Deen, Thorpe Lead Mt. SAC Past ElCo

Cameron Deen threw for 270 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Richard Thorpe led a Mt. San Antonio defense that shut out El Camino for the final three-plus quarters as the Mounties advanced to their 5th straight SoCal championship game with a 34-7 walloping of the Warriors in the National Bowl on Saturday at Hilmer Lodge Stadium in Walnut.

Deen completed 24 of 31 passes, throwing scoring tosses to Alonzo Agwuenu, John Scanlan and Finau Lomu. Michael Botello scored a pair of touchdowns on the ground. And the defense, led by Thorpe and lineman Tutulupeatau Mataele, did the rest, holding the powerful El Camino defense, which entered the game averaging 31.5 points per contest, to a single touchdown and nothing even close to a scoring opportunity after the first quarter.

The game also served as a playoff semifinal, which means Mt. San Antonio has advanced to the Southern California regional championship game for the fifth year in a row. The Mounties will host Cerritos, 45-28 winners over Palomar in the other semifinal, next Saturday at 1 pm at Hilmer Lodge Stadium.

Mt. SAC took the opening kickoff and scored the game's first touchdown on a 35-yard run by Botello, who broke several tackles along the way. The extra point was missed, however, keeping the score 6-0. On the ensuing kickoff, Mt. SAC tried an onsides kick and it was successful, with Elijah Lagafuaina recovering the ball at the El Camino 39.

The Mt. SAC drive stalled, and the Mounties lined up to try a 50-yard field goal. But the play was a fake, with defensive end Michael Betts carrying the ball, and it came up well short, turning the ball over to the Warriors at the 36. El Camino then put together a 9-play, 64-yard drive that ended with Robert Issel making a spectacular diving catch of an Omar Herrera pass in the back of the end zone. Then Donald Jarrin kicked the extra point, giving El Camino a 7-6 lead with 5:50 left in the first quarter.

Mt. SAC drove to the El Camino 17 on its next drive, but ended up having to settle for a 34-yard field goal attempt. Abraham Torres' kick never had a chance, thanks to El Camino's Darious Lane, who broke in from the edge and blocked the ball into the line. That kept El Camino ahead, 7-6, with 2:11 left in the first quarter.

Mt. SAC forced an El Camino punt - the first of seven Warrior punts - and got the ball back with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. Then the Mounties seemed to be forced to punt on 4th and 4 at the Warriors 39. But El Camino was caught with 12 men on the field, resulting in a 5-yard penalty and a first down for the Mounties.

And from that point on, the rest of the game belonged to Mt. SAC. Not only did Mt. SAC outscore El Camino, 28-0, the rest of the way, the game didn't feel even that close. The next time the Warriors would make it across midfield the score would be 34-7.

Two plays after the aforementioned illegal substitution penalty, Deen threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Alonzo Agwuenu to give Mt. SAC a 13-7 lead. Then after an exchange of punts, Mt. SAC got the first turnover of the day when Thorpe stripped the ball from El Camino's Peter Walton, and Mataele recovered for Mt. SAC at the Warrior 37. That led to Botello's second touchdown of the day, this one from 12 yards out, that made it 20-7.

El Camino took the opening kickoff of the second half, but after gaining just one first down the Warriors had to punt. And the Mounties put together an 11-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Deen's 3-yard touchdown pass to fullback John Scanlan midway through the quarter, making it 27-7 and putting Mt. SAC squarely in control of the game.

Mt. San Antonio scored the only touchdown of the fourth quarter when Finau Lomu took a short pass from Deen and scampered 43 yards down the left sideline for a score with 8:33 left. That served as the knockout punch, but Mt. SAC already had the game well in hand by then, thanks to its defense.

Thorpe was named the overall Player of the Game, and he was a visible presence all day on the Mt. SAC defense. He had a sack, an interception and a forced fumble. Mt. SAC allowed El Camino just 221 yards of offense on the day, but even that is a little deceiving since 54 of those came on the opening drive and 109 of those came on the last two drives, by which time the outcome of the game was clearly decided. That leaves just 58 yards of offense over the roughly 40 minutes in the middle of the game in which Mt. SAC took over.

Deen was named Offensive Player of the Game with his 24-for-31 passing line for 270 yards and 3 touchdowns. Botello had 64 yards on 9 carries and the two touchdowns; fellow running backs Alapeti Magalei (11 carries, 42 yards) and Christian Bobo (11 carries, 40 yards) shared the load and helped the Mounties amass 146 yards of rushing offense. Agwuenu led all receivers with 6 catches for 80 yards and a score.

