Freshman Sergio Garcia's (Wilson HS) 19-yard field goal with no time left on the clock completed another second-half comeback for Long Beach City College as the Vikings edged visiting Allan Hancock College 20-17 in a non-league game at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.
LBCC, who entered the game ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 3 nationally by JCFootball.com, is 6-0 for the second consecutive season. The Vikings have now won nine straight games dating back to the end of last year.
Hancock set the tone early for the game as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the second quarter. Malik Williams opened the contest with a 63-yard kickoff return that lead to a Bakari Davis 13-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 AHC lead. The Bulldogs added to the lead after Williams capped an eight-play, 67-yard drive with a four-yard TD run. And a 29-yard field goal by Jose Morales at the 12:59 mark in the in second gave Hancock the 17-point advantage.
Long Beach finally responded when freshman quarterback Jack Lowary (Mater Dei HS) marched the Vikings 75 yards over seven plays. Lowary got LBCC on the board with his impressive 44-yard touchdown pass over the top to freshman wide receiver Jacob Welch (Mater Dei HS) with 10:28 to go in the half.
LBCC cut the lead to three late in the third quarter. A 54-yard reception by freshman Mike Wilson (Washington Prep) got the Vikings deep in Hancock territory. Three plays later, sophomore Deonte Dixon (Paramount HS) ran in from one-yard out to make the score 17-14 a the 3:49 mark.
In the fourth quarter, the Viking defense took over to set the stage for Garcia.
On Hancock's ensuing drive, the LBCC defense forced a punt after five plays which led to another long Viking scoring drive. Lowary completed eight of 12 passes before Garcia hit a 25-yard field goal to tie up the game at 17 with 12:08 left in regulation.
Hancock responded with a long drive of its own, getting down to the LBCC 27-yard line. But Long Beach force a 44-yard field goal attempt that was blocked by sophomore Kiante Goudeau (Edison HS) to keep the game tied up.
And on the Bulldogs' final drive, sophomore Gabe Medrano (St. John Bosco HS) forced a fumble on Williams' short run that was recovered by freshman Marcus Reynolds (Gahr HS) on the AHC 32-yard line. LBCC took the ball down to the Hancock one-yard line put couldn't punch the ball in for the touchdown. With one second left on the clock, Garcia chipped in his field goal from 19 yards out to lift the Vikings to their third straight come-from-behind victory.
Wilson was held to just two catches in the first half before exploding in the second to lead the Vikings' offense. He ended his night with eight receptions for 143 yards. Lowary completed 26 of 50 passes for 287 yards and a TD with no interceptions. Welch also had a good night with seven catches for 86 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, sophomore Thomas Patolo (St. John Bosco HS) led LBCC with 7.5 tackles. Sophomore Mat Boesen (West Torrance HS/Boise State) was also a menace on D with five tackles, 2.5 sacks, and four quarterback hurries.
Long Beach is back in action at home next Saturday (Oct. 17) at 6 p.m. when the Vikings host Chaffey College in a National Central League game. LBCC will be looking for revenge as Chaffey handed the Vikings their first loss of 2014 that ultimately kept them out of the playoffs.
LBCC should likely move up in both the state and national rankings before next week's contest. Riverside, ranked No. 1 in California and No. 3 nationally, suffered a 52-21 loss to Fullerton on Saturday.