Trailing 21-7 to visiting Los Angeles Harbor College early in the third quarter, the Long Beach City College football team needed a spark to get its offense going. But it was sophomore corner back Kiante Goudeau (Edison HS) on defense that came up with the big plays when the Vikings needed them most. Goudeau had a pair of returns for touchdowns in the third quarter as LBCC rallied to beat the Seahawks 32-27 in both teams' SCFA National Central League opener at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Long Beach, ranked No. 6 nationally and No. 4 in the state, survived the scare to improve to 4-0 overall and 1-0 league play. With the loss, Harbor dropped to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the NCL.
The LBCC offense looked good on its opening drive but couldn't get much going on the rest of the way. The Vikings went 73 yards over eight plays on their first drive and took an early 7-0 lead after sophomore Deonte Dixon (Paramount HS) stumbled in for a one-yard touchdown run at the 11:34 mark.
From that point, it was the Harbor offense that seemed to move the ball down field at will against a LBCC defense that was ranked No. 2 in the state in points and offensive yards allowed. The Seahawks responded with three unanswered touchdowns passes from quarterback Clark Livingston. His four-yard TD pass to Royce Dodd at the 11:42 mark in the third gave Harbor a stunning 14-point advantage.
But the Vikings responded by putting the ball back on the ground. On the ensuing drive, Dixon had a pair of 12-yard runs and freshman Tyree Harris (Torrance HS) ran in from three-yards out to finally get back on the board. The extra point kick was missed and LBCC was down 21-13 with 7:09 to go in the third.
The much-needed score put momentum back on the Vikings' side and woke up the defense. With Harbor driving, Goudeau picked off Livingston's pass and ran it back 51 yards for a touchdown. Moments later on the Seahawks next drive, sophomore Mat Boesen (West Torrance HS) forced the fumble on Livingston that was scooped up by Goudeau and ran back 48 yards for a second defensive touchdown that put the Vikings back out in front 26-21 with 4:50 to play in the third.
Goudeau added another third-quarter interception but he and the Vikings couldn't stop Livingston from connecting with Josh Dunbar for a six-yard TD pass that gave the Seahawks a narrow one-point lead (27-26) with 12:22 left in the fourth.
But down the stretch, the Vikings continued to pound the ball on the ground to chew up the final minutes on the clock. Freshman Sergio Garcia (Wilson HS) capped a 12-play, four-minute drive with a 32-yard field to give the Vikings back the lead at 29-27. And with 1:12 to play, Garcia iced the win with a 28-yard field goal to close a 12-play, five minute drive.
Long Beach totaled 385 yards of offense including 271 yards rushing. Sophomore Darren Johnson followed up his 212-yard rushing effort from last week with a game-high 117 yards on 16 carries. Dixon added 89 yards on 14 rushes and a touchdown.
Freshman quarterback Jack Lowary had a rough outing as he was sacked six times, including four by Harbor's Daquan Wilson. Lowary completed 22 of 35 passes for 195 yards and an interception.
Sophomore Keanu Hill (Serra HS) led Long Beach with seven tackles while sophomore Josh Fatu (Lakewood HS) added two sacks. Boesen forced a pair of fumbles to go with 4.5 tackles and sophomore London Iakopo (Mater Dei HS) blocked an extra-point kick and field goal attempt.
Long Beach returns to action next Saturday (Oct. 3) at 6 p.m. when the Vikings travel to Mt. San Antonio College (2-2, 1-0 NCL) for a National Central League game.