In its season home opener, the Hancock College football team stayed out of its own way just well enough to grab its first win of the year.
Dominic Chapa broke up East Los Angeles College back-up quarterback Jorge Amaya's fourth down pass for Jamal Tate with 1:35 left, and the Bulldogs held off the Huskies for a 21-13 win at Hancock College Saturday. Both teams are 1-1.
After scoring on their previous possession, the Huskies drove to the Hancock 22 in a bid to tie the game. The drive stalled there with four straight incomplete passes.
On the fourth down pass, "I knew (Tate) was the guy they liked to look to," said Chapa.
"I just kept my eyes on the ball, stayed inside like my coaches told me to."
Hancock survived 19 accepted penalties, two of which (yes, two. Explanation to follow) wiped out Hancock defensive back Kaleb Monette's third-quarter fumble return for a touchdown.
The first penalty was for an illegal block that was well behind the play. The other was on a Hancock coach for interference on the sideline. Both 15-yarders were enforced, so instead of a touchdown the Bulldogs had the ball on their 40. They got no points out of their subsequent possession.
The Bulldogs were hit with a lot of pass interference penalties and one of those, on fourth down, kept the drive on which Nicholas Hutson ultimately scored from two yards out on to make it 21-13, alive.
"We got a lot of pass interference penalties," said Hancock coach Kris Dutra. "That's going to happen when a team passes a lot." East L.A. quarterbacks did throw the ball a lot, a combined 48 times.
Hancock led 15-6 when the Bulldogs got a defensive touchdown that DID count. J.D. Smith picked up a fumble and ran 20 yards for a score at the 9:53 mark of the fourth quarter.
Hutson capped the only sustained Huskies drive with his two-yard touchdown run with 6:06 left, but that was it for the TDs in this one.
They left a lot of potential points off the board, they practically gave the Huskies three more, yet the Bulldogs got the win and improved markedly in some areas from the 21-6 loss they took at Bakersfield last week in their season opener.
Besides the Smith fumble return, Hancock's defense got a safety in the third quarter. The snap went over Huskies' punter Kevin Bravo's head and, with Kaleb Monette pressuring Bravo, the ball went out of the end zone for the safety.
Other than his team getting the win, "I was most pleased with the defense," said Dutra.
"(The Huskies) beat an upper division team," in a 31-22 win over Orange Coast College at East L.A. in Monterey Park last week, Dutra said.
Last week, the Huskies moved the ball well on the ground and in the air. They struggled to move the ball at all Saturday. The Huskies had all of 10 yards on the ground. Hancock had 364 yards of total offense to East L.A.'s 161.
Hancock quarterback Jimmy Kelleher threw for 181 yards and a touchdown, a nine-yarder to Dominic Chance in the second quarter that gave Hancock a 10-0 lead, after throwing for 42 yards, and no scores, last week. Keller did throw two interceptions Saturday.
The Bulldogs had four quarterback sacks Saturday after getting just one last week.
"We gave up 21 points in the first half against Bakersfield," said Chapa. "Since then, the defense has settled down."
With two Justin Pollard field goals sandwiched between the Keller touchdown pass to Chance, the Bulldogs led 13-6 at halftime. The score could have easily been 28-3.
The Bulldogs drove from their 48 to the Huskies' 17 after Bulldog defensive back Ben Willkomm picked off a pass, but the drive stalled there and Pollard missed a 34-yard field goal try.
Chapa set the Bulldogs up at the Huskies' 33 with a 21-yard punt return. Hancock's drive fizzled at the 9, and Pollard kicked a field goal.
With Hancock up 10-0, Hector Gomez made good on a field goal for the Huskies but the Bulldogs roughed him, so East L.A. took a first down on the Hancock 2 instead. After a five-yard procedure penalty, East L.A. starter Phillip Tran hit Kenny Allen for a 7-yard touchdown pass. Gomez missed the PAT kick.
Another Hancock drive in the third quarter stalled, and Pollard missed a field goal try.
Tate had eight receptions for 69 yards for the Huskies. Andre Hallmon had three catches for the Bulldogs. He was the receptions yardage leader for the game with 80.
The Huskies didn't exactly come close to playing a key game. They were hit with 11 penalties, some of which wiped out big gains, for a total of 75 yards. Their receivers dropped seven passes.
A 55-yarder from Kelleher to Hallmon put the Bulldogs at the Huskies 3. A penalty against the Huskies put the ball at the 1 but, with three seconds left before the half and no timeouts left, the Bulldogs settled for a Pollard field goal.
Hancock's Kevin Stark, with 49 yards, was the leading rusher in the game. He was carried off the field after he was injured in the second half, and his status was unknown at press time.
Hancock will play Pasadena at 2 p.m. next Saturday at home in a non-conference game.
Bulldogs win two at Showcase
Hancock's men's soccer team won a pair of game at the Consumnes River College Showcase over the weekend, both by identical 2-1 scores.
On Friday, Hancock defeated Yuba College.
Ulysses Cardona scored Friday's first goal off a Miguel Gomez assist. Gomez later scored the game-winner off an Isaac Valdez assist. Antony Herrera had two saves in goal.
On Saturday, The Cardona/Gomez duo were at it again as Cardona scored the game's first goal again with an assist going to Gomez. Alex Herrera later scored the game-winner off a Juan Rios assist. Antony Herrera made four saves.