pasadena (5-1, 0-1) Saturday afternoon at Robinson Stadium in the opening game of the Mission Conference's National Division season.

After the Mounties fell behind, 25-12, with 7:12 to play, they went to a hurry-up offense. And that helped Craft, who had thrown for just 83 yards in three-plus quarters to that point, find his rhythm and lead his team to the victory. And Key not only caught both touchdowns, including a leaping grab of the game-winning score with 37.9 seconds left in the game, but performed the most amazing feat of the day with a running leap over a would-be tackler that turned a short gain into a 36-yard play and sparked the Mounties' game-winning drive.

All this came despite another marvelous game by Pasadena's David Pittman, who passed for 375 yards and took over the top spot on the list of career passing yard leaders in Lancer history. Pittman completed 33 of 52 passes on the day, including one touchdown, and also ran for two touchdowns.

And Pasadena had seemingly put the game away with a pair of touchdowns in the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter, stretching a one-point lead at 13-12 into what seemed like a safe 13-point margin at 25-12 with 7:12 remaining. And even after Mt. SAC narrowed the margin to 6 points at 25-19, the Lancers had a pair of chances to run out the clock after recovering on attempted onsides kick and then, after having to punt, getting the ball back on an interception by Terell Carr with 3:07 left.

But the Lancers were unable to run out the clock, and lacking a true kicking specialist, turned the ball over on downs at the Mt. SAC 20 with exactly two minutes left. That proved to be enough time for Craft & Key to take the ball the length of the field and pull out a most unlikely win for the Mounties.

Until the final few minutes, the Pasadena defense had held Craft and the Mt. SAC offense in check for most of the game. Mt. SAC took a first-quarter lead on a 38-yard field goal by Jeremy Gener on a drive kept alive by a successful run on a fake punt by Ricky Parkhouse, and had put together a 74-yard drive that ended with another Gener field goal in the third quarter to narrow the Pasadena lead to a single point at 13-12. The Mounties' only other scoring drive consisted of a 5-play, 42-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard scoring run by Craig Williams in the second quarter, an opportunity created mainly by a strong stand by the Mt. SAC defense that gave the Mountie offense the ball in excellent field position.

Meanwhile, Pittman & company seemingly moved the ball up and down the field with ease, racking up 543 yards of offense and 25 first downs. A 1-yard run by Pittman near the end of the first quarter put Pasadena ahead, 6-3, and a 49-yard pass from Pittman to Marcus Anderson in the second quarter put the Lancers back ahead, 13-9, after Mt. SAC had scored less than two minutes earlier.

And after holding just a one-point lead entering the final quarter, Pasadena got a pair of touchdowns to seemingly take control of the game. Anderson scored from 2 yards out on an end-around play with 10:46 left in the game, capping an 11-play, 89-yard drive and making it 19-12. And after a Mt. SAC punt, Pasadena got a 60-yard touchdown run by Gabe Tuata to make it 25-12 with 7:12 remaining.

One significant problem Pasadena had, however, was the lack of a kicking specialist. Tuata handled the kicking chores, and he is a fine running back as his totals of 89 yards rushing on 8 carries and 106 yards receiving on 8 catches show. But even after running 60 yards, the 5-5 freshman was forced to stay on the field and attempt the extra point. He missed, his third miss of the day. And later in the game, the Lancers eschewed what would have been a clinching field goal because, at 37 yards, the distance was too great.

That left the door open for Mt. SAC's comeback. After Pasadena's fourth touchdown, the Mounties got the ball at their 39 following the kickoff. It took Mt. SAC just six plays to go down the field, with a 19-yard pass from Craft to Lester Thomas getting the ball into Lancer territory and a 15-yard pass from Craft to Key getting the ball into the end zone. Gener's extra point made it 25-19 with 5:15 left.

Pasadena got the ball at the 50 after a nice return from Tuata, but the Lancer offense was unable to move the ball and had to punt. However, Pasadena got the ball back moments later when Ridge Jones hit Craft as he was attempting to throw the ball, and the pass ended up in the hands of Lancer cornerback Terell Carr at the Mt. SAC 42. Then Pittman ran for 15 yards to the 27, and two plays later Tuata gained 10 more to get the Lancers to the 20. But the drive stalled there, and Pasadena elected to try for the first down rather than kick what would have been a 37-yard field goal. Pittman's fourth-down pass fell imcomplete, giving Mt. SAC the ball at its own 20 with two minutes left and the Lancers holding what would prove to be a short-lived 6-point lead.

For Mt. SAC, Craft finished 15 of 31 passing overall for 219 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Most of that came in the final 7:12 with the game on the line, and much of that was from his six completions to Key, who finished with 113 yards receiving. Lance Iosefa led the Mounties with 62 yards rushing on 17 carries. And Parkhouse had a strong day not only with his 13-yard run for a first down in the first quarter but with his 46.2-yard average on five punts.

For Pasadena, Pittman was again outstanding with 375 yards passing and 42 yards rushing on 17 carries. Tuata had 211 all-purpose yards and did a bit of everything. David Reed led all receivers with 11 catches for 169 yards, while Marcus Anderson hauled in 6 passes for 75 yards and scored one touchdown rushing on the end-around and another receiving. But the Lancers were hurt by the absence of a kicking specialist, and though the were flagged for just 92 yards in penalties on the day that still had a significant impact as six of those penalties resulted in first downs for the Mt. SAC offense.

