Long Beach City College football needed a get-right game and the Vikings got it on Saturday evening at Veterans Memorial Stadium with a 24-6 victory over visiting East Los Angeles College. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for LBCC (3-4, 1-1) with three games left in the regular season.
“It feels amazing and I couldn’t wait to get back to winning,” said LBCC quarterback Derrach West, who had two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in the first half.
“I think it was just our overall effort and energy coming out to the field,” he added. “A lot of the times (this season) we came out sluggish like the game was just going to be given to us. That’s what put us in those deep holes in the beginning of games. This game we came out strong, on fire and ready to take care of our business.”
West’s performance helped LBCC take a 21-0 lead into halftime and the Vikings defense took it from there limiting ELAC (3-4) to just 131 net yards rushing and 104 net yards passing.
“We’re not used to being 2-4 around here,” LBCC coach Brett Peabody said. “We looked at ourselves in the mirror and we can either get this thing together, play hard and fix what we’re doing wrong or we can continue to suffer the same result. I was really proud of the effort and we had a great week of practice. The guys were really focused.”
LBCC received the opening kickoff, and five plays later West went over the top to receiver Zack Leets for a 36-yard touchdown. When the Vikings got the ball back, West led a eight-play scoring drive that he capped with a four-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead they took to the second quarter.
“I thought he managed the game quite well,” Peabody said of West. “I thought he did some really good things in the first half.”
“We were just taking whatever they gave us,” West said.
The Vikings pushed their lead to 21-0 on the second play of the second quarter to cap a 13-play, 76-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass from West to TJ Easter. West completed passes to six different receivers and five of them had more than one catch. Jeff Trepagnier Jr. had a team-high five receptions, and Leets had a team-high 81 yards receiving on four catches.
“We preach (to our wide receivers) in practice that if you guys do your job the ball will find you,” West said. “My guys did their job and the ball found them tonight.”
Long Beach Poly alum Bryson Parham Jr. recovered an ELAC fumble to set up the second LBCC touchdown, Wilson alum De’Jon Vanhook recovered a fumble on the first drive of the second half to set up a Ryder Padilla field goal, and Trey Edwards III came up with an interception late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
“I’m really proud of them because we had a tough one last week at Ventura where we gave up a lot of points and 400 yards rushing,” Peabody said of his defense. “It’s about those guys taking the coaching and us doing a better job of coaching. Look at the way they played the whole game tonight.”
Dayton Pedroza led LBCC with six tackles while the Vikings racked up five tackles for loss and five pass breakups.
“This week we really played together as a team,” Parham said. “Last week we didn’t come together but this week we got stops on the first two drives, the offense was able to punch it in and we just kept the momentum going and shut them down.”
Parham thinks this win can get the Vikings back on track.
“This game really brought us together and if we come out ready to practice on Monday we’re going to steamroll and finish this,” he said.
LBCC is at Bakersfield next Saturday, and then finishes with two home games against Allan Hancock and Canyons.
“We’ve been struggling to find our identity the whole season but we’re not even close to where we need to be,” West said. “When we get there it will definitely be something to see.”