Football squad fails to hold lead
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 15:10
Leading 13-10 at halftime, Contra Costa College looked to have a win within reach Saturday in a non-conference game against Sacramento City College at Comet Stadium.
However, three costly Comet turnovers allowed the Panthers to score 19 points in the second half, giving SCC the 29-21 victory.
Early in the 2012 season, Comet coach Alonzo Carter said he wanted to emphasize the importance of his young football squad (now 2-3 overall) finding its identity.
While the Comet defense has shown strides throughout the season, the offense and special teams have yet to establish any consistency as a failed punt attempt, fumble and interception helped the Panthers (3-2 overall) seize momentum in the game.
“It was a bad game. We came out (at halftime) and didn’t execute our gameplan,” Carter said. “We had the game in our hands and to lose it is embarrassing.”
The first of CCC’s three turnovers came in the third quarter after punter Davonte Sapp-Lynch fumbled a punt attempt on fourth down.
Sapp-Lynch then tried to run for a first down but he was stopped by the Panther defense at CCC’s 13-yard line, creating a turnover on downs.
Due to excellent field position resulting from the misplayed punt attempt, the Panthers took the lead 17-13 when quarterback Ronald Beverly found wide receiver Anthony King for a 13-yard touchdown pass.
After being placed on their own 10-yard line on the ensuing drive, the Comets turned the ball over yet again when freshman quarterback Malik Watson fumbled a snap that was recovered by Panther linebacker Raymond Bautista at the 5-yard line.
This set up another touchdown for Beverly as he fired the ball to King for a 5-yard touchdown pass, giving the Panthers a 23-13 lead.
“When we see the offense not gain any momentum it decreases our momentum on defense,” Comet defensive back John Lewis said.
The Comet defense attempted to keep the team in the game as they nabbed three interceptions, two of which came in the third quarter.
Carter said that while he was satisfied with his squad’s defensive effort, CCC’s inability to make plays on offense forced the defense to stay on the field longer, causing fatigue.
“Our defense stays on the field for too long,” Carter said. “(Sacramento) capitalized on (our defensive fatigue) and stayed on our side of the field.”
Trailing the Panthers 23-13 entering the fourth quarter, the Comets lost the intensity they showed in the first half.
After the Comet defense forced a three-and-out series midway through the fourth quarter, Watson threw an interception on the Comets’ ensuing offensive play. The interception was grabbed by SCC defensive back Byron Gibson II who returned it for a 40-yard touchdown, giving SCC a commanding 29-13 lead.
Despite giving up an 89-yard kickoff return to Panther defensive back James Kilson to open the game, the Comets responded when Sapp-Lynch returned the following kickoff 62 yards to the Panther 30-yard line.
The return set up a solid offensive drive for the Comets, which ended in a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Lamar McKnight to wide receiver Ronald Butler.
So far this season Butler leads Comet receivers with 22 receptions for 340 yards and three touchdowns.
After a defensive stalemate from both teams, the Comets managed to score their second touchdown in the second quarter when running back Rashad Hall evaded several Panther tacklers and darted to a 59-yard touchdown run, giving CCC a 13-10 lead.
“(CCC) had a lot of energy coming into the game,” Panther coach Dannie Walker said. “They came out focused and we weren’t able to match their intensity level.”
While the Comets proved they could dominate in the first half, they were unable to sustain it in the second half.
“When we start games we tend to go 100 percent, but then we start letting games slip away from us,” Lewis said.
The Comets have a bye this week before beginning Bay Valley Conference play on the road against Yuba College (2-2 overall) on Oct. 13 at 3 p.m.
Carter said he hopes his team can regroup in time for the BVC opener.