Mt. San Antonio (2-0) never trailed, and the Mounties took control of the game when Alo scored twice on short runs to cap long drives in the second quarter. But Fullerton stayed close and the outcome of the game was still in some doubt until Parham intercepted Joey Verhaegh's final pass attempt of the night and took it the distance for what turned out to be the final score of the game midway through the fourth quarter.
Mt. SAC dominated the game's first 16 minutes and had three excellent scoring opportunities before Fullerton (1-1) gained even a single first down on offense. But the Mounties' first drive ended when safety Tim Roberts intercepted an Alo pass at the Hornet 8 yard-line. After a short punt Mt. SAC got another chance, but came away empty when Alberto Reyes-Villarreal's 48-yard field goal attempt missed wide left. Finally, after another punt, Mt. SAC got on the scoreboard in the first minute of the second quarter but even then the Mounties had to settle for a short field goal by Villarreal after reaching the Fullerton 1 yard-line.
Fullerton finally gained its initial first down when Oran Maxwell gained 14 yards on a run on the Hornets' next drive, but after two first downs Fullerton had to punt. And this time the Mounties drove the length of the field, increasing its lead to 10-0 when Alo capped a 16-play, 91-yard drive by scoring on a 1-yard run. Then after another Fullerton punt, Mt. SAC again drove for a touchdown with Alo again scoring on a 1-yard keeper, pushing the margin to 17-0 with 1:09 left in the first half.
Fullerton got a huge lift when Mamez Ogletree returned the ensuing kickoff 71 yards up the right sideline to the Mt. SAC 16. A penalty at the end of the return pushed the Hornets back to the 35, but two plays - and a pass interference penalty - later Verhaegh threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tim Holt with 14 seconds left in the half to cut the Mounties' lead to 17-7.
Despite being outgained on offense by the staggering difference of 274 yards to 37 on offense in the first half, Fullerton still had a chance to get within a score when the Hornets received the second half kickoff. But the Mt. SAC defense didn't yield a single yard before forcing a punt, and the Mounties quickly pushed their lead back to 17 points with an 8-play, 65-yard drive that ended with Alo throwing an 8-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Antoine Anderson just 3:44 into the third quarter.
Fullerton cut the margin back to two scores on its next drive, which ended with Casey Eyman kicking a 41-yard field goal to make it 24-10 with 6:40 left in the third quarter. Mt. SAC, however, answered with a field goal by Reyes-Villarreal, who booted a 32-yarder just over three minutes later to push the Mounties' lead back to the three-score margin at 27-10.
Fullerton pinned Mt. SAC deep with a punt to the Mounties' 10, and a penalty pushed the Mounties back to the 5, near the end of the fourth quarter, and got the ball back at the Hornet 44 early in the fourth. Then Fullerton drove all the way to the Mt. SAC 11 yard-line. But defensive tackle Lolani Fa'aloua made an incredible interception - he deflected the ball into the air at the line, then managed to turn around and corral the ball about five yards downfield - that stopped the drive cold with 11:25 left in the game.
Fullerton forced a Mt. SAC punt and got the ball back at its 22, and quickly drove near midfield. But on a second-down play from the Mt. SAC 49 Verhaegh felt the pressure and tried a two-handed toss of the ball to escape a sack. But Mt. SAC's Parham intercepted the ball at the Fullerton 47 and took it the distance to push the Mounties' lead to 34-10 and clinch the victory for the home team.
For Mt. SAC, Alo completed 19 of 34 passes for 225 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed 9 times for 17 yards and two touchdowns. Omaris Tolbert led all rushers with 17 carries for 88 yards. 6-foot-6 receiver Christopher Gilchrist led all pass-catchers with 6 receptions, good for 58 yards. Fa'aloua was a visible presence on defense - and not just for his abundant hair - and had a sack and an interception. The Mt. SAC defense registered a total of 7 sacks and forced 3 turnovers, and allowed Fullerton just 35 yards rushing on the night.
For Fullerton, Verhaegh completed 19 of 31 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown, but also had 2 interceptions, one of which ended a scoring chance and the other of which was returned for a score. Holt had 4 catches for 43 yards and a touchdown to lead Hornet receivers. But Fullerton's leading rusher was back-up running back Eugene Baker, who gained 20 yards on a single carry late in the game after the outcome was decided and Mt. SAC had its reserves on the field.
