Comets trample Mustangs at homecoming celebration

Opportunistic defense carries Comets to victory

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

PITTSBURG — The football team braved 90-degree heat to outshine its Bay Valley Conference rival 33-6 at Los Medanos College on Saturday.

The Comet (4-1 overall 1-0 BVC) coaches, players and even ball boys arrived at the LMC stadium with a chip on their shoulders.

The team was dismayed by the Mustangs audacity to schedule CCC for its homecoming game, as if it would be an easy victory.

“We felt insulted that they would make (the Comets) their homecoming game,” CCC coach Alonzo Carter said.

It was clear early on that both teams embraced the spirit of the rivalry. LMC (3-2 overall 1-1 BVC) even tried to out-cheer CCC after the Star Spangled Banner.

The Comets elected to kick and stuffed the return at the 20-yard line. The Mustangs’ first play from the scrimmage was an accurate indication of the type of game they were in for.
On a short pass to the right flat Comet defensive back Lavon Washington followed LMC quarterback Julius Mozee’s eyes and beat the receiver to his spot.

Washington intercepted the pass and returned it for the opening touchdown.

“It was a cover three. I read his eyes and got a good jump on the ball,” Washington said. “Coach Carter has been telling us all week we were the better team.”
CCC’s coaches demanded that the defense not let up, and their players responded. Sniffing out runs and screens, the defensive players shortly returned the ball to the offense.

Running back Harold Holcombe carried the early load for CCC until the healthy offensive drive eventually stalled just outside the end zone.
This placed the responsibility to score on kicker Lorran Fonseca, who booted a 24-yard field goal to put the Comets ahead 10-0.

Linebacker Ricky Davis, who racked up five tackles and two sacks last week, said he was eager to surpass his previous performance.

During the third quarter, Davis said an offside flag drew the evil eye from his coaches on the sideline. The following play saw Davis scoop up a fumble and forge his way to the end zone for a 37-yard defensive touchdown.
“Their heads were down early on. (LMC players) weren’t ready to play,” Davis said. “I just got it up and took it to the house.”
Being down 17-0 in the first quarter during the homecoming game seemed to put extra pressure on the talkative Mustang squad.

At about eight minutes into the game CCC had another chance to intercept a pass that may have been the fatal blow. But costly penalties continued to give LMC a sliver of hope for a comeback.
Even given the extra chance, an unsuccessful fourth down attempt by the Mustangs handed CCC possession with only 5:22 remaining in the opening quarter.

Running back Kruger Story Jr. toted the ball for the bulk of this drive but it was Holcombe who punched through the LMC defensive line to score a two-yard touchdown stretching the Comet lead to 24-0.
CCC then forced LMC to turn the ball over on downs with help from linebacker Isaiah Armstrong who made several key tackles.

Showing glimpses of consistency, CCC quarterback Jonathan Banks connected with wide receiver Sterling Taylor on a 44-yard strike, with Taylor running for 21 of those yards before he was tackled.
After suffering a brutal sack on the following play, Banks tried to pass for a touchdown but released the ball too early and lofted it into the end zone, resulting in a LMC interception to end the first quarter.

LMC moved the ball down the field to start the second quarter with most of the yards in the drive coming on a 39-yard pass.
The Mustangs, desperate to put points on the board, stalled their best drive at the CCC 18-yard line. Another fourth down gamble left them scoreless.

The unruly CCC defense once again looted the ball from the LMC offense. Then a Terance Barnes reception left just enough time for Story Jr. to run for another score. But an illegal formation revoked the touchdown, leaving the score 24-0 at halftime.

A heroic stop on an LMC fourth down and another one by linebacker Elliot Dupree allowed Holcombe to score again on a two-yard run to bring the score to 31-0 in the third quarter.
A short Mustang slant, however, shattered the Comets’ hopes for a shutout win with 12 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

The ensuing blocked extra point was picked up and returned by Comet defensive back Marquez Mackey for two points to finish the scoring for the afternoon.

The Comets’ upcoming bye week could come at a good time for an attitude adjustment before facing Yuba College at Comet Stadium on Oct. 11.