Streak snapped with home win

Comet defense, offense combine to outshine Pirate onslaught


Cody Casares / The Advocate

Comet wide receiver Marquis Pippins catches the ball for a touchdown during CCC’s 42-34 win against Modesto Junior College at Comet Stadium on Saturday.

By Dylan Collier, Advocate Staff

The football team put an end to its three-game losing streak, winning by one touchdown, 42-34, against Modesto Junior College (1-3) Saturday at Comet Stadium.

During the national anthem, many of the Comet players chose to kneel or sit as a sign of solidarity with national protests symbolizing the need to end systematic oppression and police violence.

“I didn’t even know that many people on my team were going to (kneel or sit). I did it on my own,” Comet receiver Josh Walker said. “When I saw the shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma when the guy (Terence Crutcher) was shot for no reason after his car broke down, it pissed me off and I felt like I had to get involved.”

In Saturday’s contest, communication between sophomore quarterback Cameron Burston (24-34 for 362 yards and five touchdowns) and his receiving corps was spectacular, resulting in a game where CCC (1-3) passed the ball for more than twice as many yards (362) as they did in the last game (94) adding five touchdown passes.

Burston said, “Our running game opened up the door a lot. Our running backs played a good game because they kept moving the ball well.”

Comet running backs totaled 145 yards rushing against the Pirates.

CCC secured this win against a team that averages 30.5 points per game by making big plays on defense, first with big plays in the secondary, then on the defensive line with a goal line stand in the closing minutes of the game.

The Comets will seek to keep their momentum going when they host Laney College (3-1) on Saturday at 7 p.m. So far this season Laney has averaged 188 passing yards per game, with 402 total yards per contest.

After trailing 14-8 early, Burston found Walker (three receptions for 55 yards and one touchdown) open and connected with him for a 39-yard touchdown pass followed by a two-point conversion, giving the Comets the lead by 16-14 with 4:29 remaining in the first half.

The Comets maintained control of the game throughout the entire second half, using their running attack to inch closer to securing their first victory of the 2016 campaign.

One of the highlights for CCC’s offense was running back Harris Ross’ 32-yard gain in the third quarter, which added to the tempo of the game.

The sideline erupted with cheers adding to CCC’s dominating demeanor in the second half.

“I had the longest run of my season so far, and that gave me a huge spark,” Ross said.

The Comets committed five fewer penalties than they did during their last game against Sierra College, which significantly contributed to the team’s overall positive performance.

“Our offense played a good game and we came out and did what we had to do. Our offense didn’t give up,”  Carter said.

“There was no moment when (the players) felt like they wouldn’t win the game. When you’re playing Division 1 football it’s all about who makes the least amount of mistakes.”

On defense, the Comets neutralized the Pirates’ offense.   

With 8:57 left in the fourth quarter, Modesto had the ball on the Comet 10-yard line with four downs to get to paydirt. Defensive back Rodney Washington (nine tackles) and the Comets defended their end zone for the next three plays in a row, forcing the turnover on downs and reclaiming possession of the ball.

In the last two minutes of the game, Modesto started a drive in one last attempt to put more points on the scoreboard. But CCC’s overwhelming pressure by its defensive line halted the Pirates once again, sealing the victory.      

Ross said, “The line stepped up thoroughly. I have to thank the line, because without them I wouldn’t be here today. I have to give credit to the defense (too). They stepped up tremendously.”

As for the display during the anthem, Carter said he didn’t know about the team’s intentions.

“I give them the freedom to express themselves and they did this on their own,” coach Alonzo Carter said. “I want them to be socially conscious.”

In Carter’s mandatory Monday study hall for players prior to Saturday’s game, the coach had each player write an essay on social issues. Players had to finish the essay to be excused from study hall to practice.