College Corner: LBCC football bounces back in bowl win

What a way to go out for the Long Beach City College football team. The Vikings have had the ball bounce the other team’s way a few times this season, but they ended up on the right side of crazy, Saturday night, in the Southern California Bowl against Southwestern, winning 20-16.

“We came up one yard short of our big goals for the season, but how can I be anything but proud of this team?” asked Vikings coach Brett Peabody after the game. “They fought back every time, they were such a joy to coach all season long. And a conference championship, and our fifth bowl win in six years, I can’t complain about any of that.”

The deciding touchdown ended up coming on a Vikings punt with 1:25 left in the first half. The ball bounced up against the Jaguars’ returner’s helmet and then landed in the end zone, where two Vikings and the return man quickly fell on it. After officials pulled the layers off the pile, LBCC’s Alex Brown came up with the ball to make it 20-16 LBCC at halftime.

In the second half, the Vikings defense put on a clinic, pitching a 30-minute shutout. The Vikings had three sacks and two interceptions, as Dallas Branch and D’Anthony Jones both came up with late picks to help seal the win. Shane Irwin had a sack with time running down as the Jaguars were driving with less than a minute left.

“We’re the best defensive line in the state and the best defense in the state, no questions asked,” said bowl game MVP Divine Obichere, who had two sacks and a team-high seven tackles.

With the win, LBCC ends its season at 7-3, conference co-champions and Southern California Bowl champions.

The Winningest Place On Earth

So, how did Peabody celebrate the end of the football season? The way champions usually do: with a trip to Disneyland.

Earlier this week, our own Mike Guardabascio and his family ran into Brett and his wife, Celeste, at the Happiest Place on Earth. Add Peabody to a list of coaches Mike has run into at Disneyland that includes Lakewood AD/volleyball coach Mike Wadley and former Bosco offensive coordinator/Mission Viejo football coach Chad Johnson.

Long Beach State Basketball

The Long Beach State men’s basketball team (2-4) dropped a tough game at Arizona over the weekend, 104-67. The team will spend the Thanksgiving holiday in the Wooden Classic in Anaheim, opening against Providence on Thanksgiving at 11 a.m. on ESPN U. They’ll play again on Friday and Sunday.

The women’s team (1-4) dropped a very winnable game against an LMU team that has the same record, 70-57. One of the team’s few bright spots, preseason All-Big West guard Shanaijah Davison, is out with an injury at the moment. The team is in Northern California for the Cal Tournament, opening on Friday against Penn State.

Water Polo Heartbreak

“We were tied or ahead for all but 45 seconds of the game,” said LBCC athletic director Bill Husak of the Vikings men’s water polo state championship game.

The problem is, it was the wrong 45 seconds. LBCC finished the season at 29-4 overall after dropping the state final to rival Golden West, which scored the game-winner with 45 seconds left in the game to win, 10-9.

There was similar heartbreak at the Golden Coast Conference Tournament for the Long Beach State men’s water polo team. After pulling off a pair of upsets over San Jose State and Pacific, the Beach found themselves in the title game against Pepperdine. Long Beach trailed by just a goal going into the fourth quarter and ended up losing 14-12 to end their season.

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Mike and JJ go together like mac and cheese: they’re best friends, business partners and Long Beach sports experts. They’ve been working together for over a decade covering Long Beach local sports and now run, a community-funded nonprofit media outlet.