The kicking game was a key factor as Cerritos not only made both of their extra point tries, but got a pair of medium-range field goals from Steve Jenks and some excellent pooch punting from Kevin Brown.
Following Flores' block on the final XPA, Compton kicker Fabian Varela picked up the bouncing ball and tried a desperation pass into the end zone, but Falcon DB Eric Camarillo came down the the ball. Still, victory wasn't assured for Cerritos until they recovered an on-sides kick attempt moments later.
Compton had rallied behind the determined play of standout QB Brandon Brooks, who led their final drive despite leaving the game following a devastating (and late) hit along the sideline. Brooks scrambled for 21 yds (plus the 15 from the penalty on the hit) to get the Tartars into Falcon territory. After leaving the game for a play, Brooks came back in to hit WR Joshua Smith with a 30-yd pass that got the ball to the Cerritos 2 before leaving the game for good.
The overall competitiveness of this hard-hitting game came through on this last possession, both for Compton and Cerritos. Following Brooks' courageous pass play, the Tartars had 1st and goal at the Falcon 2. But the Cerritos defense refused to yield, stopping 230-pound FB Rufus Brumfield once and backup QB Arthur Giddons twice at the goal line. On 4th down, however, Brumfield powered his way into the end zone to close the gap to 20-19, setting the stage for Flores' block and Camarillo's interception.
Cerritos had taken the lead in the 4th quarter on a 28-yd pass from Michael Keeling to reserve WR Nathan Endemano. It was Endemano's only catch of the game, but it gave the Falcons a 20-13 lead with 5:42 left. Considering how dominant the Falcon defense had been in the second half to that point, it looked like it would be enough to give Cerritos the win. And it was – but just barely.
Compton ended the first half with a 13-3 lead. There was some controversy on the final play of the half, when Keeling threw the ball to WR Freddie Davis near the right sideline and just across the goal line. It was a 4th down play and the clock was about to expire, but Davis made a spectacular catch. However, it was unclear if he got a foot down inbounds on the play. No official appeared to see the play clearly, and no official signal was ever given. But the teams retired to the dressing room for halftime and the score remained 13-3 so presumably it was ruled that Davis did not make the catch inbounds.
The Tartars had taken the early lead behind the excellent play of Brooks, both as a passer and as a runner. His 25-yd run on a QB draw was the game's first touchdown, and he had 176 yds passing by halftime. Compton's other first-half touchdown came on a 1-yd plunge by Brumfield (who had 2 TDs on 3 carries, each of which gained 1 yd) just before halftime.
Sandwiched between Compton's touchdowns was Cerritos' only score of the first half, a 31-yd field goal by Steve Jenks. It was set up on a fake punt play in which Camarillo, as the up-man, took the snap and passed to Kevin Woods for a 22-yd gain down the left sideline. Cerritos' other offensive possessions in the first half ended with 5 punts, a fumble and the controversial play at the horn.
But things were different in the second half as Cerritos' offensive line began to assert itself. Until the final drive, Compton had only 2 first downs on offense in the second half, which allowed the large Falcon line to wear down the Tartar defense. A drive of nearly 7 minutes in the third quarter ended with a 1-yd run by Daniel Dixon, bringing Cerritos to within a field goal at 13-10.
That field goal came on Cerritos' next possession following a short Compton punt. LB Marcus Swartz appeared to get a finger on the ball, or at the least applied some heavy pressure, and the ball traveled only 11 yds. Moments later, Cerritos tied the game on a 40-yd field goal by Jenks, making it 13-13 with 11:06 left.
Another Compton punt – this one a little longer at 25 yds – put the tiring Tartar defense back out on the field after another very short offensive possession. And Cerritos marched down the field. The drive of a little more than 3 minutes ended with Endemano's touchdown reception, which set the stage for Compton's final drive and the pivotal conversion attempt.
Compton's Brooks had a truly outstanding day, even if his team lost the game. He completed 20 of 31 passes for 276 yds and no interceptions. 6 of those passes went to Joshua Smith for 133 yds. Brooks also was Compton's leading rusher with 56 yds on 16 carries, and if sacks are removed his totals would be 86 yds on 11 carries. Either passing or rushing, Brooks accounted for 332 of Compton's 342 yds on offense.
For Cerritos, QB Keeling had an efficient day with 14 completions from 21 attempts for 103 yds, no interceptions and the key touchdown toss to Endemano. He also showed his toughness, rebounding from a monster hit from Compton LB Jeremy Stewart in the first half (he missed just one series). Danny Kirkpatrick was the leading Falcon receiver with 6 catches for 41 yds. Carlos Velasquez led Cerritos with 54 yds rushing on 18 carries. Pooch punter Kevin Brown had a pair of excellent kicks, both of which were downed deep in Compton territory.
But the real standouts for Cerritos were the lineman. DTs Flores and Hernandez had the kick blocks, while 5 (other) different defensive linemen registered sacks. The offensive line (Julian Diaz, Francisco Angulano, Ramsey Fiapai, Brent Deladurantey and Andrew Mayorga were the regulars) dominated the trenches in the second half as Cerritos scored on their last 3 offensive possessions.
Comp: 12-Brooks 16-56, 8-Ford 8-10, 35-Brumfield 3-3, 3-J.Smith 1-3, 17-Gibbons 2-0, 21-Jer. Moore 7-(-6)
Cerr: 25-Velasquez 18-54, 4-D.Dixon 7-33, 16-Keeling 11-29
Comp: 12-Brooks 20-31-0-276
Cerr: 16-Keeling 14-21-0-103, 1 TD; 3-Camarillo 1-1-0-34, 12-K.Brown 1-5-0-8
Comp: 3-J.Smith 6-133, 6-Ealy(?) 4-51, 2-Finley 4-31, 21-Jer. Moore 3-24, 88-A.Smith 2-25, 14-Leandro 1-12
Cerr: 5-Kirkpatrick 6-41, 8-F.Davis 2-13, 9-Nichols 2-11, 22-Woods 1-34, 80-Endemano 1-28, 85-J.Johnson 1-12, 11-Simmons 1-2, 25-Velasquez 1-2, 84-L.Davis 1-2
Comp: 6-LeBlanc 8-28.1 avg
Cerr: 98-Villa 4-36.3 avg; 12-K.Brown 2-39.0 avg
Comp: 6-Ealy(?) 4-78, 3-J.Smith 1-13
Cerr: 4-D.Dixon 3-62
Comp: 5-Stiggers 1-14, 3-J.Smith 1-3
Cerr: 11-Simmons 3-21, 10-G.Smith 1-4, 51-Tate 1-0
Comp: 31-Torres(?) 2-10, 54-Floyd 1-1
Cerr: 46-Kailahi 1-13, 44-Taufa 1-8, 93-Parker 1-4, 60-Bowen 1-3, 94-Feula 1-2
Notes: Both teams entered 0-1. Keeling started at QB for Cerritos, left after a big hit by 9-Stewart to be replaced by Brown, and returned after missing one series. Camarillo's pass to Woods was a fake punt play which set up Cerritos' 1st FG. 91-Henderson blocked the first XPA. 53-Swartz partially blocked a Compton punt which went just 11 yds, setting up the 2nd FG. Brumfield scored his 2nd TD on a 4th & goal play. 99-Flores blocked the second XPA; the ball then bounced to kicker Varela whose pass attempt was intercepted in the end zone by Camarillo. Brooks was knocked from the game by a late hit on the last drive; he returned after missing one play for one play, a 30-yd pass to J.Smith. Cerritos recovered Compton's last-ditch on-sides kick attempt after their final TD. Brown's punts were quick-kicks while Villa's were traditional punts.