The Long Beach City College Viking football team fell to the Saddleback Gauchos 45-35 in the highly anticipated home opener on Saturday evening. The Vikings looked for redemption after falling to the Gauchos last year in the SoCal Regional game. After taking the lead in the first half, the Vikings ran out of steam and couldn't keep up to Saddleback's momentum building second half.
To kick off the game, Long Beach was the first to score with a tremendous 60 yard throw from sophomore quarterback Grant Lowary to sophomore wide reciever Jabari Minix. Saddleback responded with 1:21 left in the quarter with a 12 yard pass into a touchdown to tie the game 7-7.
Long Beach reacted with back-to-back touchdowns to take the 14 point lead. Sophomore wide reciever Cedric Byrd received an 8 yard pass from Lowary for the first touchdown of the quarter, while freshman running back Elijah Bynum smashed the eleven yard rush into the end zone. The Gauchos put up seven more points on the board before the half to only trail 21-14.
The Gauchos weren't bothered just yet in the second half and took a 46 yard fumble recovery to the board, followed by another touchdown at the seven minute mark. Long Beach hadn't given up and Cedric Byrd nailed a 26 yard catch from Lowary to keep the Vikings in the game.
Saddleback got some steam rolling with two more touchdowns and a 42 yard field goal to command the lead 45-28 in the fourth quarter. Byrd had one more in him and took the ball home from a 17 yard pass to finalize the game with a 45-35 loss.
Minix led the team with receiving 153 yards and averaged 13.9. Sophomore defensive lineman Adebayo Soremekun led the team defensively with eight tackles, five solo and four assisted and while recording a sack in the first quarter and a QB hurry. Freshman defensive back Cross Poyer was right behind him with eight tackles.
The Vikings (1-1) will play again against Moorpark on Saturday, Sept 16 at the Veterans Memorial Stadium at 6 p.m.