Gridders drop Homecoming game

Comets manage to keep game tight with defense


Denis Perez / The Advocate

San Jose City College quarterback George Landeros escapes pressure exerted by Comet linebacker R.J. Ma’ae during CCC’s 23-14 loss on Saturday at Comet Stadium.

By Efrain Valdez, Sports Editor

During the annual Homecoming game Saturday, the football team (0-6 overall, 0-2 Pacific 7 Conference) lost 23-14 in a tightly contested match against San Jose City College at Comet Stadium.
San Jose (1-4 overall, 1-2 American Golden Coast Conference) lost its starting quarterback Joseph Catano on its second offensive possession after Comet linebacker Jovan Kitchen devoured him on a sack.
The sack that broke Catano’s collarbone was the moment that changed the approach the Comet defense had to start the contest. The change came because of the Jaguars’ second string quarterback George Landeros’ ability to scramble effectively.
CCC defensive line coach Shaun Mullen said, “We had to make sure guys knew that there’s a change of pace quarterback coming in. When we rushed the quarterback, we had to make sure that we rushed under control because at any moment he could put his foot in the ground and get up the field.”
On the drive when Landeros took over, the game saw the scoring open in favor of the Jaguars due to CCC’s inability to slow the quarterback outside of the pocket.
In what became a battle of second-string quarterbacks, the Comet offense finally broke through at the 5:36 mark of the third quarter. CCC scored on a 12-play drive, which featured a combination of good runs and nice pass completions.
The touchdown came on a 1-yard run from Comet running back Samuel Allen and CCC also scored on a 2-point conversion that holder Jaylen Phelps ran in.
Comet coach Pat Henderson said, “Unfortunately our offense isn’t moving the ball the way we would like them too. We’re not getting the ball in the end zone like we know we can.
“So, with that, the defense has to pick up the slack and we can’t let people in the end zone. That’s just the reality.”
With this loss, the Comets extended their losing streak to 16 games over three seasons.
The team will get an opportunity to change its fortunes at Comet Stadium once again. The Comets will look to end De Anza College’s (4-1 overall, 2-0 American Pacific 7 Conference) four-game winning streak Saturday at 1 p.m.
Henderson and Mullen both praised the Comets’ defensive effort on Saturday, even though it was not reflected on the scoreboard.
The defense managed to allow CCC to stay in the game until the fourth quarter when a grueling seven-minute drive by the Jaguars pushed the score to 23-8.
The Comet defense started the game at peak intensity. From the onset, CCC managed to put pressure on Catano — a traditional in-the-pocket quarterback.
Once Landeros came into the game, the play calling of SJCC changed to accommodate his style, which allowed him to scramble whenever he felt pressure.
Jaguar coach Jim Winkler said, “We did a better job of picking up the rush in the second half. Our backup quarterback George (Landeros) does a great job of scrambling and making plays out of nothing.”
Henderson said that they got to see Landeros on film a couple of times, but for the most part seeing him play every snap was “pretty fresh” to them.
Winkler said of Landeros, “The ones and twos (string quarterbacks) get their reps at practice. George (Landeros) has played for us a bit this year as we’ve played him in certain packages. It’s not like he came in cold.”
Winkler said that Landeros had played a half against Merced College and Monterey Peninsula College earlier this season.