Special teams woes leave football team without victory

Contra Costa failed to win its home opener, losing 38-6 to Cabrillo College


Efrain Valdez

Comet running-back Maurell Robinson does a spin move on two Mustang defenders to give Contra Costa their only score during their 38-6 loss last Saturday at Comet Stadium.

By Efrain Valdez, Sports Editor

With the beginning of a season comes the sense of newfound hope to improve on the previous campaign, however, the football team hosted its season opener in familiar fashion with a 38-6 loss to Cabrillo College (1-0) Saturday at Comet Stadium.

Despite both teams totaling a combined 27 penalties, the Mustangs (1-0) 15 penalties for a whopping 200 yards kept the Comets (0-1) in the game for nearly three quarters.

“We have a young, inexperienced team and a lot of new faces — guys that are new to college football,” Comet coach Pat Henderson said. “Transitioning from high school sometimes isn’t the easiest thing to do. Coming in to this season there was an understanding of that there was going to be jitters and lapses of judgement,”

The Comets trailed 17-0 at halftime following Cabrillo touchdowns in the first and second quarter that sandwiched a 38-yard Kieran Woodley field goal.

CCC running back Maurell Robinson (19 yards rushing and one touchdown) broke the Comet scoring drought on a 6-yard touchdown run with 7:42 to play in the third quarter.

On a pitch to the right side of the field, from quarterback Riley Lee (18 of 37 passing for 150 yards), Robinson spun to elude two defenders and slithered his way into the endzone for the Comets lone touchdown of the day.

Henderson said he that he saw improvement in his young group, however, the team still needs more game-day experience to better understand the pace of the game on the college level.

The Comets will search for their first victory of the season on the road against Monterey Peninsula College (1-0) next Saturday at 1 p.m.

Mustang running back, freshman Cole Davis (101 yards rushing and one touchdown) wreaked havoc on the Comet defense in the third quarter.

He capped off a 12-play 75-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown that extended the Mustang lead over the Comets to 24-6. The score effectively grounded the Comet’s chances of making a comeback in the game.

“Cole Davis” Cabrillo College football coach Darren Arbet said about improvements in the running game throughout the second half.  “Number 21 came in and he’s just a hard runner. He did a tremendous job of hitting the holes (in the box),” he said.

The 12-play 7:32 minute drive was absolutely grueling for a Comet defensive front that was gassed by the down-the-throat running game that blistered through the trenches.

“I thought our guys had a lot of ups and downs, things weren’t going our way (at first) but we continued to play hard and stuck together,” Arbet said.

Henderson said that Davis is a “pretty good back” and that he did a great job of taking advantage of what the Comet defensive line was giving him.

Another reason for the Comets shortcomings in this game was the special teams play — specifically the punt team.

Comet punter Kyle Jarvis rarely received good snaps from the long snapper which resulted in a sub-par net punt average of 23.6 yards.

His longest punt of the afternoon was a mere 35 yards.

“Winning the field position game is critical, special teams put us in a bind and forced the defense into some tough situations,” Henderson said.

Mustang freshman linebacker Payton Mitchell said that he thought their team did a good job of disrupting the flow of the Contra Costa special teams unit — especially during punt returns.

During the disappointing loss, the Comet defense played better than the scoreboard reflected. The unit came up with two interceptions, both which helped the team regain momentum after losing possession of the ball in deflating fashion.

“Our defense came out and gave a great effort, they did what they were supposed to do. Still, there are a lot of things to clean up on that side of the ball,” Henderson said.

He also said that the defense, by being the more experienced unit of the squad, helped his team in critical moments by coming up with two interceptions.

Arbet said that Contra Costa has a good, athletic team and have a great coach in Pat Henderson that can lead them to a good season this year.