COSTA MESA -- After a rough start, the Orange Coast College football team battled longtime powerhouse Mt. San Antonio right to the end, but the Mounties managed to pull away late and top the Pirates, 35-19, on Saturday night at Dick Tucker Field.
Coast (2-3) fell behind 14-0 just six minutes into the game but held the Mounties (3-2) in check for the better part of the next three quarters before a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns allowed for some breathing room for the visitors.
Kody Whitaker threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns for the Pirates, but the connections were hard to come by against an aggressive and physical Mountie secondary. The sophomore QB connected on just 18-of-42 attempts and had two interceptions.
A'Brae Booker-Curin rushed for 94 yards on just 11 carries, while Whitaker's main targets down field were receivers James Rutledge (four catches for 79 yards, two TDs), Booker-Curin (five catches for 76 yards) and Joe Cox (four catches for 68 yards, one TD).
For the Mounties, quarterback Richard Stammetti, threw for 188 yards and two interceptions on 15-of-29 passing, but the Mt. SAC ground game carried the offensive load, thanks to the 1-2 punch of Edgar Segura (18 carries, 144 yards, two TDs) and Sateki Finau (15 carries, 99 yards one TD).
A horrible opening drive and a 27-yard punt return by the Mounties gave Mt. SAC the ball on OCC's 17-yard line and just four plays later, Keshon Flemings plowed in from 5-yards out to give the guests a 7-0 lead.
Following another three-and-out by the Pirates, Segura capped off a five-play, 78-yard scoring drive with a 16-yard TD run and just like that, the Mounties were up 14-0.
Coast managed to find some offensive success on its third possession as Whitaker hooked up with Rutledge on a 13-yard TD connection to cap off a six-play, 75-yard drive and the lead was trimmed to 14-6. OCC struggled on its point-after attempts, missing its first two of the night.
Early in the second quarter Segura again found the end zone on a 10-yard TD run, putting the Mounties ahead, 21-6, but Mt. SAC would find the goings on a bit more difficult as the game worked through the middle quarters.
Right before halftime, Coast made it 21-12 when Whitaker hooked up with Cox on a 15-yard TD with just 33 seconds remaining.
It was a battle of punters for the entire third quarter as neither team would find much succes, but early in the fourth quarter, Whitaker connected on a 15-yard TD pass to Rutledge and after a successful PAT, Coast trailed, 21-19 with plenty of time on the clock.
However, the Mounties answered back with a quicker, more intense drive down the field and needed just 1:21 and six plays to cover 60 yards as Stammetti plowed in from a yard out to make it 28-19.
After a Pirate punt, Mt. SAC put the icing on the cake when Finau scampered in on a 26-yard TD run with 4:39 left to put the game away.
Coast will be off next week, but will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 15 against Palomar College (played at Escondido High School), beginning at 6 p.m. OCC's next home game will be on Saturday, Oct. 29 against arch-rival Golden West in the annual West-Coast Showdown, beginning at 6 p.m.