Big plays doom Pirates in loss to Griffins

Photo courtesy of Steven Guersch
Photo courtesy of Steven Guersch

COSTA MESA -- After three games of avoiding the 'big play' on defense, the Orange Coast College football team fell victim to that very stat and fell to visiting Grossmont, 54-23, on Saturday night inside LeBard Stadium.

After holding Golden West, Santa Monica and Moorpark to just two plays of more than 25 yards, the Griffins found their groove and hit seven different plays of more than 25 yards as the Pirate defense struggled to keep up Griffins' well-balanced offense.

The Pirates (1-3), after struggling on offense in last week's 3-0 win over Moorpark, found more success with the ball against the Griffins and racked up 381 yards of total offense. Quarterback Brandon Cannella threw for 186 yards and a touchdown on 13-of-24 passing, while the running backs David Hernandez (17 carries, 93 yards) and J.P. Segura-Queijeiro (12 carries, 64 yards, one TD) balanced the offensive gameplan. Edwin LaCrosse was OCC's top receiving target, catching six passes for 83 yards and a touchdown.

For the Griffins (3-2), Brady Abt was 23-of-32 for 338 yards and three touchdowns (two interceptions), while the running back foursome of Treyvion Davies, Keiyon Holloway, Chris Dartey and Xavier Hamlett combined for 187 yards on 23 carries. Davies also rushed for three touchdowns, while Hamlett added one of his own. Grossmont wide receiver Chris Carter caught eight passes for 166 yards and a touchdown.

A 31-yard strike from Abt to Carter helped set up a 4-yard TD run from Davies on the opening drive of the game, putting the Griffins up, 7-0.

Coast came right back and pounded out a 13-play, 73-yard drive, but, much like last week, the drive stalled at the goal line and Coast had to settle for an 18-yard field goal by Zach Grisotti to make it 7-3.

Back came Grossmont in a hurry as Abt hooked up with Carter on a 50-yard touchdown pass to cap off a four-play, 65-yard drive, putting Grossmont up, 14-3.

After Hernandez carried the load in OCC's opening drive, Segura-Queijeiro returned the favor on the next drive, accounting for 40 of OCC's 82-yard scoring drive. He capped things off with a 4-yard TD run to make it 14-10.

A stern defensive goal-line stop for the Pirates, kept the Griffins off the scoreboard, but pinned the Pirates on their own 1-yard line. A rushed punt left the Griffins just 20 yards to go for a touchdown four plays later, Abt made it 21-10 with a 1-yard TD run.

Coast hung tough in the second half and a 20-yard TD pass from Cannella to LaCrosse late in the second quarter made it 21-16 following a missed point-after-attempt.

Grossmont delivered a gut punch to the Pirates just before halftime with a successful fake field-goal attempt that led to a first-and-goal opportunity in the final minute of play. Davies plowed in from a yard out with 18 seconds left to make it 28-16.

Coast opened the third quarter with the ball and promptly marched inside the Grossmont red zone, but a sack pushed the Pirates back and a 42-yard field goal was missed. Two BIG plays later, Grossmont was back on the scoreboard when Davies broke free on a 45-yard touchdown run, making it 34-16.

A bright spot for the OCC defense came when Abt was picked off by Corey Sampson, who returned the interception 22 yards for an OCC touchdown to bring Coast to within shouting distance midway through the fourth quarter.

But an onside kick attempt was recovered by Grossmont and one play later, Abt hooked up with Dylon Gebase on a 32-yard TD pass to wrap the game up for the Griffins.

Ronnie Cannon led the Pirate defense with 10 total tackles and had 1.5 sacks, while Grant Conaway added six tackles (four solo). Noah Skobis also had the first of OCC's two interceptions for the evening.

OCC will return to action on Saturday at Citrus College, beginning at 1 p.m. OCC's next home game will take place on Saturday, Oct. 30 against Santa Ana, also at 1 p.m.