Citrus Derails LA Pierce

A strong rushing attack, a solid performance at quarterback and a dominant defense added up to an easy victory for Citrus (5-2, 4-0 in the WSC-Pacific) Saturday afternoon. 

The Owls led LA Pierce (3-4, 1-3) by just a point at the half but pulled away in the final two quarters to post a 44-13 win to stay atop the WSC's Pacific Division.

Freshmen Dwight Broadnax and Marquis Winbush each topped the 100-yard mark rushing on the day. Broadnax scored two touchdowns, Winbush scored one and fellow running backs Aaron Ridgeway and Andrew Couch also scored for the Owls. And John Garcia came off the bench to complete 9 of 14 passes for 142 yards, a touchdown and no turnovers.

The strong Citrus defense did the rest, shutting Pierce out in the second half and holding the Brahmas to just 13 first downs on the day. Until the final 90 seconds of the game, Pierce had a negative net total of rushing yards. And linebacker Andrew Cedergren set up Citrus' go-ahead touchdown with an interception on which he nearly scored on the return.

And yet for a half, the game was all but even. Only a missed extra point after Pierce's second touchdown separated the teams as the Owls led, 14-13, at the break.

Then Citrus took over in the third quarter, outscoring the Brahmas, 16-0, to push the lead to 30-13. Winbush scored from 7 yards out to cap a 6-play drive to make it 20-13 to begin the second half. Then, after Citrus forced a Pierce punt, the Owls gained just a single first down before being forced to punt, a development that ended up helping the Owls.

On the punt, Nick Somes' kick bounced off Pierce's Jeremy Utu (blocking downfield on the play) and went into the end zone. Pierce's Jonathan Tinajero managed to fend off Citrus' Delano King for the loose ball, but the recovery just meant that Citrus was awarded a safety instead of a touchdown. That made it 22-13.

On the ensuing free kick, Damian James returned the ball to the Citrus 40 to spark another scoring drive. The Owls covered the remaining 60 yards in 11 plays, ending with Broadnax' second touchdown of the game, a 2-yard run that made it 28-13. Then on the conversion, Citrus lined up as if to kick but instead James, the holder, ran the ball in for the 2-point play to make it 30-13.

Citrus pushed its lead to 44-13 with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. Garcia threw a 28-yards scoring pass to Michael Shay to cap an 11-play drive for the first score with 11:31 left in the game. Then Andrew Couch finished an 8-play drive with a 2-yard scoring run for the final touchdown with 4:29 left.

Early on, Citrus scored the only touchdown of the first quarter on a 1-yard run by Ridgeway after twice coming away empty despite driving deep into Pierce territory. Christian Sandoval intercepted a Travis Gowan pass in the end zone 5:25 into the game to stop the first drive, and knocked down a Gowan pass in the end zone just less than three minutes later to stop the second. But then Josh Lange-Casillas recovered a fumble on an errant pitch by Pierce's Alex Pettee at the Brahma 25. On came Garcia at quarterback for the Owls, and 2:34 later Ridgeway scored to give Citrus a 7-0 lead.

Pierce tied the game early in the second quarter when Pettee threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Michael Cooper. That capped a 13-play, 74-yard drive that Pettee had kept alive by recovering a fumble by Cooper on the second play of the possession. The resourceful Pettee also completed a short pass left-handed (while a defender held his right arm) on the drive, and converted a fourth down situation with 14-yard pass to Monroe Ross.

Citrus went ahead, 14-7, on a 3-yard run by Broadnax two plays after Cedergren's interception. On that play, Cedergren and the Pierce receiver both got their hands on the ball, but Cedergren snatched it away and returned it to the Pierce 2. That sequence was set up after a Somes punt was downed at the 16 and a holding penalty on Pierce pushed the Brahmas back to the 8.

Late in the half, Pierce got what was nearly the tying score on a 6-yard touchdown run by Pettee. A 47-yard pass from Pettee to MarQuell Marshall, who used a nice burst of speed to turn a short pass into a big play, got the ball to the Citrus 10. Two plays later, Pettee faked a handoff in one direction and scored after running the other way to make it 14-13. But the extra point try was wide left, allowing Citrus to keep a 1-point lead at the half.

And that would be Pierce's last real chance to tie the game. By the time the Brahmas crossed their own 20-yard line in the second half, Citrus would have a 17-point lead and be in control of the game.

For Citrus, Winbush led all rushers with 148 yards on 19 carries. Broadnax added 117 on 21 attempts as the Owls totaled 323 yards on the ground and held the ball for 36:02. Mark Castaneda led Citrus receivers with 5 catches for 92 yards. Zachary Williams had 2 of the Owls' 3 sacks on defense.

For Pierce, Pettee completed 23 of 35 passes for 184 yards and a TD. Ross had team-highs of 8 catches and 66 yards. But the Brahmas had a net of minus-11 yards rushing until their final possession which began with 1:37 remaining and Citrus holding a 31-point lead.