For El Camino, Herrera completed 16 of 39 passes for 139 yards, one interception and one touchdown. Jarrad Shaw had 4 catches for 76 yards. A.J. Johnson had 37 yards on 7 carries, but the Warriors largely abandoned the running game early on, finishing with just 11 running plays (not counting quarterback sacks and scrambles) that gained 50 yards.

Mt. San Antonio Mounties 34
El Camino Warriors 7

Saturday, November 19, 2011 - 1 pm - Hilmer Lodge Stadium, Walnut
SCFA National Bowl

1st Quarter:
M - Botello 35 yd run (kick wide right) 11:33 (6-0)
E - Issel 3 yd pass from Herrera (Jarrin kick) 5:50 (6-7)

2nd Quarter:
M - Agwuenu 31 yd pass from Deen (Coons kick) 13:11 (13-7)
M - Botello 12 yd run (Coons kick) 3:14 (20-7)

3rd Quarter:
M - Scanlan 3 yd pass from Deen (Coons kick) 8:22 (27-7)

4th Quarter:
M - Lomu 43 yd pass from Deen (Coons kick) 8:33 (34-7)

Team Statistics:
First Downs: Mt. SAC 20 (7 rush, 12 pass, 1 penalty), El Camino 13 (5 rush, 6 pass, 2 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Mt. SAC 47-149, El Camino 17-48
Passing Yds: Mt. SAC 270, El Camino 173
Comp-Att-Int: Mt. SAC 24-31-1, El Camino 18-48-2
Return Yds: Mt. SAC 70, El Camino 82
Sacks-Yds: Mt. SAC 4-24, El Camino 1-9
Fumbles-Lost: Mt. SAC 0-0, El Camino 2-1
Penalties-Yds: Mt. SAC 9-90, El Camino 6-40
Time of Possession: Mt. SAC 37:23, El Camino 22:37

Individual Statistics:

Rushing: M 32-Botello 9-64, 9-Magalei 11-42, 20-Bobo 14-40, 34-Larmie 1-9, 11-Deen 5-3, 8-Viramontes 2-2, 44-Paredes 1-(-3), 95-Betts 1-(-3), 14-Martin 2-(-4), team 1-(-1); E 34-A.Johnson 7-37, 16-Webb 2-22, 6-Walton 2-13, 43-Capacchione 1-0, 11-Herrera 4-(-24)
Passing: M 11-Deen 24-31-1-270, 3 TDs; E 11-Herrera 16-39-1-139, 1 TD; 16-Webb 2-9-1-34
Receiving: M 1-Agwuenu 6-80, 6-Duncan 4-49, 10-Tillman 3-38, 82-Taylor 2-22, 80-Pickett 2-6, 20-Bobo 2-5, 3-Lomu 1-43, 85-Farris 1-11, 8-Viramontes 1-7, 84-Cochran 1-6, 41-Scanlan 1-3; E 4-Shaw 4-76, 48-Issel 3-36, 1-Miller 3-18, 18-Level 3-17, 89-Bierra 1-11, 47-Brady 1-5, 6-Walton 1-(-2)
Interceptions-Ret Yds: M 45-Thorpe 1-7, 13-Myles 1-0; E 21-Marshall 1-1
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: M 96-Mataele 1-0 (fumble forced by 45-Thorpe)
Sacks: M 33-Aukusitino 1-10, 45-Thorpe 1-8, 96-Mataele 1-4, 90-Nonu 1-2; E 40-Ehinger 1-9
Punters: M 49-Colby 4-30.8 avg; E 41-Gudmunson 7-32.4 avg
Kick Returns: M 21-Williams 1-34, 41-Scanlan 1-20; E 17-Anderson 3-56, 4-Shaw 1-16, 92-Sekona 1-8
Punt Returns: M 3-Lomu 1-6, 96-Mataele 1-3; E 4-Shaw 1-2, 28-McMillan 1-(-1)
Missed FG: M 57-Torres 34 yds (blocked by 7-Lane)

Notes: Mt. San Antonio entered 9-1, t-#1 in the South, #4 in the nation; El Camino entered 8-2, #6 in the South, #13 in the nation and averaging 31.5 pts per game. After Mt. SAC's 1st TD, the Mounties tried an onsides kick and 27-Lagafuaina recovered but that drive ended with a fake FG (Betts' carry) that failed. Then El Camino drove for its TD. Mt. SAC's 3rd TD came after Mataele's fumble recovery. Mt. SAC's last TD came after Thorpe's interception.

MVP: Richard Thorpe, Mt. SAC. Offensive Player of the Game: Cameron Deen, Mt. SAC. Defensive Player of the Game: Ivan McLennan, LB, El Camino.

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