Mt. SAC Does It - AGAIN

For the second straight week, #1-ranked Mt. San Antonio pulled out a dramatic victory in the final seconds, getting past Fullerton this time as Nick Lamaison threw his third touchdown pass of the game with 19 seconds left to Richard Parham, lifting the Mounties to a 27-23 win and the championship of the National Division's South Conference.

Lamaison threw two touchdown passes in the final three minutes as Mt. SAC rescued a win after trailing, 23-15. Last week, Lamaison threw a touchdown pass as time expired to lift the Mounties (9-0, 4-0) past Saddleback, which is now tied with Fullerton (6-3, 3-1) for second place and for the likely final playoff berth in the rugged National-South.

Fullerton trailed, 12-3, at halftime but took a 16-15 lead when Geoffrey Norwood scored on a 14-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Then, after a fumble by Mt. SAC punter Daniel Colby gave Fullerton the ball deep in Mt. SAC territory, Darius Banks threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Justin Dunford with 3:18 left to increase the Hornet lead to 23-15 and seemingly give Fullerton control of the game.

Those three-plus minutes turned out to be just enough time for Mt. SAC to rally, but it certainly wasn't easy. The Mounties put together a quick scoring drive with Lamaison throwing a 20-yard touchdown pass to Brey Torres-Keohokapu, who broke two tackles on the play, to make it 23-21 with 2:46 left. But on the 2-point conversion try, Fullerton's Brandon Guerrero knocked down a Lamaison pass to preserve Fullerton's 2-point lead. Then on the ensuing kickoff, Mt. SAC tried an onsides kick and appeared to recover the ball, but the officials correctly ruled that kicker Abraham Torres had kicked the ball a second time to get it past the 10-yard mark prior to recovering the loose ball.

That gave Fullerton the ball at the Mt. SAC 29, but the Hornets were unable to increase their lead or even hold onto the ball long enough to run out the clock. Banks' pass attempt on 4th and 5 from the 24 fell incomplete, turning the ball back to the Mounties on downs with 1:46 remaining.

Lamaison began the drive with a 31-yard pass to Parham but moments later Fullerton's Marquies Richardson nearly intercepted a Lamaison pass and would likely have returned it for a touchdown. He was unable to corral the ball, however, and three plays later on a 4th and 9 from the 44, Lamaison threw a 15-yard pass to Michael Harrell to get the first down. Two plays later, he hit Parham for the 29-yard touchdown pass that proved to be the game-winning score.

All of that came in a game that was, for three quarters, dominated largely by the defenses. Fullerton scored first when Ryan Saumur intercepted a Lamaison pass that had been deflected skyward at the line in the first minute of the game, and that set up a 27-yard field goal by Jessie Sandoval that gave the Hornets a 3-0 lead. Mt. SAC answered with a 7-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 29-yard touchdown run by Bryce McBride that gave the Mounties a 6-3 lead (the extra point missed).

The score was still 6-3 well into the second quarter when Lamaison threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Harrell with 23 seconds left in the half to cap an 8-play drive. The Mounties tried for two points on the conversion, but Lamaison's pass was incomplete, keeping the score 12-3 at the break.

It didn't take long for the excitement to begin in the second half, however, as Fullerton's George Whighan took the second half kickoff while running to his left at the 1 yard line. He faked a handoff but kept the ball, and burst up the left sideline before breaking back across the field and carrying the ball into the end zone for a 99-yard kickoff return. On the conversion attempt, however, Mt. SAC's Vaikalafi Lutui blocked the kick, and Tevita Pula recovered the bouncing ball in the end zone. He returned the kick to around midfield before being tackled by a hustling, helmetless Uriah Grant (he'd lost his hat earlier during the play), so the score remained 12-9.

Neither team scored the rest of the third quarter, but Mt. SAC got a short field goal from Jeremy Brown on the first play of the fourth quarter to extend its lead to 15-9. That, however, was just the beginning of the wild fourth quarter that saw Fullerton take an 8-point lead only to see Mt. SAC rally for the win.

For Mt. SAC, Lamaison finished 27 for 49 on the day for 383 yards and 3 touchdowns. McBride led the Mounties with 92 yards on 17 carries, and Harrell led all receivers with 9 catches for 167 yards.

For Fullerton, Banks completed 14 of 31 passes for 117 yards and a TD., Kelvin York rushed for 101 yards on 24 carries, relatively modest totals for him but still rather impressive against a Mt. SAC defense that only allows an average of about 20 net yards rushing per game. Willie Downs led the Hornets with 6 catches for 63 yards.

With the win, Mt. SAC improves to 4-0 in conference play, a game better than both Fullerton and Saddleback, the teams the Mounties have beaten the last two weeks. That gives Mt. SAC the division championship even before next week's regular season finale against Pasadena.

Fullerton, on the other hand, will face Saddleback next Saturday with second place and likely the remaining National-South playoff berth on the line. Kickoff will be at 1 pm at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, and will be there for a full report.

