Mt. San Jacinto Kicks It To 4-0

After nearly 1,100 yards of offense, including a 483 yards passing from East LA quarterback Aaron Cantu, it was Jaime Lucio's 32-yard field goal with 2.1 seconds left that was the difference as Mt. San Jacinto improved its record to 4-0 with a thrilling 35-32 win over East Los Angeles at historic Weingart Stadium in the American-Mountain conference opener Saturday night.

It was an extremely evenly-played game, as neither team led by more than seven points all night and both offenses put together NFL-style long scoring drives with lots of short passes. There were only four turnovers in the game, all interceptions and all on excellent plays by the defender rather than poorly-thrown balls by the passer. And there were just six penalties in the entire game, only one of which came against East LA.

Lucio's game-winning kick came after a huge 45-yard pass play on which Dalton Hunkle of Mt. San Jacinto (4-0, 1-0) took a short pass from Tim Morovick and broke a tackle to turn it into a big play. The Eagles got the ball after a miscue by East LA (3-1, 0-1) stifled a scoring chance at the Mt. San Jacinto 6 yard-line. Facing a 4th and 3, the Huskies' had a bad snap sail over Cantu's head and though East LA recovered the loose ball back at the 20, the ball went over on downs, leading to Mt. San San Jacinto's game-winning drive.

Early on, it looked like East LA might take command of the game. After taking The Opening kickoff, the Huskies drove to the Eagles' 22 before turning the ball over on downs after an incomplete pass. Then after a Mt. San Jacinto punt following a three-and-out, East LA went on a 9-play, 84-yard drive, taking a 6-0 lead on a 1-yard scoring run by Preston Oliver. Then after another Mt. San Jacinto 3-and-out, East LA drove deep into Eagle territory again, reaching the 13 as the game reached the final minute of the first quarter.

But Mt. San Jacinto's Brett Layton intercepted a Cantu pass with 21 seconds left in the quarter, negating the scoring threat and keeping the Eagles in the game. East LA held a staggering 176-19 advantage in total yards to that point, but had just a 6-0 lead on the scoreboard.

Mt. San Jacinto's offense then got untracked, and Morovick capped an 11-play, 88-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown run to tie the game. Then on the conversion Morovick, the holder, threw the ball to Daniel Lilienthal to give the Eagles an 8-6 lead. And the Eagles got the ball back moments later on a spectacular leaping interception by Dejon Brown, which gave Mt. San Jacinto the ball at the East LA 42. That led to a 26-yard field goal by Lucio that gave the Eagles the lead with the rather unlikely football score of 11-6.

After that the offenses for both teams settled in and the teams traded scores the rest of the half. Cantu capped an 8-play, 84-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Alexander Villalobos to put East LA ahead, 13-11. Mt. San Jacinto anwered quickly when Superiorr Reid broke free for an 80-yard touchdown run to put the Eagles back on top, 18-13. Then Cantu threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Willie Udofia with 2:10 left in the half to give the Huskies a 19-18 lead at the break.

Mt. San Jacinto went back in front when Morovick threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Hunkle to cap a 10-play drive, giving the Eagles a 25-19 lead. Cantu answered that with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Lopez to cap a 12-play drive to give East LA a 26-25 lead. Mt. San Jacinto went on a 13-play drive to the East LA 5, but came away empty when Lucio missed a 32-yard field goal with 1:14 left in the third quarter.

East LA pushed its lead to seven points when Cantu threw his fourth touchdown pass of the night, a 10-yard scoring strike to Udofia, to cap a 12-play, 85-yard drive with 5:54 left in the game. However, Mt. San Jacinto's Brown blocked the extra point, keeping it a seven-point game at 32-25. Extra points were a problem all night for East LA, as Allan Infante missed two tries in the first half before Eduardo Rodriguez' kick was blocked by Brown. East LA also eschewed short field goal tries on two occasions only to turn the ball over on downs.

Mt. San Jacinto needed just one play from scrimmage to tie the game. After Stefon Houston returned the ensuing kickoff to the 30, Reid took a handoff on the next play and broke free for his second long touchdown run of the game, a 70-yarder that brought Mt. San Jacinto within a point at 32-31. Lucio made the extra point for the Eagles, tying the score at 32 with 5:31 left.

East LA then went on a long drive, steadily moving down the field for what was expected to be the go-ahead score. A 26-yard pass from Cantu to Bryan Munoz-Alvarez got the Huskies to the Mt. San Jacinto 35. On the next play Cantu threw a 22-yard pass to Dylan Gomez to get to the 13. But after one incomplete pass and a short pass to Lopez, Cantu's third-down pass fell incomplete. And on 4th and 3 from the 6, the shotgun snap from center went over Cantu's head, ending the scoring chance.

Mt. San Jacinto got the ball at the 20, and barely converted a first down when Morovick stretched past the first down line by inches on 3rd down. But two plays later, he threw the 45-yard pass to Hunkle, and three plays after that Lucio kicked the game-winning field goal. East LA tried a desperation multi-lateral return on the final kickoff, but the band stayed off the field and when Brown intercepted one of the laterals the game was over.

