March 12, 2020 

By Lauren A. Jones 

Contributing Writer 


As the sunset on Dignity Health Sport Park, the Los Angles Wildcats put on an inspired performance as the team overcame an 18-point deficit to defeat the Tampa Bay Vipers 41-34 on Sunday. 


“I said last week we are going to have a breakthrough,” Wildcats head coach Winston Moss reflected. “We [have] face challenges since we've been together and those guys will always end up coming through to all the challenges.”


The Vipers opened with 17 unanswered points in the first quarter.


 “Even though we started off slow, they learned how to fight tonight,” stated Moss. “We have a bunch of fighters.”


In the second quarter, the Wildcats regrouped as quarterback John Johnson connected with wide receiver Jordan Smallwood for a 54-yard catch where he was finally brought down on the one-yard line. It was then running back DuJan Harris who scored the first touch down of the game for the Wildcats on the following play.


“I think it was a good test and we just had to respond,” said Johnson on getting down early. “I think we had an issue last week where I felt like as a team, we lost our poise and we got hit in the mouth. That was one of the things we wanted to improve on this week.”


The Vipers would answer with a touchdown of their own as Tampa Bay’s wide receiver Jay Tolliver brought the ball down in the end zone.


With less than two minutes left in the first half, the Wildcats found themselves in a position to score on back-to-back drives. It was first a touchdown to former USC tight end De’Quan Hampton, who scored with a nine-yard touchdown reception followed by fellow Wildcats’ tight end Brandon Barnes who grabbed a catch for an eight-yard touchdown.


“It shows that we can be explosive,” Johnson said.


Out of halftime, the Wildcats had different energy as Los Angeles’ defense rendered Tampa Bay scoreless for the entire third quarter.


With 1:42 left in the third quarter, the Vipers took their first lead of the game as Johnson targeted Tre McBride for an 11-yard touchdown.


It came down to the wire for both teams as the Vipers were able to rebound in the fourth quarter as they scored a field goal and put together a touchdown drive.


Ultimately, it was an interception by safety Jack Tocho with 47 seconds left in the game that led to the Wildcats victory.


“Now, they understand how to win,” concluded Moss.


The Wildcats will travel to Seattle to face the 1-4 Seattle Dragons.

Category: Sports