PASADENA — After seeing its chances at victory halted on its first offensive play of overtime in its season opener, the Orange Coast College football team showed it could close strong in a 27-10 victory at Pasadena City College on Saturday.
The Pirates scored 10 points in the final 67 seconds of the first half to take a 13-7 lead. The visitors then scored a pair of touchdowns within a 66-second span late in the game to clinch their first victory of the season.
While four interceptions spelled doom for OCC the previous week against visiting Moorpark, the Pirates shrugged off three turnovers against the Lancers, including a lost fumble on the opening kickoff.
OCC also overcame a 69-yard interception return by the Lancers' Keiton Winston early in the third quarter and averted any damage after Pasadena recovered an OCC fumble at the Pirates' 28-yard line late in the third quarter.
Pasadena produced 304 offensive yards, but failed to come away with points twice in the red zone.
For the second straight game, sophomore outside linebackers Nick Cody and Austin Bennett, as well as sophomore defensive end Vince Coleman, finished with double-digit tackles, posting 12, 11 and 11, respectively, to pace the Pirates' defense.
Coleman was in on all three OCC sacks, including two solo collars, and he has four sacks for the season.
"I told the whole team, 'All gas, no breaks, you can't stop,' " Coleman said. "You've got to keep going. We practiced hard and kept it going. We kept the tempo up and it led to a victory."
The tempo was never better for OCC than late in each half.
After six pass completions by freshman quarterback Jon Newsom keyed a nine-play, 76-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a 28-yard scoring screen pass to Buzzy Yokoyama with 1:07 left before intermission, a three-and-out and a 13-yard punt set OCC up at the Pasadena 41 with 12 seconds left.
Newsom, who connected on seven of his final eight passes of the first half, then hit Bryan Keller for nine yards to move easily within Jackson Dionne's field-goal range.
Dionne, who booted a 43-yard field goal to open the scoring, drilled the 49-yard attempt on the final play of the half to up OCC's lead to 13-7.
Newsom finished with 243 passing yards (completing 20 of 34 attempts) and added 20 rushing yards to help OCC produce 433 yards on 77 offensive plays.
"[Newsom] can make plays, he just can't force passes," OCC Coach Mike Taylor said of his quarterback, who threw three interceptions in his first collegiate start.
Sophomore tailback Robert Penny anchored the OCC ground game with 93 yards on 19 carries, including a 12-yard scoring rumble with 4:23 left in the game that put the Pirates up, 20-10.
OCC freshman Graeme Fraser powered through tacklers for a 27-yard touchdown run just more than a minute later to finalize the scoring.
Keller and fellow receivers Tyler Duncan and Cam Oliver combined for 14 catches and 168 receiving yards to lead eight players who were on the end of Newsom darts.
Pasadena had just one turnover but helped OCC by committing 15 penalties for 169 yards.
OCC had 24 first downs to 15 for the Lancers (0-2) to pull even in the 16-game series between the two schools.
The Pirates return to action at 1 p.m. Saturday against host Long Beach City College at Veterans Stadium.