By Richard Mejia
In one of the most highly anticipated games in LBCC history, the nationally eighth-ranked Viking football team managed to upset the second-best team in the nation Mt. San Antonio, 41-38, on Saturday, Oct. 4.
The game was decided when Mt. SAC sophomore quarterback Justin Alo led the Mounties to the Viking 31-yard line to have the place-kicker attempt a game-tying 48-yard field goal with 39 seconds remaining.
In a game driven by offense, it was the special teams unit that came up big as the field goal was blocked, sealing the game for the Vikings.
After the 31-21 victory over Alan Hancock on Saturday, Oct.11, and the Vikings now rank fourth in the nation and also stand as the second-best team in the state. The overall team record now stands at 6-0 with a 2-0 record in conference play.
Veterans Stadium was the site of the momentous game as LBCC and Mt. SAC lived up to their billing as offensive juggernauts. Mt. SAC began the game with a seemingly slow drive, racking up very minimal yardage through intermediate passing routes and running calls that led to few gains. However, on a third-and-10 with only 1 minute into the game, Alo connected with his sophomore wide-out Christopher Gilchrist on a 75-yard touchdown pass.
In response, the Vikings marched down the field on an 11-play drive that was capped off by freshman running back Anterio Bateman as he scampered his way into the end zone from four yards out.
The first half of the game was not the norm for Mt. SAC as the Mounties scored a season-low 14 points.
The Viking defense stepped up in the second quarter and shut out the Mounties, allowing LBCC to take a 26-14 halftime lead.
The Vikings controlled the game on offense as they began the second half. LBCC scored at-will the previous two quarters and minus a few miscues late in the second quarter, the team was rolling. Mt. SAC came roaring back in the third quarter as the Mounties delivered 24 unanswered points on their way to 38-26 lead early in the final quarter.
Early in the third however, Viking sophomore quarterback Kenny Potter threw an interception that went for a touchdown. It was on that play that Potter suffered an undisclosed injury to his left arm as he went to tackle the defender. Backup quarterback Brock Dale filled in for Potter and played the remainder of the game.
Dale said, “You always have to be ready for an opportunity like this and I most certainly was. I’m just happy that were able to pull out this big team win.”
The game seemed out of hand with the Vikings down by 12 and having lost their star quarterback while not being able to get anything going on offense. Unfazed by the newly placed pressure, the Dale-led Vikings answered the call as they scored 15 unanswered points to take the lead late in the game.
Following a Bateman touchdown pass from Dale, the sophomore quarterback found sophomore tight end Clayton Granch in the back of the end zone for the 2-point conversion and a 41-38 lead with 1:49 remaining in the game.
Granch said, “Not a lot of JUCO’s have two starting-caliber quarterbacks, but we’re blessed to have two great ones. Even though Kenny (Potter) and Brock (Dale) play differently, the team is in god hands with either guy in the position.”