Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Football: Vikings wrap up National Central League championship with 38-36 win over El Camino

The LBCC Vikings are National Central League champions and will be playing in a bowl game for the second straight season. (File photo by John Fajardo)
The LBCC Vikings are National Central League champions and will be playing in a bowl game for the second straight season. (File photo by John Fajardo)

Long Beach City College totaled a season-high 622 yards of offense but had to erase a halftime deficit and survive a fourth-quarter El Camino College rally before holding on for a 38-36 SCFA National Central League win on Saturday night at Redondo Union High School.

With the victory, Long Beach wrapped up the regular season with a 9-1 overall record and shares the Central League title with Riverside City College and Mt. San Antonio College who all finished at 5-1 in the NCL. It is LBCC's first league/conference championship since 2011.

Long Beach will learn its postseason fate on Sunday when regional playoff matchups and bowl game pairings will be announced by the California Community College Athletic Association Bowl Selection Committee. A tie-breaking procedure will be used to identify the Central League's automatic bid into the four-team Southern California playoffs while a Power Ranking Index (PRI) will be used to determine the fourth at-large spot.

It was a huge game for the Vikings as a team and individually on Saturday. With two touchdown catches against El Camino, freshman wide receiver Mike Wilson (Washington Preparatory HS) tied and broke LBCC single-season receiving touchdown record. His 32-yard TD reception from Jack Lowary (Mater Dei HS) on the Vikings' opening drive gave him 14 to break the record last tied by Travon Payne in 2011 while his 11-yard score from Lowary at the 4:16 mark in the third quarter increased his record total.

Sophomore running back Darren Johnson (Cabrillo HS) joined the 1,000-yard rushing club as he broke free for 191 yards on 28 carries. He ends the regular season with 1,042 rushing yards over nine games. Johnson also caught five passes for 94 yards tonight with a pair of touchdowns as he totaled a season-high 285 yards of offense.

Lowary also put up his second consecutive big game as he completed 28 of 46 passes for 409 yards with five touchdowns and an interception.

Despite the impressive offensive numbers, Long Beach trailed 23-17 at halftime but scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter to go ahead 38-23.

But in the fourth, El Camino rallied to turn the contest into a nail bitter. The Warriors' defense recovered a LBCC fumble in the Vikings' end zone to cut the lead to 38-30 with 4:49 to play. And with 2:16 left, ECC quarterback Jorge Hernandez connected with Dajuan Parnham for a 20-yard TD to get El Camino within two at 38-36. The Warriors' two-point conversion pass was no good, but El Camino had one last chance to pull off the win in longtime head coach John Featherstone's final game. But with four seconds left on the game clock, Nathan Hierlihy's 47-yard field goal attempt was just short and the Vikings held on for the win.

Long Beach defeated El Camino for the second straight season and retained possession of the War Ax, the perpetual trophy given to the winner of the rivalry game.

The Vikings will also be playing in their second straight bowl game and 20th overall since 1950. LBCC is 12-7 in its 19 previous bowl games. Last season, Long Beach was left out of the Southern California playoffs and went on to rout Golden West College 75-41 in the Beach Bowl.