With the win, Mt. SAC improves to 4-2 overall and starts out 1-0 in the National Division. Next week, the Mounties host Santa Ana at 6 pm at Hilmer-Lodge Stadium.

The loss ends Pasadena's quest for an undefeated season, dropping the Lancers to 5-1 overall and 0-1 in the division. And it doesn't get any easier for Pasadena, which travels to Saddleback next week for a 5 pm game against the Gauchos.  

Mt. San Antonio Mounties 26

Pasadena Lancers 25

Saturday, October 13, 2007 – 1 pm – Robinson Stadium – Pasadena
Mission Conference – National Division

1st Quarter:     M – FG Gener 38 yds 8:03 (3-0)
P – Pittman 1 yd run (kick wide right) 0:15.8 (3-6)

2nd Quarter:    M – C.Williams 1 yd run (kick wide left) 7:14 (9-6)
P – Anderson 49 yd pass from Pittman (Tuata kick) 5:23 (9-13)

3rd Quarter:    M – FG Gener 19 yds 6:11 (12-13)

4th Quarter:     P – Anderson 2 yd run (kick wide left) 10:46 (12-19)
P – Tuata 60 yd run (kick wide left & short) 7:12 (12-25)
M – Key 15 yd pass from Craft (Gener kick) 5:15 (19-25)
M – Key 34 yd pass from Craft (Gener kick) 0:37.9 (26-25)

Team Statistics:
First Downs:  Pasadena 25 (8 rush, 16 pass, 1 penalty), Mt. SAC 23  (9 rush, 8 pass, 6 penalty)
Rushes-Yds:  Pasadena 32-168, Mt. SAC 47-158
Passing Yds:  Pasadena 375, Mt. SAC 219
Comp-Att-Int:  Pasadena 33-52-1, Mt. SAC 15-31-1
Return Yds:  Pasadena 74, Mt. SAC 109
Sacks-Yds:  Pasadena 4-21, Mt. SAC 2-5
Fumbles-Lost:  Pasadena 1-0, Mt. SAC 1-1
Penalties-Yds:  Pasadena 13-92, Mt. SAC 4-31
Time of Possession:  Pasadena 27:17, Mt. SAC 32:43

Individual Statistics:
Rushing:  Pasadena 29-Tuata 8-89, 17-Pittman 11-42, 32-Edwards 10-32, 10-Anderson 1-2,
25-Guthrie 1-2, 34-Avery 1-1; Mt. SAC 28-Iosefa 17-62, 32-Woods 8-40, 36-C.Williams 11-33,
17-Parkhouse 1-13, 2-Craft 8-9, 5-Thomas 1-2, team 1-(-1)
Passing:   Pasadena 17-Pittman 33-52-1-375, 1 TD; Mt. SAC 2-Craft 15-31-1-219, 2 TDs
Receiving:   Pasadena 2-Reed 11-169, 29-Tuata 8-106, 10-Anderson 6-75, 32-Edwards 5-7, 7-Maxie 2-7, 1-Dixon 1-11; Mt. SAC 11-Key 6-113, 5-Thomas 4-43, 6-Austin 2-12, 83-L.Williams 1-36, 10-Walker 1-9, 28-Iosefa 1-6
Interceptions-Ret Yds:  Pasadena 11-Carr 1-0; Mt. SAC 7-Sione 1-21
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds:  Pasadena 52-De Vries 1-0; Mt. SAC none
Sacks:  Pasadena 5-A.Jones, 24-Jackson, 99-E.Williams, 47-Noga 1/2, 58-Gonzalez 1/2;
Mt. SAC 45-Irvin, 96-Germany
Punters:   Pasadena 17-Pittman 5-37.4 avg; Mt. SAC 17-Parkhouse 5-46.2 avg
Kick Returns:  Pasadena 29-Tuata 1-16, 18-Nicholas 1-5; Mt. SAC 5-Thomas 3-56, 34-Garcia 1-13, 81-Richards 1-8
Punt Returns:  10-Anderson 4-53; Mt. SAC 25-Gaisie 3-11
Notes:  Pasadena entered 5-0, #3 in South and #9 in nation (JCGW); Mt. SAC entered 3-2, t-#11 in South. Quite a comeback!  Craft was 8-for-12 for 136 yds and 2 TDs & Key had 4 catches for 92 yds and 2 TDs in the last 7:12. Key also had the most amazing leap over a defender after catching a short pass, turning the play into a 36-yard gain and sparking the game-winning drive. Parkhouse's run was on a fake punt play; it kept Mt. SAC's 1st drive, which ultimately ended with a field goal, going. He had a 72-yard punt later in the first quarter. On Gener's missed extra point, the whole sequence was out of sync but Mt. SAC was out of timeouts so there was no choice but to try the kick. Tuata, a running back (and a good one!) by trade, served as the team's kicker, even after scoring on the 60-yard run. Mt. SAC went to the hurry-up offense with 7:12 left, aiding the comeback. Carr's interception, which came after 5-R.Jones hit Craft as he threw, gave Pasadena a chance to clinch the win but the Lancers turned the ball over on downs at the 20, leading to Mt. SAC's winning drive. Pasadena's David Pittman set a new career record for passing yards, breaking the record held by Joe Phears (4757 yds in 1994-95).

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