Quarterback Cade Crosby overcame a sluggish first half to deliver for Long Beach in the Coast Kickoff Classic on Thursday at McDonald Stadium.
The sophomore threw three touchdown passes as the Bearcats prevailed 27-14.
Crosby was 11 of 14 for 186 yards and three TDs. He also ran eight times for 82 yards.
“It’s a great way to start a season with a win,” Crosby said. “We started out slow, but we picked up the tempo in the second half. If we play like we did in the second half, we can play with anybody.”
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The loss overshadowed a strong performance by Pirates running back Tionne Frost, who had 143 yards on 25 carries. He had 116 at halftime.
The Pirates took a 7-0 lead on Gordon Ward’s 8-yard touchdown run with 8:35 left before halftime.
Long Beach answered one minute later as Crosby hit running back Dennis Andrews on a 4-yard TD pass to tie the game at 7-7.
Pass Christian, however, answered on Frost’s 3-yard TD run with 3:37 left before halftime for a 14-7 Pirates lead.
Pass Christian (0-1) had a chance to increase its lead, but Elijah Barnes fumbled inside the red zone with less than a minute before halftime.
The Bearcats (1-0) overcame a goal-line fumble to score twice in the third quarter, grabbing a 21-14 lead. Long Beach never relinquished the lead.
Andrews’ 8-yard TD run tied the game at 14-14. Crosby then threw a 60-yard TD pass to a wide open Kai VanCourt for a 21-14 Bearcats lead after three quarters.
Pass Christian had a chance to tie the game, reaching the Bearcats 15, but couldn’t convert a Frost run on fourth-and-8.
Crosby threw a 4-yard TD to Logan Matherne for a 27-14 lead in the fourth quarter.
“We shot ourselves in the foot in the first half,” Bearcats coach Forrest Williams said. “We had 18 plays in the first half and that wasn’t going to get it done. We pressed tempo in the second half. The defense came on at the end.”
Both coaches, Williams and Pass Christian’s Casey Wittmann, are former St. Stanislaus football coaches. Williams coached the Rockachaws to the 4A state title in 2009.