Scrappy defense secures first win
CCC defensive unit nabs six interceptions
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 14:09
A strong defensive effort helped the Contra Costa College football team defeat De Anza College 13-10 at home on Saturday.
Seven forced turnovers by the defense, six interceptions and a fumble recovery, were the difference in the Comets’ (1-1) first win of the season against the Dons (1-1).
“We tweaked our man and zone coverage for this game and it paid off with the number of turnovers we capitalized on,” CCC coach Alonzo Carter said. “We knew defensively that we had to tighten up from last week’s loss. Those six interceptions were key to our victory.”
The Comets look to gain a second win Saturday as they will go on the road to face Gavilan College (1-1) in Gilroy at 5 p.m.
Throughout the De Anza game, CCC’s defense looked aggressive. Comet defensive linemen were able to hurry Don quarterback Josh McCain into several rushed throws that were tipped by defensive backs and intercepted.
The Comet defense was able to make its presence known when defensive back Anthony Beaver Jr. nabbed an interception in the first quarter, his second of the season.
While the defense prospered, the Comet offense struggled to get in sync.
Many rushing and passing attempts were stopped for short yardage forcing the squad to punt the ball often.
“At the beginning of the game, our quarterbacks needed to get in rhythm,” Comet wide receiver Ronald Butler said.
The only surge of offense in the first half came when Comet quarterback Lamar McKnight threw a 38-yard pass to Butler bringing the team to the Don 7 yard line.
Despite being seven yards away from a touchdown, CCC failed to punch in a score on three of its four downs, and missed a field goal attempt by kicker Daniel Holliday.
After the field goal miss, the Dons were able to work their way down field with a combination of running and passing plays.
De Anza ended the 14-play drive with a 6-yard touchdown when McCain threw a lob pass over the head of Comet defensive back Dominique Harrison to 6-foot-5-inch tight end Austin Begnal.
Comet quarterback Lamar McKnight started the game and completed seven passes of 12 attempts for 65 yards but was relieved in the first half by freshman quarterback Malik Watson.
While the Dons led 7-0 in the first half, the Comets were still able to keep up their defensive intensity.
Comet defensive back Tyran Finley made a diving interception in the end zone to prevent a potential De Anza touchdown, CCC’s second in the first half.
“I had an epiphany before today’s game and something told me to go back to our basic defensive scheme of a cover 1 press,” defensive coordinator Otis Yelverton said. “We have a very athletic team and our specialty on defense is to create pressure and force turnovers.”
Trailing 7-0 entering the second half, CCC’s defense took control of the momentum after a leaping interception by Comet defensive back Ransom Cook that eventually set up a 76-yard bomb from Watson to Butler for a touchdown.
“I realized De Anza’s cornerback was playing my route on my outside shoulder with no safety help,” Butler said. “I told Malik to throw it to me on the next play and I think it definitely bumped up our momentum.”
Butler led the Comets with six receptions for 137 yards.
On the Dons’ next possession McCain threw his fourth pick of the contest. Cook tipped his pass and it was intercepted for a second time by Finley, who returned the pick 85 yards for a touchdown.
“We have great coaches who prepare us well for every game,” Beaver Jr. said. “We had great practices in preparation for this game since we had to make up for last week (a 33-13 loss at Foothill College).”
CCC’s defense forced two more interceptions, both nabbed by Harrison, and managed to give up only a field goal in the second half as the squad held on for the win.
“In last week’s loss to Foothill, we didn’t play to our potential,” Yelverton said. “(This week) the defense forced six interceptions and it’s the second week we scored on defense.”
So far this season the Comet defense has a total of seven interceptions, seven sacks and two defensive touchdowns, all leading the Bay Valley Conference.
“We cut down on our penalties and limited De Anza’s big plays,” Carter said. “Nobody expected us to win this game but today was a good win for us and shows the strides we are making as a program.”