With the win, Citrus improves to 5-2 overall and 4-0 in the WSC-Pacific. The Owls are tied with Glendale, a team that will visit Citrus the final week of the season, for first place. Pierce falls to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the division.

Citrus Owls 44
L.A. Pierce 13

Saturday, October 20, 2007 – 1 pm – Citrus Collge - Glendora
WSC – Pacific Division

1st Quarter:    
C – Ridgeway 1 yd run (Gross kick) 3:33 (7-0)

2nd Quarter:   
P – Cooper 13 yd pass from Pettee (Borreson kick) 12:31 (7-7)
C – Broadnax 3 yd run  (Gross kick) 7:46 (14-7)
P – Pettee 6 yd run (kick wide left) 1:09 (14-13)

3rd Quarter:   
C – Winbush 7 yd run (kick hit left post) 12:13 (20-13)
C – Safety – Tinajero recovered muffed punt in end zone 9:00 (22-13)
C – Broadnax 2 yd run (D.James run) 3:53 (30-13)

4th Quarter:
C – Shay 28 yd pass from J.Garcia (Gross kick) 11:31 (37-13)
C – Couch 1 yd run (Gross kick) 4:29 (44-13)

Team Statistics:
First Downs:  Citrus 25 (16 rush, 7 pass, 2 penalty), Pierce 13 (3 rush, 9 pass, 1 penalty)
Rushes-Yds:  Citrus 57-323, Pierce 17-24
Passing Yds:  Citrus 160, Pierce 190
Comp-Att-Int:  Citrus 11-22-1, Pierce 24-41-2
Return Yds:  Citrus 121, Pierce 117
Sacks-Yds:  Citrus 3-27, Pierce 2-10
Fumbles-Lost:  Citrus 0-0, Pierce 2-1
Penalties-Yds:  Citrus 13-123, Pierce 7-53
Time of Possession:  Citrus 36:02, Pierce 23:58

Individual Statistics:
Rushing:  Citrus 21-Winbush 19-148, 6-Broadnax 21-117, 36-Ridgeway 10-39, 80-Castaneda 2-15, 11-Gowan 1-10, 27-Couch 2-4, 12-J.Garcia 1-(-10); Pierce 2-Gomez 7-31, 11-Collins 1-24, 26-Matia 1-2, 14-Pettee 8-(-33)
Passing:   Citrus 12-J.Garcia 9-14-0-142, 1 TD; 11-Gowan 2-8-1-18; Pierce 14-Pettee 23-35-1-184, 1 TD; 11-Collins 1-6-1-6
Receiving:   Citrus 80-Castaneda 5-92, 8-Shay 2-34, 2-Adams 2-10, 89-Hetzer 1-15, 36-Ridgeway 1-9; Pierce 1-Ross 8-66, 2-Gomez 6-21, 13-Cooper 5-35, 80-Skinner 3-7, 16-Marshall 2-55, 3-M.Johnson 1-6
Interceptions-Ret Yds:  Citrus 18-King 1-48, 45-Cedergren 1-8; Pierce 9-Sandoval 1-0
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds:  Citrus 91-Lange-Casillas 1-0
Sacks-Yds:  Citrus 75-Williams 2-17, 47-Scott 1-10; Pierce 33-Brown 1-7, 55-Russell 1-3
Punters:   Citrus 15-Somes 5-36.8 avg; Pierce 46-Borreson 5-39.2 avg
Kick Returns:  Citrus 5-Sutton 1-19, 23-J.James 1-19, 24-D.James 1-18; Pierce 31-Alexander 5-98, 16-Marshall 1-13
Punt Returns:  Citrus 24-D.James 2-9; ierce 13-Cooper 1-10, team 1-(-4)
Notes:  Citrus entered 4-2 overall, 3-0 in WSC-Pacific and ranked #13 in South. Pierce entered 3-3 overall, 1-2 in division and #20 in South. Gowan started at QB for Citrus but Garcia led both scoring drives in the 1st half and played the entire 2nd half. Citrus' 1st TD came 6 plays after Lange-Casillas recovered an errant Pettee pitchout at the Pierce 25. But Pettee attoned for that, keeping the 1st Pierce TD drive alive by recovering a Cooper fumble and also completing a 2-yard pass lefthanded!  Cedergren got his interception by snatching the ball out of the hands of the receiver; he returned the ball to the 2 and Broadnax scored his 1st TD two plays later. The safety came when a punt hit 21-Utu (blocking downfield) on the helmet at the Pierce 4 and bounced into the end zone. Tinajero fought off 18-King for the ball to prevent the touchdown but it was still ruled a safety. Broadnax' 2nd TD came on the drive after the free kick. Despite being in the same conference, this is the first time these teams have ever met.

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