MISSION VIEJO — Saddleback College, the nation's top-ranked community college football team according to J.C. Grid-Wire, got a scare from an unlikely source Saturday night: San Diego Mesa.
The Gauchos needed a second-half rally for a 16-12 Mission Conference victory over the Olympians at Saddleback. Quarterback Tim Snowden's 17-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dave Canfield early in the fourth quarter was the difference.
"We got beat everywhere the whole game," Saddleback Coach Ken Swearingen said. "Our guys should be ashamed of themselves."
The Olympians (1-5) led, 12-0, at the half after scoring a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter. Sophomore James Hester returned a punt 61 yards for one score, and wide receiver Tracy Green caught a 13-yard pass from quarterback Anthony Banks for another.
But the Gauchos (7-0) rallied. Running back Shaun Coleman caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Snowden to cut the lead to 12-7 with 11:22 remaining in the third quarter, and Devon Higgins' 35-yard field goal with 4:11 left in the quarter brought the Gauchos to within 12-10.
Finally, Canfield's winning catch capped a 10-play, 58-yard drive with 13:37 left.
The Olympians had a first down at the Gaucho 17 with 3:34 remaining. But Jeremy Brion's interception at the goal line with 2:06 left preserved the victory.
Snowden, who completed 14 of 30 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns, became Saddleback's all-time leading passer in the first half, breaking Mike Douglass' mark of 3,496 yards set in 1984. Marcellus Chrishon, who became only the second Gaucho--with Toby Whipple--to top 2,000 yards rushing in a career, finished with 229 yards in 46 carries; the carries tied Whipple's single-game mark set in 1970. Chrishon now has 2,214 career yards.