Dons Squander Early Lead in 34-31 Loss to Grossmont in the Conference Opener

Joshua Webb runs past a Grossmont defender in the Dons 34-31 loss. Two of Webb's three catches went for touchdowns in the game.
Joshua Webb runs past a Grossmont defender in the Dons 34-31 loss. Two of Webb's three catches went for touchdowns in the game.

SANTA ANA - After taking a 24-7 lead halfway through the second quarter, the Dons allowed 24-straight points before ultimately losing 34-31 to visiting Grossmont College in the team's National Division, Southern Conference opener.

While the Dons were able to tie the game at 31-31 with 5:49 left in the third quarter, the game was ultimately decided by a 37-yard field goal off the foot of Andres Carrillo with 1:00 remaining in the third quarter.

The Dons (2-2, 0-1) built their lead with a 24-0 run of their own after falling behind 7-0 in the opening minutes of the game. The Griffins (3-1, 1-0) scored first on an eight play, 86-yard drive to open the game. The drive was capped off with a 14-yard pass from Chris Bonner to Shawn Edwards.

The Dons wasted no time to tie the game with Joshua Webb scoring on a 77-yard touchdown pass from Hayden Gavett on the Dons second play from scrimmage.  SAC took its first lead of the game later in the first quarter when Danny Aguirre recovered a fumble for a touchdown, putting the Dons up 14-7 after the first quarter.

After a 25-yard field goal by Dillan Freiburg gave the Dons a 17-7 lead, Gavett threw his second touchdown pass of the game, this time to Kyle Morris from 16-yards out.

Just over a minute later is when Grossmont began its 24-0 run. Bonner connected with Edwards for a second time to cut the Dons lead to 24-14 before Joshua Cox returned a punt 63-yards for a touchdown.

Now trailing by just three, the Griffins tied the game with a 25-yard Carrillo field goal with 3:10  left in the half to the tie game at 24-24.

The Dons opened the second half with a long drive getting all the way down to the Grossmont 12-yard line before the Griffins stopped the drive with an interception  at the two-yard line.

After the two teams exchanged possessions, the Dons found themselves in scoring position again, this time at the Grossmont two-yard line. But Gavett's pass was intercepted again and returned 95-yard to the SAC five-yard line. Gavett was able to chase down Kweishi Brown and prevent the touchdown on the interception.

However, one play later, the Griffins found the end zone on a five-yard touchdown run by Alex Cornist, giving Grossmont the lead at 31-24.

The Dons were able to answer four minutes later when Webb capped a nine play, 82-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown catch from Beau Perry, temporarily tying the game at 31-31, before Carrillo booted the game-winner at the end of the third quarter.

Webb led all receivers in the game with 98 yards on three catches with two touchdowns while Areseo Lakey rushed for 132 yards on 29 carries for the Dons. Gavett finished the game 14-for-23 for 205 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions.

Next week, the Dons travel to Saddleback College with kickoff at 6:00 p.m. The game will be the Gauchos first conference game as they had the bye this week, holding a 1-2 record.