Comets recover to register first Bay 6 victory

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

CUPERTINO — After losing its first two games in the Bay 6 Conference, the football team re-discovered its formula for success by mixing a tough rushing offense with a stout defense to hold on for a 29-22 win over De Anza College here Saturday.

Both teams entered the game owning identical 1-6 overall records with the loser retaining sole possession of the Bay 6 cellar. From the onset, the game had an aura of more than just a contest between two teams with multiple game losing streaks.

“We were tired of losing,” Comet receiver Tyrone Morgan said. “We had an all sophomore meeting this week. We needed to come together and be better leaders. We needed to step up.”

The Comets (2-6 overall, 1-2 in the Bay 6) return to the field Friday to play intra-district rival Diablo Valley College at 7 p.m. in Pleasant Hill.

Against De Anza (1-7 overall, 0-3 in the Bay 6), sophomores caught three of the four touchdowns thrown by quarterback Cameron Burston. The other was caught by freshman Osai Brown.

After scoring just 13 points in their last two games, the Comets put together a masterful 12-play, 75-yard drive to open the game.

It ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Burston to running back Harris Ross.

The five-minute drive featured a mix of running and passing, a balance that CCC would hope to maintain for the entire afternoon. Freshman running back Murell Robinson did most of the heavy lifting for CCC, finishing with 10 carries for 111 yards rushing in the game.

The Dons chipped away at the Comets’ defensive middle from the beginning until the end of the contest. De Anza overcame third down and nine, as well as a third and seven situation, only to have its 10-play drive stall in the red zone.

The Dons would settle for a field goal and with three minutes to play in the first quarter CCC led 7-3.

With few penalties in the first quarter, long series by both teams chewed the majority of time off of the clock. Following a shabby 7-yard Comet punt after a stalled second quarter drive, De Anza took possession of the ball at the 43 yard line.

It took the Dons only five plays to take the lead on a 2-yard touchdown run.

That score put De Anza in front 10-7 with 13 minutes to play before halftime.

But CCC would strike back — with defense. After the Dons notched three straight rushes for first downs, CCC’s defense forced and recovered a De Anza fumble, the only turnover of the game.

The following play, Burston hit a streaking Morgan for a 25-yard go-ahead touchdown. CCC led 14-10 with just four minutes to play before halftime.

“It felt good. We played together for all four quarters and never gave up,” Burston said. “There was a lack of execution when we were losing (in prior games). Today, we executed and got the win.”

At every position, Comet players were prepared to do whatever it took to end the losing streak. CCC receiver Jaylin Hayward (122 yards and two touchdowns in six games this season) made two of the five stops in the game on De Anza kick returns.

His special teams play in the first half inspired his Comet teammates and filled the sideline with energy and enthusiasm.

“I’ll do whatever I can for the team. That hit on the kickoff provided the spark that the team needed,” Hayward said. “It felt good.”

CCC struck first in the third quarter following a De Anza missed field goal from the 29 yard line. With 10 minutes on the clock and 80 yards of turf between the ball and the end zone, the Comets put together their longest drive of the game.

Leading 14-10 and looking to pad its lead, CCC went on a 14-play, seven-minute drive that ended with a 9-yard Burston to receiver Marquis Pippins touchdown. The score would give CCC a 21-10 lead with three minutes left in the third quarter.

De Anza struck back one play later with a 73-yard touchdown pass that shrunk the Comet lead to five after the Dons missed the extra point attempt. After forcing a Comet punt at the end of the third quarter, the Dons started the fourth by taking a 22-21 lead on a 3-yard touchdown run.

On the ensuing possession, Burston led CCC on a five-play drive topped by a 6-yard go-ahead score by Brown.

Leading 29-22 with nine minutes to play, the Comet defense held the Dons out of the end zone. The defense forced a three and out as well as holding De Anza from scoring while inside of the red zone.

“We have a two-game season left, but we have to play clean,” Comet coach Alonzo Carter said. “We had no turnovers today and we got the win. That’s what happens when you play a clean game.

“The last time we won we came out on fire in the following game,” Carter said. “We also came up a little short. We can’t let that happen again (on Friday).”