Morovick finished 16 of 26 for 221 yards and a touchdown passing for Mt. San Jacinto, and he also rushed 10 times for 30 yards (7 times for 48 yards if sacks are subtracted out). Reid showed his superiority with 191 yards rushing, including the touchdown runs of 80 and 70 yards, on just 16 carries. Hunkle led Eagle receivers with 8 catches for 135 yards, including the key 45-yard catch on the final drive. And Brown was a spectacular presence on defense, nabbing two interceptions on nice plays, blocking East LA's last extra point and also recovering the lateral on the game's final play.

For East LA, Cantu finished 36 of 52 passing for 483 yards and 4 touchdowns, though he did have 3 interceptions. Munoz-Alvarez led all receivers with 10 catches for 147 yards, and Udofia had a huge game as well with 7 catches for 98 yards. In all, East LA had 591 yards of total offense (Mt. San Jacinto did nearly as well with 507). But the kicking game proved to be the difference - the 3 missed extra points for East LA and the game-winning 3-point field goal for Mt. San Jacinto.

Mt. San Jacinto Eagles 35
East Los Angeles Huskies 32

Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 6 pm - Weingart Stadium, Monterey Park
American Division - Mountain Conference

1st Quarter:

E - Oliver 1 yd run (kick wide left) 5:16 (0-6)

2nd Quarter:

M - Morovick 18 yd run (Lilienthal pass from Morovick) 10:37 (8-6)
M - FG Lucio 26 yds 7:27 (11-6)
E - Villalobos 8 yd pass from Cantu (Infante kick) 4:16 (11-13)
M - Reid 80 yd run (Lucio kick) 3:18 (18-13)
E - Udofia 44 yd pass from Cantu (kick wide right) 2:10 (18-19)

3rd Quarter:

M - Hunkle 6 yd pass from Morovick (Lucio kick) 10:30 (25-19)
E - Lopez 7 yd pass from Cantu (Rodriguez kick) 5:43 (26-25)

4th Quarter:

E - Udofia 10 yd pass from Cantu (kick blocked) 5:54 (32-25)
M - Reid 70 yd run (Lucio kick) 5:31 (32-32)
M - FG Lucio 32 yds 0:02.1 (35-32)

Team Statistics:
First Downs: East LA 30 (10 rush, 19 pass, 1 penalty), Mt. San Jacinto 20 (9 rush, 11 pass)
Rushes-Yds: East LA 30-108, Mt. San Jacinto 38-286
Passing Yds: East LA 483, Mt. San Jacinto 221
Comp-Att-Int: East LA 36-52-3, Mt. San Jacinto 16-26-1
Return Yds: East LA 82, Mt. San Jacinto 164
Sacks-Yds: East LA 3-18, Mt. San Jacinto 2-7
Fumbles-Lost: East LA 2-1, Mt. San Jacinto 1-0
Penalties-Yds: East LA 1-5, Mt. San Jacinto 5-45
Time of Possession: East LA 34:15, Mt. San Jacinto 25:45

Individual Statistics:
E 25-Lopez 10-53, 26-Richard 5-40, 32-Oliver 6-26, 36-Willoughby 3-10, 1-Villalobos 1-4, 15-Cantu 4-(-11), team 1-(-14); M 4-Reid 16-191, 6-Harrison 11-53, 3-Morovick 10-30, 8-Lindsey 1-12
Passing: E 15-Cantu 36-52-3-483, 4 TDs; M 3-Morovick 16-26-1-221, 1 TD
Receiving: E 5-Munoz-Alvarez 10-147, 87-Udofia 7-98, 25-Lopez 5-42, 7-McCorvery 4-72, 1-Villalobos 3-50, 19-Gomez 3-31, 4-Buck 2-43, 32-Oliver 1-4, 26-Richard 1-(-4); M 5-Hunkle 8-135, 6-Harrison 3-26, 11-Houston 3-24, 8-Lindsey 1-22, 14-Hays 1-14
Interceptions-Ret Yds: E 21-Dudley 1-0; M 17-Brown 2-21, 24-Layton 1-6
Fum Rec-Ret Yds: E none; M 17-Brown 1-0
Sacks-Yds: E 9-Olton 3-18; M 22-Pearson 2-7
Punters: E none; M 98-Mondragon 3-40.7 avg
Kick Returns: E 1-Villalobos 3-41, 36-Willoughby 1-15, 24-Moreno 1-13, team 1-12; M 11-Houston 5-114, 6-Harrison 1-23
Punt Returns: E 1-Villalobos 1-1; M none
Missed FG: E none; M 90-Lucio 32 yds (wide right)
Notes: Both teams entered 3-0; East LA was ranked #9 in the South while Mt. San Jacinto was ranked #12. MSJC's 1st TD came after an 88-yd drive following Layton's interception. MSJC's 1st FG came after a short drive following Brown's 1st interception. East LA's last TD came after an 85-yd drive after the teams traded interceptions. Reid's 70-yd TD came on the next play from scrimmage. East LA drove to the MSJC 6 with about 3 mins left but had an incomplete pass on 3rd down and the bad snap on 4th down to end the threat. A 45-yd pass from Morovick to Hunkle set up MSJC's winning FG. East LA tried a multi-lateral return of the ensuing kickoff but Brown grabbed a lateral by 27-Smith to end the game.

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