With the win, Mt. SAC improves to 2-0 on the season and will travel to Ventura to take on the Pirates next Saturday. Fullerton returns home to face another tough test in Northern Conference pre-season favorite Cerritos at Yorba Linda HS.
Mt. San Antonio Mounties 34
Fullerton Hornets 10
Saturday, September 13, 2014 - 6 pm - Cougar Stadium, Santa Clarita
M - FG Reyes-Villarreal 19 yds 14:05 (3-0)
M - Alo 1 yd run (Reyes-Villarreal kick) 6:21 (10-0)
M - Alo 1 yd run (Reyes-Villarreal kick) 1:09 (17-0)
F - Holt 8 yd pass from Verhaegh (Eyman kick) 0:14 (17-7)
M - Anderson 8 yd pass from Alo (Reyes-Villarreal kick) 11:16 (24-7)
F - FG Eyman 41 yds 6:40 (24-10)
M - FG Reyes-Villarreal 32 yds 3:45 (27-10)
M - Parham 47 yd interception return (Reyes-Villarreal kick) 7:23 (34-10)
First Downs: Mt. SAC 23 (9 rush, 10 pass, 4 penalty), Fullerton 17 (3 rush, 11 pass, 3 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Mt. SAC 45-155, Fullerton 25-35
Passing Yds: Mt. SAC 225, Fullerton 186
Comp-Att-Int: Mt. SAC 19-34-1, Fullerton 22-36-2
Return Yds: Mt. SAC 86, Fullerton 168
Sacks-Yds: Mt. SAC 5-47, Fullerton 1-5
Fumbles-Lost: Mt. SAC 0-0, Fullerton 2-1
Penalties-Yds: Mt. SAC 11-100, Fullerton 9-100
Time of Possession: Mt. SAC 33:08, Fullerton 26:52
Rushing: M 28-Tolbert 17-88, 48-B.Wilson 9-40, 5-Alo 9-17, 15-Gates 6-11, 22-Vaughns 1-5, team 3-(-6); F 29-Baker 1-20, 21-Bennett 2-12, 3-Maxwell 5-12, 28-K.Wilson 4-6, 16-Ramey 6-5, 9-Verhaegh 7-(-20)
Passing: M 5-Alo 19-34-1-225, 1 TD; F 9-Verhaegh 19-31-2-175, 1 TD; 16-Ramey 3-5-0-11
Receiving: M 6-Gilchrist 6-58, 22-Vaughns 3-42, 4-Simpson 3-19, 1-Macon 2-42, 11-Anderson 2-22, 28-Tolbert 2-13, 83-Hill 1-29; F 43-Holt 4-38, 5-Gainey 3-29, 85-C.Smith 3-17, 2-Moss 3-11, 1-Shonoia 2-15, 89-Markush 1-23, 80-Merriweather 1-16, 8-Reece-Scott 1-15, 7-Tr.Williams 1-13, 12-Brown 1-11, 87-Lackey 1-4, 21-Bennett 1-(-6)
Interceptions-Ret Yds: M 57-Parham 1-47, 90-Fa'aloua 1-4; F 26-Roberts 1-7
Fum Rec-Ret Yds: M 60-Kohitolu 1-0; F none
Sacks: M 50-Crall 1-18, 54-Prtichard 1-13, 17-Magalei 1-7, 93-Fa 1-5, 90-Fa'aloua 1-4; F 51-Meaders 1-5
Punters: M 61-Fulham 3-48.0 avg; F 60-Eyman 6-37.0 avg
Kick Returns: M 4-Simpson 1-29; F 25-Ogletree 3-117, 1-Shonoia 3-45
Punt Returns: M 4-Simpson 1-6; F 89-Markush 1-(-1)
Missed FG: M 78-Reyes-Villarreal 48 yds (wide left); F none
Notes: Both teams entered 1-0; Mt. SAC entered ranked #1 in SoCal and #2 in the nation while Fullerton entered ranked #3 in SoCal, #7 in the nation and the defending SoCal champions. Mt. SAC had 3 excellent scoring opportunities in the 1st 16 mins but came away with just 3 points, but scored touchdowns on long drives on its next two possessions to take the 17-0 lead. Ogletree's 67-yd kickoff return after Mt. SAC's 2nd TD (shortened from 71 yds by a penalty) set up Fullerton's TD. Fa'aloua tipped the ball to himself for his interception.