The Modesto Junior College defense came up big in the fourth quarter to help give the Pirates their first win of the year on Friday night.
Running back Anthony Cota rushed for three touchdowns and Tyler Johnson recovered a fumble with less than 40 seconds left in the game to help MJC preserve a 28-27 victory over previously unbeaten Diablo Valley College.
“It was a great team effort,” MJC coach Sam Young said. “All the phases were involved one way or another. I’m proud of the resiliency of the team. It would have been easy to say we were injured, coming off a short week and going up against an undefeated team.
“But we rose to the challenge.”
The visiting Pirates improved to 1-2 ahead of their home game next Saturday against Sacramento City College.
Down 24-21, the Pirates looked to be in trouble in the third quarter after DVC blocked a punt and took over first-and-10 on the MJC 20. After three plays netted seven yards, Diablo Valley went for it on fourth. However, Eric Ellis dropped a pass that would have gone for first down.
The Pirates took over, got to midfield on a pass play and DVC penalty. A few plays later – on fourth down from the DVC 38 – Joe Legerrette-Luke hit Frankie Jordanoglou on a short slant. Jordanoglou broke a tackle and sprinted to the end zone to give the Pirates a 28-24 lead at the end of the third quarter.
“We caught them in a full blitz,” Young said. “That play was there numerous times, and we finally executed it.”
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Pirates forced a DVC punt then took time off the clock, driving all the way down to the DVC 15 yard line with less than two minutes left. On third-and-10, the Pirates were dropped for a 13-yard loss on a reverse attempt.
MJC’s Thomas Langley then attempted a 46-yard field goal that came up short.
DVC had the ball with 50 seconds left, and on second down, Wood was stripped of the ball by Jeremiah Walters and Johnson recovered.
DVC entered the game with a 2-0 record, having beat its opponents by a combined 92-39 victory.
The Pirates opened the scoring on a 66-yard touchdown run by Cota.
DVC, however, came right back on a 27-yard field goal, and an Wood-to-Ellis 11-yard TD pass for a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
MJC took the lead back early in the second quarter when the Pirates recovered a mishandled backward pass on DVC’s 13-yard line. Cota scored a few players later for a 14-10 lead.
Wood and Ellis connected again on a 30-yard scoring play for a 17-14 lead.
The Pirates took the lead back, though, on a five-play, 77-yard drive capped by Cota’s 4-yard scoring run up the middle.
On third and 10 at the 14, MJC quarterback Luke was pressured, tried to flip it to a player behind the line of scrimmage, but DVC intercepted it. A few plays later, Wood, under pressure, stepped up in the pocket and hit Leondre Washington on a 28-yard scoring play for a 24-21 lead.
The Turlock school hosted the men’s and women’s tournament last fall.
“Cal State Stanislaus and the Turlock community have always done a great job supporting the CCAA Soccer Championships when it has come to town and we are sure we will have another outstanding event this season,” said CCAA Commissioner Mike Matthews.
Semifinal games are on Nov. 7 and championship games are Nov. 9.
Since the 2,100-seat Warrior Stadium opened in 2009, the school has been the site of the CCAA soccer championships five times in six years.
First-round games will be a home sites.