The first play from scrimmage gave an indication of what type of Saturday night it would be for Orange Coast College, and for Golden West.
The Rustlers began with a trick play — a double pass — as quarterback Chris d'Entremont threw a backward pass to receiver Luke Pastell, who threw to a wide-open Nik Little for a 74-yard touchdown.
It spelled doom for OCC. The Rustlers dominated on offense and defense in their 52-7 Southern Conference victory that gave them the Bell for the fourth straight year at OCC.
Golden West, the home team in the 46th edition of the Battle for the Bell, used the first play from scrimmage to gain control.
Rustlers Coach Nick Mitchell said he had planned to use the play to open the game depending on field position. He also thought OCC's defensive backs were aggressive, which would free up Little, who finished with 171 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches.
"We wanted to come in and have fun and let it fly," said Mitchell, whose players rang the Victory Bell after the game and now hold a 24-20-2 lead in the series. "The kids have been fired up all week to play … we could just feel it. We could feel the energy."
That energy showed on the first play from scrimmage.
"We were looking to make a statement right off the bat," d'Entremont said. "We thought, it's the first play, what bigger way than to do a double pass? We were just happy it worked out."
OCC's saving grace was avoiding the shutout, as the Pirates scored with 47 seconds left when quarterback Jon Newsom hit D.J. McFadden for a 20-yard touchdown. But Newsom, and quarterback Cameron Biedgoly couldn't get anything going, not with the Rustlers' pressure.
Golden West's defense recorded 10 sacks and picked off three passes.
Yes, that first play sparked Golden West's entire team.
"We were in a cover-three," OCC Coach Mike Taylor said of the first play from scrimmage. "We were in the safest coverage you could be in. The corner came up and thought he could make a play that he shouldn't have come up for. And obviously they had a guy wide open. That wasn't the best way to start the game."
The Pirates (3-6, 1-4 in conference) pulled off a huge upset last week, beating Saddleback, 55-48, behind Newsom's dazzling performance of 446 passing yards. But there was no such magic against the Rustlers.
Golden West, ranked No. 7 in the state, is amid a magical type season, as the Rustlers improved to 8-1, 4-1. They made big plays on offense and their defense made OCC appear out of sync.
Mitchell could give credit to a lot of areas for having a great season thus far, but he stressed the Rustlers' kicker is the main reason.
"Peter Marquez has been lights out for us," Mitchell said of the sophomore kicker from Costa Mesa High. "He's won a couple of games for us. We've been playing good defense. We've always had a good defense. But now we're scoring more points and combined with the kicking game it's just worked out for a good season so far."
Marquez converted on all seven of his PATs and he drilled a 32-yard field goal in the first quarter.
Golden West virtually put the game away in the first half, going up 31-0.
The Rustlers capped their scoring with 9:24 left, when Ryan Hunley broke a couple tackles and sprung loose for an 80-yard touchdown run.
OCC had a few chances to score in the first half. Griff Amies, who starred as a kicker at Corona del Mar High, missed two field goals, from 31 yards and 48 yards, and Darren Hambrick dropped a touchdown pass.