The College of the Desert Roadrunners were able to stop a second half run by the Los Angeles Valley College Monarchs to win their home opener. C.O.D won by a final of 21-19.
The Roadrunners were paced by their sophomore running back Ricky Smith (El Central, CA), who will likely see some D-1 offers when he finishes his year with C.O.D. Smith paced an early attack with several consistent gains on the ground. After a costly pass interference call against the Monarchs on 4th and 3, Smith took the ball into the endzone just three minutes into the game to make the score 7-0.
Minutes later, C.O.D struck again thanks to some accurate passing from freshmen quaraterback Matt Strohmeier (Evensville, IN). The drive was capped by a four yard pass to Donell Griffin (Palm Desert High) to put the Roadrunners up 14-0.
The Monarchs were able to close the gap before halftime with a 25 yard pass from Demetre Smith (Pomona, CA) to tight end Marquel Henderson (Boise, ID).
COD built on their lead coming out of halftime, but costly turnovers kept it close. Strohmeier had an interception run back for a touchdown, and another that was brought back for great field position.
The Roadrunner defense was the difference maker tonight. Led by freshman Robert Caldwell (Twentynine Palms HS), the defensive line put constant pressure on the Monarchs.
College of the Desert escaped with a 21-19 victory in front of a large crowd. They will play again at home September 8 at 6 p.m. against Mt. San Antonio College.