Pirates own worst enemy in loss to Corsairs

Photo courtesy of Steven Guersch.
Photo courtesy of Steven Guersch.

COSTA MESA -- Self-inflicted mistakes proved costly for the Orange Coast College football team as the Pirates fought hard, but came up short in a 29-22 loss to visiting Santa Monica City College on Saturday at LeBard Stadium.

The glaring stat for the Pirates (0-2) on the scoresheet following Saturday's game was penalties. Coast was called for 18 infractions for a whopping 165 yards with several coming on crucial short-yard situations for the Corsairs that extended drives and led to points.

Quarterback J.D. Rafkin threw for 218 yards and a touchdown on 21-of-35 passing, while running back J.P. Segura-Queijeiro topped the 100-yard mark with 109 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. Wide receiver Aaron Fletcher caught a team-best seven passes for 101 yards and a touchdown as the Pirates outgained the Corsairs (2-2) in the game, 360-335.

Santa Monica took its opening drive and marched 82 yards down the field for the first score of the game as Hassan Biggus capped off the seven-play drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.

Near the end of the opening quarter, SMCC made it 13-0 on a 10-yard TD strike from quarterback Sam Vaulton to Tariq Brown. OCC's Braydon Johnson blocked the ensuing PAT to keep it 13-0.

On an OCC punt attempt, a high snap rolled into the OCC end zone, where punter Zach Grisotti alertly kicked it out of bounds for a safety, putting the Pirates down, 15-0.

Coast found a little juice before halftime as the Pirates used a short field and drove 45 yards on four plays for a touchdown as QB J.D. Rafkin plowed in from a yard out to make it 15-6 after a blocked PAT.

That momentum carried into the second half as Segura-Queijeiro used a nice spin move near the goal line and found the end zone on a 4-yard run to cap off an impressive 11-play, 84-yard scoring drive, putting the Pirates down just two at 15-13.

But the Corsairs answered right back with a 10-play, 87-yard scoring drive of their own, capped off by a Josiah Neos 3-yard TD run to push the lead back up to nine at 22-13.

Grisotti ripped a 41-yard field goal just three plays into the fourth quarter to bring the Pirates to within one score at 22-16.

But, once again, SMCC would respond as a Neos 1-yard TD run capped off another long scoring drive to make it 29-16.

OCC found success on offense this week and managed to keep drives alive much better than against Golden West in Week 1. Rafkin connected with Fletcher on a 3-yard TD pass to finish off a 17-play, 75-yard scoring drive to give the Pirates one last shot with a minute remaining.

Santa Monica managed to successfully pick up the onside kick, but could not run out the clock, giving Coast a sliver of hope with 31 seconds left.

Rafkin went 3-of-4 in the final drive, but with no timeouts left, time ran out on the Pirates near midfield.

Coast will return to action on Saturday at Moorpark College, beginning at 7 p.m. The Pirates will return to LeBard Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 9 against Grossmont (a make-up game from Sept. 11), beginning at 6 p.m.