The scheduled "bye week" comes at a good time for Dutra's team, as the Bulldogs will play its toughest back-to-back games of the season, when they travel to face perennial state power--and Hancock nemesis--Bakersfield College on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.. The following week, Allan Hancock College will celebrate its Homecoming as the Bulldogs host WSC Pacific Division champion College of the Canyons at 7 p.m. on Nov. 2 at Righetti High.
Dutra's squad improved their season record to 2-3, and 2-1 in the WSC Pacific by beating Pierce. The win kept alive Hancock's quest to advance to a post-season bowl game for a school-record ninth straight year. Bakersfield has not resembled the dominant team that many opponents usually fear when they appear on their schedules--losing last week to previously winless East L.A. College, 42-33. Bakersfield ended the first half, like Hancock, with a 2-3 overall record and find themselves in a five-team, fourth-pace tie in the WSC Mountain Division with a 1-2 record. Hancock has lost eight of the 10 games all-time between the schools.
Following its first win of the season two weeks ago when Hancock overwhelmed Santa Monica City College, 45-0, the Bulldogs played a solid first half to lead Pierce 21-14 at intermission. The Bulldogs played outstanding defense for the second consecutive week and its best offensive game of the 2002 campaign to shred what was the No. 1 defense in the 16-team WSC. Bulldog sophomore tailback Shawn Davis scored his third and fourth touchdown runs of the game in the decisive third period to give his team a 35-14 lead going into the final quarter. A Pierce touchdown with 4:37 remaining closed out the scoring.
Davis, whose four rushing TD's were just one short of the all-time Hancock single-game record, gained 91 yards on just 14 carries, but he ended up being the Bulldogs' third-best rusher in the game. Casey Langley (104 yards) and Kani Walker (92) had career bests totals against Pierce. Freshman quarterback Chad Nicholson directed an efficient passing game for Hancock, completing 12 of 19 attempts for 208 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Two other freshmen were his favorite targets: Joseph Dally (tied for the WSC lead with his 35 receptions in five games) caught 8 passes for 134 yards, and Brad Sorenson had three for 60 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown.
Sophomore defensive lineman William Bell, who was credited with 10 tackles (three of them sacks) against Pierce was named WSC Defensive Player of the Week, the third Bulldog to receive that honor in as many weeks (sophomore rover-back James McCrimmon and sophomore kicker Ian Ur were the others). Several other Bulldogs turned in equally strong performances on defense, including Vance Benton (a game-high 11 tackles) and Chris Nunez and McCrimmon (eight tackles each). Defensive backs Danny Sanchez and Eddie Scipio both snagged interceptions in the Pierce game (Scipio's pick was his third of the season, tops on the team).
Notes: Sophomore running back Michael Gaddy was out last weekend but is expected back after the bye.