Kishawn Holmes rushed for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns, Robert Gordon scored two key touchdowns and Jimmy Walker passed for 204 yards and 2 touchdowns as Cerritos rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit to edge longtime rival El Camino, 40-38, Saturday evening in Norwalk.
Holmes rushed for more than five times as many yards as anyone else in the game, leading the Falcons to a total of 207 yards on the ground. Walker completed 14 of 24 passes and threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to De'Jai Whitaker midway through the fourth quarter. And defensive lineman Raymon Price was an absolute terror, registering four of the Falcon defense's seven sacks in the game as the Falcon defense snuffed out El Camino's last comeback bid.
But perhaps the key play of the game was turned in by kicker Adrian Saldana. And it wasn't even for a kick.
Before the game got to Saldana's clutch play, Cerritos (5-1) saw El Camino (2-4) take a startling 31-14 lead early in the second half, and the Warriors led, 38-21, following a short scoring run by Justice Anyanwu with 5:42 left. It was Homecoming for Cerritos, and the last thing the Falcons, ranked 5th in SoCal's National Division and 16th nationally in the latest JCFootball.com list, expected was to have to battle back from a huge deficit in the final 20 minutes.
Gordon helped spark the comeback when he scored on a 23-yard run just 2:45 after Anyanwu's score, cutting the deficit to 10 points entering the fourth quarter. Then after an El Camino punt, Gordon scored on a 2-yard run with 12:40 left go cut the Warrior lead to four points at 38-34. But the extra point was blocked by linebacker Deandre Brewer, foreshadowing issues to come for the Cerritos kicking game.
Then after another El Camino punt, Cerritos took the lead when Walker threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Whitaker with 7:15 left. That made it 40-38. But on the extra point try, the snap was high over the holder's head. El Camino's De'Juan Tyson picked up the rolling ball and sped down the field, heading towards the end zone with a chance to tie the game and only one Falcon in position to do anything about it.
That Falcon was Saldana, who was a few strides ahead of Tyson when the race started but at least 10 yards away, towards the middle of the field, as Tyson raced down the sideline. As the pair passed the Cerritos 30, Saldana made his move, and seemed to get to the sideline just a little too late as Tyson sped by. But Saldana reached and managed to get a finger on Tyson's foot, tripping him up and sending him tumbling to the turf and out of bounds, preserving the Falcons' 2-point lead.
And then the Cerritos defense made that 2-point lead stand up. El Camino's next drive ended when Anthony Murray intercepted a pass with 5:43 left. El Camino got the ball back moments later when Raymond Lima forced a Holmes fumble, and Taniela Lolohea recovered for the Warriors. And El Camino reached as far as the Cerritos 29 following a 19-yard pass from Brent Boehm to Anyanwu. But the Falcon defense sacked Boehm on each of the next plays – and there was a dead-ball personal foul on the Warriors as well – with Alonzo Hansen finishing El Camino's chances with a sack of Boehm at the Warrior 43 with 1:05 left.
Early on, the teams traded scores for much of the first half. Boehm got El Camino on the board with a 9-yard touchdown pass to William Morehand with 8:53 left in the first quarter, but Cerritos answered when Holmes capped an 88-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run just over six minutes later. Then Boehm scored on a 14-yard keeper to give El Camino a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter. But Walker threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Whitaker just over three minutes later to even the score at 14.
A 60-yard pass from Boehm to Whitaker set up a short field goal by Nathan Hierlihy to give the Warriors a 17-14 lead midway through the second quarter. Then with the first-half clock winding down, Walker had trouble with a snap and fumbled with 29.6 seconds left in the first half. Lewitt Savini recovered for the Warriors, and 20 seconds later Boehm threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Anyanwu to give El Camino a 24-14 lead at the break.
Then on the second half kickoff, El Camino got a 56-yard return from Dajuan Parham to set up a 15-yard touchdown pass from Boehm to Morehand just 90 seconds into the third quarter. Cerritos answered with a touchdown by Holmes, but Anyanwu scored on a 2-yard run with 5:42 left to give El Camino a 38-21 lead, a margin that was just narrow enough for Cerritos to overcome, thanks in large part to a hustling kicker.
For Cerritos, Walker completed 14 of 24 passes for 207 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Holmes carried the ball 31 times for 158 yards and 2 scores. Whitaker had 7 catches for 85 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Steven White had 5 catches for 81 yards. Cerritos finished with exactly 207 yards rushing and 207 yards passing for the game. Price had 4 sacks as the defense registered 7 sacks on the night, including three in the final series to secure the win.
