Last Saturday’s Southern California Football Association Central Division/East Conference game between the host Southwestern College Jaguars and Orange Coast College Pirates was littered with miscues by both teams in the first half. As for the second half — and beyond — it was about as exciting as a community college football game can get.
And, at least for the Jaguars, as frustrating.
Southwestern rallied from a 24-10 deficit on the strength of two fourth quarter touchdown runs by Aaron Harris (Granite Hills) to send the game into overtime. The teams each scored in the first overtime period to remain tied at 31-31.
The Pirates escaped with a 34-31 victory in the second overtime when Jackson Dionne hit on a 51-yard field goal.
The game, which began with light fog hovering around the field, took three hours and seven minutes to finally determine a winner.
Orange Coast evened its conference record at 1-1 and upped its overall record to 3-4 while Southwestern dropped to 0-2 in conference play and 4-3 overall.
Harris, who has been in and out of the lineup this season once again due to injury, put on a bravado performance by rushing for 219 yards and scoring three touchdowns.
His first TD came on a four-yard run with 1:35 left in the second quarter to help the hosts cut into an early 14-3 Orange Coast advantage. He scored on a 67-yard romp with 11:34 left in the fourth quarter to put the Jaguars back in the game after falling behind 24-10.
Harris then scored the game-tying touchdown on a seven-yard run with 5:38 left in regulation play.
Jovan Gonzales (Olympian) kicked a 19-yard field goal and tacked on four PAT conversions to finish the game with seven kicking points.
The Pirates’ Domenic Betts matched Harris with three touchdowns. He generally proved to be unstoppable, especially in the first half, by rushing for 272 yards on 37 carries.
A defensive sputter in the dying seconds of the first half gave the visitors just enough ammunition to allow Dionne to boot a 24-yard field goal as time expired to put Orange Coast up 17-10 at halftime.
Turnabout then proved to be fair play as the Pirates sputtered on their opening drive to start the second half with a missed field goal.
After the teams deadlocked at 24 through four quarters, OCC quarterback Mike Frank connected with Matt Carlyle for a 30-yard touchdown. Dioinne added the extra point and the Pirates led 31-24.
SWC signal-caller Brett Nelson (St. Francis), who didn’t have the best of games (most notably in the first half), then hit Robin Johnson on a 22-yard score. When Gonzales tacked on the PAT, the teams were tied at 31.
On the ensuing possession by OCC, it took four plays before Dionne eventually hit the game-winner. Dionne finished two-for-four on field goals on the breezy night, missing from 35 and 42 yards out.
The Pirates finished with a wide margin in first downs (24 to 17) and rushing yards (285 to 250) and also recorded an edge in passing yards (151 to 124). OCC accumulated 536 total yards to SWC’s 374.
The Jaguars did not help themselves by committing 12 penalties for 103 yards.
Nelson finished 11-for-22 for 124 yards. He did not throw an interception but was sacked twice.
Harris had five catches for 26 yards while Rashad Greene (Daytona Beach, Fla.) led SWC’s receivers in total yards with 47 on two catches. Greene hauled in one 50-yarder in the first half but was caught behind the line of scrimmage for a three-yard loss on his other grab.
For OCC, Frank finished 11-of-20 for 149 yards, was sacked three times and intercepted once.
Nathan Drumm (Bonita Vista) was called on to punt eight times in the game, averaging 40.5 yards, with a longest punt going for 58 yards.
Gonzales averaged 65.4 yards on five kick-offs.
The what if department: The Pirates fumbled eight times in the game but lost possession only once.
Patrick Jarin (Eastlake) led the SWC defense with 10 tackles while Akeele Thompson (Morse) made nine stops, including three behind the line of scrimmage. Rodney Williams (Helix) had one pick for the Jags, who next play Golden West this Saturday, Oct. 29, at 1 p.m. at Orange Coast College.
Southwestern host Santa Ana in a 6 p.m. start on Nov. 5 before wrapping up its regular season schedule with a Nov. 12 match-up at Riverside (6 p.m. kickoff).
Riverside 2-0 (7-0)
College of Desert 1-1 (5-2)
Santa Ana 1-1 (4-3)
Golden West 1-1 (3-4)
Orange Coast 1-1 (3-4)
Southwestern 0-2 (4-3)
Southwestern Jaguars Statistical Leaders
Aaron Harris: 493 yards on 75 carries, 123.2 yards per game
Patrick Mitchell: 323 yards on 72 carries, 64.6 yards per game
Cass White: 260 yards on 40 carries, 43.3 yards per game
Beau Bickel: 127 yards o 31 carries, 21.2 yards per game
Brett Nelson: 97 completions in 179 attempts for 1,233 yards, eight touchdowns, five interceptions
Marquise Deadwiler: 29 catches for 366 yards, 52.3 yards per game
Cass White: 22 catches for 216 yards, 36.0 yards per game
Rashad Greene: 10 catches for 224 yards, 44.8 yards per game
Aaron Harris: 9 catches for 85 yards, 21.2 yards per game
Robert Savoy: 8 catches for 109 yards, 15.6 yards per game
Jordan Jacobs: 6 catches for 79 yards, 13.2 yards per game
Aaron Harris: 7 touchdowns, 42 points
Jovan Gonzales: 7-of-8 field goals, 20-of-21 PAT conversions, 41 points
Cass White: 3 touchdowns, 18 points
Marquise Deadwiler: 3 touchdowns, 18 points
Brett Nelson: 2 touchdowns, 12 points
Patrick Mitchell: 2 touchdowns, 12 points
Rodney Williams: 2 interceptions
Patrick Jarin: 2 interceptions