After a strong first half, the West Los Angeles College Wildcats fell short to the Orange Coast Pirates 20-17.
West LA quarterback Cassell Wiggins made 21 passes for 190 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Running back Keeshawn Johnson made nine carries for 158 yards and wide receiver Anais Camarillo had two catches for 52 yards.
Orange Coast quarterback J.D. Raftin made 17 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Running back J.P. Segura-Queijeiro made 14 carries for 54 yards and wideout Jamaal Fisher made one reception.
“We started good, we need to finish, and we need to execute on everything,” Wiggins said. “We had a few mistakes and that might have changed the entire game.”
The Pirates were first to reach the scoreboard after kicking a successful field goal late in the first quarter. The Wildcats responded when Wiggins sent a three-yard pass to Kyaire Ohinu to score early in the second quarter. West L.A.’s running back corps found holes in the Orange Coast defense, which allowed rusher Charles Mincy to score the Wildcats’ second touchdown. The Wildcats were up 14-3 with 5:49 remaining in the first half.
However, the tides shifted in favor of the Pirates soon after. On a fourth down, Raftin targeted Fisher for a 43-yard touchdown pass; this brought Orange Coast within four points of West L.A..
The Orange Coast offense found its pace in the second half. Segura-Queijeiro and Edwin LaCrosse rushed the ball to advance and Raftin sent the ball to LaCrosse to score from 18 yards out. The Pirates scored a field goal in their next possession.
“We just wanted to come out physical, just put a hat on a hat and just try to execute as best we could to the best of our ability,” said Orange Coast rusher David Hernandez.
With 8:30 left in regulation, West L.A. had a touchdown run by Mincy called back due to a holding penalty. They ultimately scored a field goal that closed their deficit to three points.
“The first half, I say we basically came out with heart, but there were some mental mistakes that we made,” Johnson said. “It was kind of on us but as a team, we’re gonna get better.”
Johnson also noted how West L.A. has potential to be a contending team in the future. Wildcats linebacker Kendall Hill, who led the team with seven solo tackles in the matchup, mentioned how youth makes up the majority of the squad.
“98 percent of the team is freshmen, it’s only six sophomores coming back so the whole chemistry is new,” Hill said. “But we worked that over in summer camp. [By] fall camp, came in as a brotherhood.”
Birmingham high school quarterback David Jordan Oliveros attended the game and was impressed with the matchup.
“The game went real well, all these guys look real good, real big, strong, fast,” Oliveros said. “It looks real nice and it’s honestly a good environment.”
West L.A. will travel to battle Santa Monica on Saturday, November 20 at 1:00P.M.