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The Los Angeles Pierce College squad stands in the way of the Hancock College football team clinching a third consecutive top Pacific League bowl seed.

The Brahmas (2-6, 1-2) will try to derail the Bulldogs (6-2, 3-0) as they go after their 17th consecutive Pacific League win. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Hancock for the Bulldogs' regular season home finale.

Hancock is the two-time defending Pacific League champion. The Bulldogs have not lost a league game since 2016.

If Hancock wins Saturday afternoon and Pasadena (2-1 Pacific League) defeats Los Angeles Harbor (2-1 league games) Saturday night, the Bulldogs will clinch the top league bowl seed for the third straight time.

That is because the Bulldogs, who will finish their regular season Nov. 16 at Harbor, beat Pasadena in a league opener. If Hancock and Harbor both win Saturday, the Bulldogs and Seahawks will meet in a showdown for the top league bowl seed, with the Bulldogs going after their third straight outright league title.

Harbor will play at Pasadena at 6 p.m. Saturday night.

The Bulldogs will face a Brahmas squad that has some momentum. Pierce gives up an average of 31 points a game, but the Brahmas defense shut out the Seahawks in a 17-2 Pierce win over Harbor last Saturday night.

That afternoon, Hancock carved out a 28-0 lead through two-and-a-half quarters at Santa Barbara City College, saw the Vaqueros score two fourth-quarter touchdowns then went on to win 28-13.

The Brahmas defense yields an average of 154 yards a game on the ground, and the unit will go against a Bulldogs ground attack that averages 401. Hancock has the league's rushing touchdowns leader (Maurice Smith, 11) and rushing yards per game leader (DJ Whitmill, 101).

With Whitmill, Smith, Eddie Battle, Terrance Raynor and Desmond Newkirk, the Bulldogs have hit opposing defenses with an effective five-back rotation this year. Four Hancock backs run for at least 52 yards a game. Battle, at 64, is Hancock's second-leading ball carrier behind Whitmill.

The Hancock defense will have to deal with the Pacific League passing leader, Pierce freshman David McCullum. McCullum throws for 151 yards a game. He has tossed 10 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions.

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Though he averages just 2.4 yards a carry, McCullum is the Brahmas' rushing leader. Pierce has run the ball well enough to cobble together 107 yards a game on the ground.

At 75 yards a game, Pierce's Brandon Brock is by far the league's reception yardage leader. Though injury has limited his playing time this year, Hancock sophomore Cajon Lakes, at 49.7 reception yards a game, is the second-leading receiver in the league. Pierce's Kareem Miles, at 49.6, is third.

Hancock's blockers will have to deal with the Brahmas' Zivalishe Smith. Smith is tied for third in the league in sacks.

Free safety Seth Matthysse and linebacker Honus Wagner help lead a Hancock defense that has been solid most of the year.

The Bulldogs' kickoff and punt coverage, however, have been lacking at times and the Brahmas have two good return men, Lord Jones (23.7 yards a return) and Brock (20.5).

Hancock's Qualik Davis averages nearly 20 yards a return himself, and Battle took the opening kickoff in the Pasadena game 86 yards for a touchdown.

Bulldogs quarterback Mat Garcia hasn't thrown much this year, but he's been effective for the most part when he has. Garcia is 41-for-72 passing, throws for 76 yards a game and has a healthy 136.3 efficiency rating.

Hancock looks good on both sides of the ball when it comes to points, scoring an average of 35 and giving up an average of 16.   

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.