Mt. SAC took the opening kickoff and drove all the way to the Hornet 3-yard line. The 14-play drive covered 86 yards and consumed nearly half of the first quarter, and would be the first of several long drives on the day. The Fullerton defense stiffened near the goal line, however, and Mt. SAC had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Barajas.
Then Fullerton got the ball and embarked on a long drive of their own. Three plays into the drive, the Hornets faced a 4th and 1 and lined up to punt. But instead, the snap went to up-man Justin Domenick, who ran for 4 yards and a first down. A 22-yard pass from Tom Kirchmeyer to Chaz Guinn got the ball to the Mounties' 36, and he connected with Paul Ruggio to get the ball to the 26 moments later. Alfred Guidry covered the last 20 yards and finished the drive with a 6-yard scoring run to give Fullerton the lead.
But it was also Fullerton's only score of the day. And that drive would account for nearly half of the Hornets' offensive output and first down totals on the afternoon.
Early in the second quarter, a punt by Mt. SAC's Drew Stapp was downed at the Fullerton 6. On the next play, Filisonuu Tafisi caught Guidry behind the line, tackling him at his own 2-yard line for a 4-yard loss. And on the next play, Tafisi sacked Kirchmeyer in the end zone for the safety, closing the gap to 7-5 Fullerton.
Following a Mt. SAC punt, Fullerton nearly extended their lead. Kirchmeyer hooked up with Tony Zegers on a 37-yard pass that got the ball down to the 1-yard line, where Zegers was ruled to have stepped out of bounds. That soon became a key ruling, because after a 5-yard false start penalty (moving the ball back to the 6) Guidry took a handoff and went around the left side. But before Guidry could get across the goal line, the ball came loose, and Tafisi recovered at the 1 for Mt. SAC.
Mt. SAC nearly took the lead on the next drive when Demetrius Hughes caught an Adam Ernst pass and appeared to score on a 30-yard play. But a holding penalty wiped that out, and eventually the Mounties came away empty, even though the drive consumed over 8 minutes. That left the score 7-5 in favor of Fullerton at the half.
In the second half, following a Fullerton punt, Mt. SAC took the lead on a 3-yard run by Hill. That capped an 11-play, 53-yard drive and gave Mt. SAC a 12-7 lead. And after another Fullerton punt, Mt. SAC extended its lead on a 21-yard field goal by Barajas. Backup QB Derek Devine entered the game for that drive, which took 16 plays and covered 81 yards, and chewed another 7:32 off the clock. It also built Mt. SAC's lead to 15-7.
On Fullerton's next punt, Mt. SAC's Darryl Moore took the kick at his own 17 and brought it back past midfield. But just as punter Sam Paulesco was about to tackle him, Moore pitched the ball to a trailing Hughes to continue the run a few more yards to the Fullerton 40. And moments later Hill took a short pass, ran through several defenders and over another, down the left sideline into the end zone. But that play was called back on a penalty, the second apparent Mountie touchdown that was negated, and Mt. SAC had to punt.
Following another strong defensive stand by Mt. SAC, including a sack by Robert Santiago, Fullerton was forced to punt yet again. But what resulted was no ordinary punt as Paulesco boomed the spiraling ball high over return-man Moore's head. The ball bounced down the field before coming to a stop at the Mt. SAC 6-yard line for an 84-yard punt!
Mt. SAC drove to their own 36 before punting, and when Fullerton got the ball back the Mounties appeared to score when DB Anthony Settle intercepted a Kirchmeyer pass and carried it into the end zone. But this too was called back on a penalty, and the Mounties eventually had to settle for a 36-yard field goal attempt by Barajas. When the kick went wide, the Hornets had one final chance, trailing by just one score at 15-7 with 1:38 left.
But once again, the Mt. SAC defense held. A sack by freshman DL Rulon Davis on 3rd down, and a nice play by Settle to break up a pass on 4th down ended Fullerton's last chance.
Mt. SAC dominated the ball, running 83 offensive plays (to 54 for Fullerton) and holding possession for 37:12. And after a first-quarter Hornet touchdown drive, Mt. SAC allowed just 7 more first downs and 100 yards of offense all afternoon. DL Tafisi had a huge game with 2 sacks, one for a safety, 2 tackles for losses and a fumble recovery. Plus, the Mounties had three touchdowns called back on penalties, or the margin of victory could have been much larger.
