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Football: Vikings bring home War Ax with 53-31 win over El Camino, await postseason fate

LBCC retains possession of the War Ax trophy for the first time since 2002 after its win over rival El Camino (Photo by Michael Leone)
LBCC retains possession of the War Ax trophy for the first time since 2002 after its win over rival El Camino (Photo by Michael Leone)

The Long Beach City College Vikings closed out the regular season with a 53-31 win over rival El Camino College to snap a five-game losing streak to the Warriors and bring home the war Ax perpetual trophy on Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Long Beach is 8-2 overall and finished 4-2 in National Central League play as the Vikings will have to wait until Sunday morning to find out their postseason fate. Tonight's win combined with a victory by Bakersfield College over Ventura College likely secured Long Beach a spot in the Southern California Playoffs. At worst, LBCC would host a non-playoff bowl game next Saturday (Nov. 22).  

The Vikings totaled over 500 yards of offense for the seventh time this season as the Vikings ran for 236 yards and got a 230-yard passing effort from sophomore Kenny Potter (San Pedro HS).

LBCC put the game out of reach early, as the Vikings jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. Freshman Darren Johnson (Cabrillo HS) had a nine-yard touchdown run before Josh Thomas (Cabrillo HS) ran back an interception 90 yards for a touchdown. Shortly before the end of the first, freshman Anterio Bateman (Serra HS) weaved his way in from 12 yards out and the Vikings were rolling.

El Camino responded with a pair of touchdowns, but missed on both PATs, to cut the LBCC lead to 21-12 at the 7:53 mark in the second.

But the Vikings responded with a Potter one-yard TD pass to sophomore De'Quan Hampton (Dominguez HS) and freshman Alfredo Solis (Paramount HS) hit a 27-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to send LBCC into the break with a commanding 31-12 lead.

It was more of the same in the second half. Long Beach opened up the scoring when Potter connected with freshman Zach Saffle (Richards, TX) for a 31-yard TD reception. Saffle broke a pair of tackles on his way in for the impressive score. Freshman Royce Moore (St. John Bosco HS) got in on the touchdown party with his five-yard TD plunge at the eight-minute mark before Kameron White (Poly HS) took his one and only carry 80 yards for an electrifying touchdown with 3:31 left to play.

El Camino scored a touchdown with just 22 seconds left in the contest, but on the extra-point try Kiante Goudeau (Edison HS) blocked the kick, scooped it up around the 20-yard line and ran it all the way back for a two-point defensive PAT to put an exclamation point on the LBCC victory.

Potter had an efficient night, completing 19 of 23 passes for 230 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran five times for 27 yards.

Bateman had his fourth 100+ yard rushing night of the season, going for 105 yards on 13 carries. He is just 80 yards shy of the 1,000 yard mark this season.

Hampton was the Vikings' top receiver with seven catches for 76 yards. Sophomore Josiah Blandin (Poly HS) also caught three passes for 67 yards.

Sophomore Matthew Rowe (Poly HS) led the LBCC defense with 11 tackles (9 solo) while freshman Scotty Fao (Banning HS) had seven tackles, 1 1/2 sacks, and was credited with two quarterback hurries.

Playoff pairings and bowl game matchups will be announced by the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) by late Sunday morning at