Comets defeat rival with defense, heart

Team earns first back-to-back wins of season after beating Vikings

Comet running back Maurell Robinson rushes to gain yardage during CCC’s win against Diablo Valley College at Viking Field in Pleasant Hill on Friday.

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

PLEASANT HILL — After sharing a 7-7 tie at the half with intra-district rival Diablo Valley College, the Contra Costa College football team found its offensive stride and its defensive identity by putting up 21 second half points and yielding just 13 en route to a 28-20 win here Friday night.

Comet defensive lineman James Eggleston put the exclamation point on the win after CCC (3-6 overall, 2-2 in the Bay 6) scored its final touchdown of the game. Eggleston scooped up a blocked extra-point attempt and rambled over, around and through would-be defenders before crossing the goal line for a two-point conversion, solidifying an eight-point Comet victory.

“I was determined to get into the end zone,” Eggleston said. “I had flashbacks of playing running back in high school. We are still hungry and determined not to let the season end on a bad note.”

With only three contests between the two colleges in the nearly six-year career of Comet coach Alonzo Carter, both teams used the opening half to feel out their district rival.

The Vikings (5-4 overall, 1-3 in the Bay 6) struck first on a penalty-aided drive that left one Comet, defensive back Arthur Hayes, ejected from the contest for a targeted helmet-to-helmet hit on a Viking receiver late in the first quarter.

Two minutes later, Comet quarterback Cameron Burston matched the Viking score, finding receiver Jonathan Thomas for a 32-yard touchdown pass, tying the game at 7-7.

After that second quarter score, neither team was able to rekindle any offensive rhythm and both squads used the remaining time in the first half missing opportunities to take advantage of their opponent’s exposed weaknesses.

“It was a good respectable win, but we left three touchdowns in the red zone,” Carter said. “We won two in a row (after defeating De Anza College 29-22 last week), so why not make it three. We have nothing to lose.”

The Comets will face City College of San Francisco Saturday at Comet Stadium at 7 p.m. in the season finale.

Comet defensive back Lavon Washington opened the third quarter with a 21-yard kick return that served as the second half spark that CCC needed.

Following a first down incompletion, Burston burst through the Viking defensive line and scampered 63 yards into the DVC red zone. Harris Ross would complete the drive and give the Comets their first lead of the game at 13-7, just two minutes into the third quarter.

The Viking offense was no match for the inspired play of the Comets’ defensive line. On DVC’s next two possessions CCC defenders forced a punt and a Viking turnover on downs.

“Carter’s motivation about playing DVC made us all feel good, like rivalry week in high school,” CCC defensive lineman Mike Ihejeto said. “We came out with a bang. Hopefully it carries over into next week.”

Seemingly inspired by his 63-yard jaunt and Ross’ burst into the end zone, Burston, manufactured a six-play, 67-yard drive ending in a 26-yard touchdown run around the right side of the offensive line.

Burston’s run gave CCC a 20-7 lead with just over four minutes to play in the third quarter.

Under the pressure of the rivalry matchup, the Vikings found the will to fight back into the contest aided by a third down penalty by CCC which extended the DVC drive.

The Vikings would score their first touchdown since early in the first quarter on a 21-yard run that gave life to the Viking sideline and hope to its increasingly restless fan base.

The TD brought DVC within one touchdown as CCC’s lead was cut to 20-14 with three seconds to play in the third quarter.

And then CCC’s lead was cut to three points after a 34-yard Viking field goal with eight minutes to play in the game.

Feeling DVC closing in to snatch victory from the Comets’ grasp, Ross broke loose for his longest run of the season, a 53-yard scamper, that put CCC in scoring position on the 21-yard line. Freshman running back Murrel Robinson closed the deal for the Comets with a 16-yard touchdown run just two plays later.

It was on the partially blocked extra point that Eggleston grabbed the loose ball, trucked multiple DVC defenders to reach the end zone and ultimately keep the game out of the Vikings’ reach with a 28-17 lead.

Trailing by 11, the Vikings needed a field goal, touchdown and 2-point conversion to send the game to overtime. DVC got a field goal, but CCC recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran the clock out, preserving the 28-20 victory.