Mt. San Antonio Mounties 27
Fullerton Hornets 23

Saturday, November 6, 2010 - 1 pm @ Hilmer Lodge Stadium, Walnut
National Division - South Conference

1st Quarter:
F - FG Sandoval 27 yds 12:31 (0-3)
M - McBride 29 yd run (kick wide right) 9:46 (6-3)

2nd Quarter:
M - Harrell 20 yd pass from Lamaison (pass failed) 0:23 (12-3)

3rd Quarter:
F - Whigham 99 yd kickoff return (kick blocked) 14:42 (12-9)

4th Quarter:
M - FG J.Brown 25 yds 14:56 (15-9)
F - Norwood 14 yd run (Sandoval kick) 12:52 (15-16)
F - Dunford 4 yd pass from Banks (Sandoval kick) 3:18 (15-23)
M - Torres-Keohokapu 20 yd pass from Lamaison (pass failed) 2:46 (21-23)
M - Parham 29 yd pass from Lamaison (pass failed) 0:19 (27-23)

Team Statistics:
First Downs: Mt. SAC 28 (10 rush, 17 pass, 1 penalty), Fullerton 13 (6 rush, 5 pass, 2 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Mt. SAC 27-154, Fullerton 36-151
Passing Yds: Mt. SAC 383, Fullerton 117
Comp-Att-Int: Mt. SAC 27-50-1, Fullerton 14-31-2
Return Yds: Mt. SAC 94, Fullerton 141
Sacks-Yds: Mt. SAC 1-6, Fullerton 0-0
Fumbles-Lost: Mt. SAC 1-1, Fullerton 1-0
Penalties-Yds: Mt. SAC 14-128, Fullerton 8-73
Time of Possession: Mt. SAC 29:21, Fullerton 30:39

Individual Statistics:
Rushing: Mt. SAC 3-McBride 17-92, 30-Wagner 4-42, 18-Viramontes 5-13, 1-Brun 1-9, 32-Botello 5-8, 41-Magalei 2-4, 7-Lamaison 1-0, 14-Harrell 1-0, 88-Colby 1-(-14); Fullerton 3-York 24-101, 18-Norwood 7-43, 5-Banks 5-7
Passing: Mt. SAC 7-Lamaison 27-49-1-383, 3 TDs; team 0-1-0-0; Fullerton 5-Banks 14-31-2-117, 1 TD
Receiving: Mt. SAC 14-Harrell 9-167, 17-Parham 4-76, 6-Edwards 3-53, 4-Torres-Keohokapu 3-39, 3-McBride 2-25, 1-Brun 1-14, 15-Iaea 1-4, 19-Masifilo 1-2, 32-Botello 1-2, 30-Wagner 1-1, 80-Duncan 1-0; Fullerton 7-W.Downs 6-63, 84-Dunford 2-12, 24-Davis 1-18, 1-L.Downs 1-11, 18-Norwood 1-7, 47-Ayers 1-5, 2-Clarkson 1-1, 3-York 1-0
Interceptions-Ret Yds: Mt. SAC 20-Gaisie 1-14, 5-Griffin 1-0; Fullerton 35-Saumur 1-0
Fum Rec-Ret Yds: Mt. SAC none; Fullerton 45-Starks 1-0
Sacks: Mt. SAC 45-Thorpe 1-6; Fullerton none
Punters: Mt. SAC 88-Colby 7-41.6 avg; Fullerton 97-Blanke 8-36.8 avg
Kick Returns: Mt. SAC 16-Williams 2-56; Fullerton 6-Whigham 2-103, 83-Taylor 1-32, 24-Davis 1-2
Punt Returns: Mt. SAC 46-Lomu 4-24; Fullerton 18-Norwood 2-4
Missed FG: Mt. SAC 49-J.Brown 32 yds (wide left)
Notes: Mt. SAC entered 8-0 overall, 3-0 in conference, #1 in South and #1 in the nation (JCGW). Fullerton entered 6-2 overall, 3-0 in conference, #4 in South and #21 in the nation. Saumur's interception set up Fullerton's FG. On Fullerton's 1st XPA, 96-Lutui blocked the kick, 31-Pula recovered the ball and made it to midfield before he was tackled by 93-Grant, who had lost his helmet earlier during the play. Colby dropped the ball preparing to punt and Starks recovered, setting up Fullerton's last TD. 51-Guerrero knocked down the pass on Mt. SAC's 3rd conversion attempt, momentarily preserving Fullerton's lead. On the ensuing kickoff, 68-Torres tried an onsides kick and appeared to recover but was flagged (correctly) for kicking the ball a second time a yard short of the 10-yard zone. But after the Mt. SAC defense got the ball back, Mt. SAC still had time to drive for the winning score. 22-Sophus intercepted the ball on the final conversion attempt. Griffin's interception came on a desperation pass on the final play of the game. This win clinches the National-South championship for Mt. San Antonio.

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