In addition to Hill, offensive leaders for Mt. SAC included QBs Ernst (14 of 25 for 107 yards) and Devine (8 of 11 for 66), and JC Top 101 WR Delanie Walker (7 catches for 63 yards). Tafisi and Settle led the defense, which registered 5 sacks and forced the game's only turnover. The Mt. SAC defense also held Fullerton to just 40 yards on the ground on 31 carries and only 176 yards of offense overall.
For Fullerton, Kirchmeyer finished 11 of 23 for 136 yards. Domenick led Hornet rushers with 44 yards on 8 carries. But the real standout was punter/kicker Paulesco, who averaged 49.2 yards per punt, including an incredible 84-yarder, and delivered a bone-jarring hit on a punt return.
M – FG Barajas 20 yards 8:25 -- 3-0
F – Guidry 6 yard run (Paulesco kick) 3:33 -- 3-7
M – Safety – Kirchmeyer tackled in end zone by Tafisi 13:47 -- 5-7
M – Hill 3 yard run (Barajas kick) 7:53 -- 12-7
M – FG Barajas 21 yards 12:31 -- 15-7
|Team Statistics:||Fullerton||Mt. San Antonio|
|First Downs||12 (6 pass; 5 run; 1 pen)||23 (8 pass; 12 run; 3 pen)|
|Rushes – Yards||31-40||47-171|
|Comp - Att – Int||11-23-1||22-36-0|
|Sacks – Yards||0-0||5-36|
|Fumbles – Lost||1-1||1-0|
|Penalties – Yards||7-41||11-90|
|Time of Possession||22:48||37:12|
F: 6-Domenick 8-44, 35-Guidry 9-32, 4-Sharp 2-5, 30-Wilson 7-(-5),
MSA: 1-Hill 28-141, 20-Ekpre-Olomu 4-16, 15-Madlock 3-9, 40-Tavake 5-7, 6-Devine 2-4, 10-Ernst 5-(-6)
F: 12-Kirchmeyer 11-23-1-136;
MSA: 10-Ernst 14-25-0-107; 6-Devine 8-11-0-66
F: 1-Zegers 3-55, 19-Guinn 3-36, 16-Ruggio 2-18, 87-Vandiver 1-17, 4-Sharp
1-7, 6-Domenick 1-3
MSA: 19-Walker 7-63, 88-Hughes 5-37, 15-Madlock 2-24, 89-Erevalo 2-20, 40-Tavake 2-6, 80-Bowie 1-8, 84-Lindsey 1-7, 32-O'Shields 1-3
F: 40-Paulesco 5-49.2 avg
MSA: 47-Stapp 5-40.2 avg
F: 23-Collins 1-10, 47-Welch 1-5
MSA: 2-Nembhard 2-35, 7-Moore 1-24
F: 4-Sharp 3-10
MSA: 7-Moore 1-17
Comb Punt Ret:
MSA: 7-Moore to 88-Hughes 1-43
MSA: 13-Settle 13-32
MSA: 79-Tafisi 2-11, 97-Scearce 1-12, 99-Santiago 1-8, 90-Davis 1-5
MSA: 14-Barajas (wide left)
Mt. SAC entered 4-0, #3 South, #5 JCGW; Fullerton entered 3-1, #11 South. Mt. SAC also had 3 TDs called back by penalties – a reception by Hughes, a reception by Hill, and the int return by Settle – and failed to score a point on any of the 3 drives. Paulesco had an 84-yard punt in the 4th quarter (remarkably, NOT a FC school record – someone named Bert Kidd had a 90-yarder in 1934). He also had a bone-jarring tackle on a punt return. Ernst started at QB for Mt. SAC; Devine entered for their last FG drive. Tafisi had 2 sacks (1 for a safety), a fumble recovery, 2 tackles for losses. Moore got 37 of the yards on the combined return before lateralling to Hughes for the last 6 yards. Fullerton kept its TD drive alive on a fake punt by Domenick, (ran for 4 yards and the 1st down).