It was the National Division, Central Conference opener for both teams. Mt. SAC has won the last five Southern California regional championships, while Citrus started the season 3-0 for the first time in memory and entered the game ranked #4 in the South and #24 nationally in the JC Grid-Wire.
But Mt. SAC had no trouble in this one behind its pair of Pac-10 bounceback quarterbacks. Montana, son of legendary NFL superstar Joe and a Washington signee out of Oaks Christian HS, played most of the first half and was 14 of 26 for 203 yards and a touchdown. And Landers, who went to UCLA out of powerhouse Serra HS in Gardena, was 12 of 22 for 164 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. The only issue is who will start, and who will play, when Mt. SAC hosts Desert next week.
Montana gave Mt. SAC an early lead when he threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Spencer Stephens midway through the first quarter. That capped a 10-play, 52-yard drive after the teams had exchanged a pair of punts apiece to start the game.
And it was nearly 14-0 a couple of minutes later when the Mountie defense intercepted a pass and appeared to return it for a score, only to have the play negated by a roughing the passer penalty. At that point, Citrus changed quarterbacks, inserting the more mobile Bernard Porter in placeof starter Vincent Hernandez. The Owls reached the Mt. SAC 7 before turning the ball over on downs.
The Mt. SAC defense provided the game's second touchdown when Tutulupeatau Mataele sacked Porter near midfield and Norman Moimoi picked the ball up at the 50 and carried it into the end zone to make it 14-0. And the Mounties nearly stretched the lead moments later when Mt. SAC reached the Citrus 8. However, Montana's pass was intercepted by Stace Woodward at the 5, stopping the drive and ending Montana's afternoon.
Mt. SAC's defense stopped Citrus without allowing a first down, and Dontae Ingraham returned the resulting punt 27 yards to the Owl 20. Then Landers entered the game and promptly threw a 13-yard touchdown pass two plays later to Stephens with 3 seconds left in the half to make it 21-0.
Mt. SAC stretched its lead to 24-0 midway through the third quarter when Kenneth Banks recovered a muffed punt at the Owl 12. A penalty - one of many for the Mounties on the afternoon - stopped the drive but Joseph Cejudo booted a 37-yard field goal to make it 24-0. Mt. SAC stretched its lead to 31-0 early in the fourth quarter when Landers connected with Roddy Cochran on a 36-yard touchdown pass with 12:18 left.
Citrus finally got on the board when Porter threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Kepley, who stayed on to kick the extra point as well. By then the Mt. SAC reserves were on the field for the defense, however. Mt. SAC got one final touchdown when reserve running back Garrett Paredes burst through for a 27-yard scoring run with 5:23 left, and Citrus got the final score of the day when Porter threw a 22-yard touchdown pas to Jo Jo Curiel with 1:46 left.
As productive as the Mt. SAC quarterbacks were, the real story was of course their outstanding defense. Mataele had 2-1/2 of the Mounties' 8 quarterback sacks of the day, and Citrus finished with minus-25 rushing yards for the game. And of the Owls' total of 186 yards of offense, 115 of that came on the final two scoring drives against the reserves.
Mt. San Antonio Mounties 38
Citrus Owls 14
Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 1 pm - Citrus College Stadium, Glendora
National Division - Central Conference
M - Stephens 7 yd pass from Montana (Cejudo kick) 6:53 (7-0)
M - Moimoi 50 yd fumble return (Cejudo kick) 5:23 (14-0)
M - Stephens 13 yd pass from Landers (Cejudo kick) 0:03 (21-0)
M - FG Cejudo 37 yds 5:45 (24-0)
M - Cochran 36 yd pass from Landers (Cejudo kick) 12:18 (31-0)
C - Kepley 11 yd pass from Porter (Kepley kick) 10:10 (31-7)
M - Paredes 27 yd run (Cejudo kick) 5:23 (38-7)
C - Curiel 22 yd pass from Porter (Kepley kick) 1:46 (38-14)
First Downs: Citrus 19 (2 rush, 10 pass, 7 penalty), Mt. SAC 26 (6 rush, 17 pass, 3 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Citrus 21-(-25), Mt. SAC 33-112
Passing Yds: Citrus 211, Mt. SAC 367
Comp-Att-Int: Citrus 27-44-0, Mt. SAC 26-48-2
Return Yds: Citrus 184, Mt. SAC 111
Sacks-Yds: Citrus 2-12, Mt. SAC 8-64
Fumbles-Lost: Citrus 2-1, Mt. SAC 0-0
Penalties-Yds: Citrus 9-74, Mt. SAC 22-207
Time of Possession: Citrus 27:29, Mt. SAC 32:31
Rushing: C 20-Holmes 4-11, 32-Sainz 5-4, 7-Hernandez 2-(-9), 10-Porter 10-(-31); M 44-Paredes 4-41, 20-Overton 13-37, 30-Gatewood 6-29, 29-Yarbrough 5-13, 11-Montana 2-1, 35-Quiocho 1-0, 6-Landers 1-(-7), team 1-(-2)
Passing: C 10-Porter 23-37-0-198, 2 TDs; 7-Hernandez 4-7-0-13; M 11-Montana 14-26-2-203, 1 TD; 6-Landers 12-22-0-164, 2 TDs
Receiving: C 18-Calles 8-77, 5-Curiel 6-42, 3-Ball 5-48, 17-Kepley 3-26, 85-Williams 1-8, 6-Haines 1-7, 32-Sainz 1-3, 23-Crawford 1-2, 20-Holmes 1-(-2); M 4-Kaelin 3-77, 10-Tillman 3-50, 18-Gatti 3-38, 12-Cochran 2-42, 83-Carden 2-38, 1-Ingraham 2-29, 5-Aiwohi 2-29, 89-Stephens 2-20, 14-Pickett 2-17, 29-Yarbrough 2-9, 49-Parham 1-10, 82-Taylor 1-6, 44-Paredes 1-4
Interceptions-Ret Yds: C 47-Pruitt 1-7, 21-Woodward 1-0; M none
Fum Rec-Ret Yds: C none; M 93-Moimoi 1-50, 9-Banks 1-0
Sacks: C 40-Robles, 92-Washington; M 96-Tutulupeatau 2½, 17-Ilae, 32-Goforth, 55-Aholelei, 93-Moimoi, 97-Moli, 90-Nonu ½
Punters: C 87-Laros 8-39. 5 avg; 41-Kegans 1-36; M 61-Cejudo 6-41. 3 avg
Kick Returns: C 23-Crawford 3-80, 85-Williams 1-28, 47-Pruitt 1-12, 11-Beddard 1-2; M 20-Overton 1-7
Punt Returns: C 5-Curiel 3-55; M 1-Ingraham 3-54
Missed FG: none
Notes: Both teams entered 3-0; Mt. SAC was ranked #1 in the South and #2 in the nation (JC Grid-Wire) while Citrus was ranked #4 in the South and #24 in the nation. The starting QBs were Montana (Mt. SAC) and Hernandez (Citrus). A roughing the passer penalty negated a Mt. SAC interception that would have been a pick-six with 4:14 left in the 1st quarter; Porter replaced Hernandez at that time. Tutulupeatau's sack forced the fumble Moimoi returned for the TD. Landers replaced Montana after an interception at the Citrus 5 with 1:51 left in the 1st half. Cejudo's FG came after Banks recovered a punt muff. Mt. SAC now leads the all-time series, 30-4-1, though there is a gap in the archives.