Pierce (7-1, 5-0) trailed by the unusual score of 6-5 at halftime, and Arbuckle spent much of the first half under siege from the pass rush of Antelope Valley (3-5, 3-2). But to start the second half, Pierce went with an empty backfield, relying on quick-hitting passes by Arbuckle before the Marauder pass rush could get to him. The result was a pair of touchdowns from the Brahmas' first three drives of the second half, and the Pierce defense made sure that was enough scoring to come away with the win.
Antelope Valley opened the scoring when Benji Philippe, making his first start at quarterback after regular starter Anders Westlund was a late scratch, threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Sharp on the Marauders' second possession of the game. But on the conversion attempt, a bad snap resulted in a low kick into the line, and Anthony Williams picked up the loose ball and returned it the length of the field for two points for the Brahmas.
The first quarter ended with Antelope Valley holding a 6-2 lead. Pierce got a 38-yard field goal from Daniel Schlorf early in the second quarter shortly after Erik Collins recovered an AVC fumble at the Marauder 22. DeAndre Jordan caused the fumble, the first of two fumbles he would create in the first half, though AVC would recover the other one.
Pierce took the second half kickoff and, using the new empty-backfield formation, took a 12-6 lead when Arbuckle and Hall combined on a 4-yard touchdown pass just 3:14 into the second half. That capped a 9-play, 71-yard drive.
Antelope Valley went back in front later in the third quarter when Philippe threw his second touchdown pass of the day, a 4-yard toss to Curtis Anderson III, to cap an 8-play drive that was greatly aided by a pair of pass interference penalties against the Brahmas. Keoki Kaiahua's extra point gave the Marauders a 13-12 lead with 4:05 left in the third quarter.
But the Antelope Valley lead lasted less than two minutes as Pierce quickly drove the length of the field to go back in front. A 44-yard pass play from Arbuckle to Isaiah Nelson got the Brahmas close, and Hall's second touchdown catch of the day with 2:24 left in the quarter gave Pierce a 19-13 lead.
The Pierce defense forced an Antelope Valley punt, and William Hawkins' kick went off the side of his foot and out of bounds at the 50 after traveling just 11 yards. That helped set up a 36-yard field goal by Schlorf with 10:19 left that made it a two-score game at 22-13.
Antelope Valley drove deep into Brahma territory on its next drive, reaching the Pierce 8 yard-line at one point. But trouble with a shotgun snap - it wasn't so much a bad snap as a snap that came before Philippe was ready - resulted in a 17-yard loss. The Marauders ended up turning the ball over on downs at the 28 with 7:28 left, and never threatened to score again.
For Pierce, Arbuckle completed 27 of 42 passes for 355 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Hall had 7 catches for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Nelson had 5 catches for 77 yards. Calvin Howard rushed for 44 yards on 15 carries, most of it in the second half after Pierce took the lead for good. And on defense, Martin Henry and Jonathan Johnson each had 2 quarterback sacks.
For Antelope Valley, Philippe completed 21 of 42 passes for 240 yards, 2 touchdowns and one interception, acquitting himself quite well in his unexpected start in place of Westlund. Kendrick Mapp Jr. had 66 yards rushing on 12 carries to lead all rushers. Sharp had 7 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. Defensive lineman Jordan Robinzine was a visible presence on defense and had 1.5 quarterback sacks and a fumble recovery.
The win gives Pierce a 5-0 record in the American-Pacific, and sets up a showdown with Santa Monica, also 5-0, next Saturday in Woodland Hills. Kickoff is set for 7 pm.
L.A. Pierce Brahmas 22, Antelope Valley Marauders 13
Saturday, November 2, 2013 - 1 pm - Brent Carder Marauder Stadium, Lancaster
American Division - Pacific Division
AV - Sharp 17 yd pass from Philippe (kick blocked) 9:21 (0-6)
P - Williams return of blocked extra point try 9:21 (2-6)
P - FG Schlorf 38 yds 14:54 (5-6)
P - Hall 4 yd pass from Arbuckle (Schlorf kick) 11:36 (12-6)
AV - Anderson 4 yd pass from Philippe (Kaiahua kick) 4:05 (12-13)
P - Hall 7 yd pass from Arbuckle (Schlorf kick) 2:24 (19-13)
P - FG Schlorf 36 yds 10:19 (22-13)
First Downs: Antelope Valley 20 (5 rush, 12 pass, 3 penalty), LA Pierce 20 (3 rush, 13 pass, 4 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Antelope Valley 32-68, LA Pierce 33-16
Passing Yds: Antelope Valley 240, LA Pierce 355
Comp-Att-Int: Antelope Valley 21-42-1, LA Pierce 27-42-2
Return Yds: Antelope Valley 148, LA Pierce 100
Sacks-Yds: Antelope Valley 4-50, LA Pierce 5-35
Fumbles-Lost: Antelope Valley 3-2, LA Pierce 1-1
Penalties-Yds: Antelope Valley 12-89, LA Pierce 15-140
Time of Possession: Antelope Valley 25:34, LA Pierce 34:26
Rushing: AV 23-Mapp 12-66, 22-Howard 5-24, 20-Finister 3-3, 17-Philippe 9-(-6), team 3-(-19); P 3-Howard 15-44, 9-Nelson 2-14, 2-De.Jones 5-13, 4-Arbuckle 9-(-52), team 2-(-3)
Passing: AV 17-Philippe 21-42-1-240, 2 TDs; P 4-Arbuckle 27-42-2-355, 2 TDs
Receiving: AV 1-Sharp 7-100, 18-Fleurejus 5-46, 10-Brashears 3-16, 2-Byers 2-40, 23-Mapp 2-19, 81-Oliver 1-15, 8-Anderson 1-4; 8-Hall 7-80, 9-Nelson 5-77, 23-Gilliam 4-53, 81-Martinez 4-34, 2-De.Jones 2-15, 44-Kolodny 1-6, 88-Zepeda 1-6, 21-O.Davis 1-4, 80-Ijalana 1-3
Interceptions-Ret Yds: AV 5-Woodside 2-15; P 22-Dash 1-31
Fum Rec-Ret Yds: AV 49-Robinzine 1-0; P 6-Collins 1-4, 23-Gilliam 1-0
Sacks: AV 49-Robinzine 1½, 56-McBride, 5-Woodside ½, 31-Parrish ½, 91-Jar.Williams ½; P 1-Henry 2, 11-J.Johnson 2, 90-Allonce
Punters: AV 46-Hawkins 7-32.6 avg; P 64-Schlorf 7-39.0 avg
Kick Returns: AV 2-Byers 3-85, 28-Garner 1-43; P 86-Reddick 2-53, 43-Sojka 1-12
Punt Returns: AV 1-Sharp 4-5; P none
Missed FG: AV 38-Kaiahua 38 yds (wide left); P none
Notes: LA Pierce improves to 7-1 overall and 5-0 in American-Pacific after entering ranked #1 in the American Division. Antelope Valley entered ranked #10 and falls to 3-5, 3-2. Philippe started his 1st college game at QB after regular QB Westlund was a late scratch for AVC. 24-Jordan caused 2 AVC fumbles, including one recovered by Collins that set up Pierce's 1st FG. On Woodside's 2nd in the fumbled (forced by 8-Hall) and Gilliam recovered for Pierce. 28-Garner partially blocked Schlorf's last punt but it still went 26 yds. Pierce now leads the all-time series 6-4 and has won the last 3 meetings.