Freshman Darren Johnson's (Cabrillo HS) three-yard touchdown run with 6:56 left in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winner as the Long Beach City College football team beat Citrus College 33-27 on the road in a National Central League game on Saturday.
With the win, Long Beach improved to 7-2 overall and 3-2 in league play. The Vikings close out the regular season next Saturday (Nov. 15) when they host El Camino College in a must-win game at Veterans Memorial Stadium at 6 p.m. A victory in the finale will likely secure the Vikings the fourth and final Southern California playoff spot.
Despite collecting a season-high of 628 offensive yards, the Vikings had to erase a 27-24 third-quarter Citrus lead.
Long Beach tied the game at 27 when freshman Alfredo Solis (Paramount HS) kicked a 27-yard field goal at the 7:28 mark in the third. The Vikings were able to get deep in Citrus territory on their next two drives, but Solis' field goal attempts from 36 and 26 yards were unsuccessful.
The Long Beach defense forced a three-play drive before the Vikings got the ball back on their own 48-yard line after a Citrus punt. From there, sophomore quarterback Brock Dale (Lakewood HS) was able to orchestrate the game-winning, eight-play drive.
A 13-yard reception by sophomore Jeremy Villa (Downey HS) on 3rd and 4 got the Vikings a crucial first down. Later in the drive, sophomore Josiah Blandin (Poly HS) caught a 14-yard pass to get to the Citrus eight-yard line. Two plays later, Johnson made his way in from three yards out to put Long Beach ahead for good.
Long Beach totaled 349 yards rushing while holding Citrus to just five yards on the ground. Freshman Anterio Bateman (Serra HS) had a huge game for the Vikings, running for a season-high 178 yards on 26 carries. His 69-yard touchdown run in the first gave the Vikings a 10-7 lead. Johnson also broke 100 yards rushing, running 21 times for 114 yards.
Dale threw for 279 yards on 22 of 41 passing with one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for 49 yards, including a three-yard TD run in the second. His seven-yard touchdown pass to sophomore De'Quan Hampton (Dominguez HS) extended LBCC's advantage to 24-14 at the 7:37 mark in the second.
Sophomore Matthew Rowe (Poly HS) and freshman London Iakopo (Mater Dei HS) led the LBCC defense with seven tackles. Iakopo's interception from the Vikings' three-yard line with 4:27 left in the game sealed the victory for Long Beach.