For El Camino, Boehm completed 31 of 46 passes for 397 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Anyanwu caught 7 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown, and he also rushed for a score. Morehand had 6 catches for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Cerritos Falcons 40, El Camino Warriors 38
Saturday, October 10, 2015 – 7 pm
@ Falcon Stadium, Norwalk
EC – Morehand 9 yd pass from Boehm (Hierlihy kick) 8:53 (0-7)
C – Holmes 1 yd run (Saidana kick) 2:18 (7-7)
EC – Boehm 14 yd run (Hierlihy kick) 12:52 (7-14)
C – Whitaker 11 yd pass from J.Walker (Saidana kick) 9:39 (14-14)
EC – FG Hierlihy 25 yds 7:37 (14-17)
EC – Anyanwu 17 yd pass from Boehm (Hierlihy kick) 0:09 (14-24)
EC – Morehand 15 yd pass from Boehm (Hierlihy kick) 13:30 (14-31)
C – Holmes 6 yd run (Saidana kick) 10:29 (21-31)
EC – Anyanwu 2 yd run (Hierlihy kick) 5:42 (21-38)
C – R.Gordon 23 yd run (Saidana kick) 2:57 (28-38)
C – R.Gordon 2 yd run (kick blocked by 9-Brewer) 12:40 (34-38)
C – Whitaker 17 yd pass from J.Walker (kick failed – bad snap) 7:15 (40-38)
First Downs: Cerritos 22 (11 rush, 6 pass, 5 penalty), El Camino (4 rush, 16 pass, 3 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Cerritos 45-207, El Camino 22-6
Passing Yds: Cerritos 207, El Camino 397
Comp-Att-Int: Cerritos 14-24-0, El Camino 31-46-2
Return Yds: Cerritos 32, El Camino 181
Sacks-Yds: Cerritos 7-40, El Camino 2-10
Fumbles-Lost: Cerritos 3-3, El Camino 2-1
Penalties-Yds: Cerritos 10-68, El Camino 6-55
Time of Possession: Cerritos 29:42, El Camino 30:18
Rushing: C 5-Kishawn Holmes 31-158, 33-R.Gordon 5-30, 4-D.Gordon 1-20, 25-Crowder 2-5, 7-J.Walker 4-1, team 2-(-5); EC 5-Anyanwu 8-16, 20-Morehand 1-11, 6-Franck-Love 2-(-4), 16-Boehm 11-(-17)
Passing: C 7-Jimmy Walker 14-24-0-207, 2 TDs; EC 16-Brent Boehm 31-46-2-397, 3 TDs
Receiving: C 11-De'Jai Whitaker 7-85, 10-White 5-81, 4-D.Gordon 1-36, 5-Holmes 1-5; EC 5-Justice Anyanwu 7-112, 20-William Morehand 6-99, 13-Parham 5-40, 1-Shaw 4-85, 18-Cox 4-30, 11-Washington 2-11, 9-Luna 1-14, 88-Hindle 1-9, 10-Williams 1-(-3)
Interceptions-Ret Yds: C 24-Murray 1-11, 7-Reed 1-0; EC none
Fum Rec-Ret Yds: C 36-Leggett 1-0; EC 15-Lolohea 1-12, 6-Singleton 1-0, 44-Savini 1-0
Sacks: C 94-Price 4, 50-Hansen, 56-Tupou, 8-Walker ½, 92-Harry ½; EC 44-Savini, 76-Lima
Punters: C 31-Bojorquez 4-41.5 avg; EC 19-Sublette 4-35.0 avg
Kick Returns: C 13-Else 1-16; EC 13-Parham 6-154, 10-Williams 1-21
Punt Returns: C 7-Reed 1-5; EC 20-Morehand 1-16, 1-Shaw 1-(-1)
Missed FG: none
Notes: Cerritos entered ranked #5-National and #7-California and improves to 5-1; El Camino entered ranked #15-National and falls to 2-4. Savini recovered a fumbled snap at the Cerritos 14 that led to El Camino's 3rd TD. Parham's 56-yd kickoff return to start the 2nd half led to El Camino's 4th TD. On the conversion attempt after Cerritos' last TD, a high snap doomed the kick try and 21-Tyson picked up the loose ball and headed towards the Cerritos end zone; kicker Saldana tripped him up inside the 20 to save the 2 points that would have tied the game. El Camino got the ball back with 4:55 left but that threat ended with 3 straight sacks by the Cerritos defense.