CERRITOS VICTIMIZED BY THE BIG PLAY; LOSE, 28-24
After taking advantage of a big play on the opening kickoff, the Cerritos College football team was victimized by big offensive plays from Mt. San Antonio. After allowing six passing plays of over 25 yards, the Falcons came up short in a 28-24 Mission Conference Northern Division game to drop to 5-2 overall and 1-1 in divisional play. Overshadowed in the loss was the school-record passing performance of sophomore quarterback Mike Harrison (Mayfair), who completed 28-of-60 passes, both new records. Mixed into the 60 passes were three interceptions, which doubled his season total.
With 3:51 left in the game, freshman kicker Adam Sonntag (Long Beach Millikan) booted a 28-yard field goal to give the Falcons a 24-21 lead. However, the Mounties put together a 76-yard drive in six plays and scored a touchdown with 1:19 to score the game-winning points. Mixed into their final drive, quarterback Greg Valenzuela (12-for-31, 292 yards, 4 TD's) completed a 13-yard pass to open the drive and followed that with a 44-yard strike, which placed the ball at the Falcon 19-yard line. After an incompletion, Cerritos was called for pass interference, and Mt. SAC had the ball at the nine-yard line. With third-and goal at the three, Valenzuela tossed a soft pass to tight end Richard Carrillo, who rolled into the end zone for the score.
This week, the Falcons will look to get back on the winning track when they host cross-town rival Long Beach City on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. The Vikings (5-2, 2-0) are coming off a 26-22 win over El Camino and have now won three in a row after losing two consecutive games.
On the game's opening kickoff, Mt. San Antonio's DeShaun McCullaugh fumbled the ball away with freshman Ethan Allen (Cerritos) recovering at the Mountie 30-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Harrison connected with sophomore wide receiver Chris Chatman (Tustin) for a touchdown, and the Falcons led, 7-0 just 58 seconds into the game.
The Cerritos defense appeared to confuse the Mounties in their attempt to move the ball on the ground. The end result was 66 yards on 25 carries for the day for Mt. San Antonio. However, Mt. SAC was able to move the ball through the air and ate up yards in big chunks. But the best offense for Mt. San Antonio was three Falcon turnovers and their inability to take advantage of good field position in the first half.
After falling behind 14-7 at halftime, the Falcons drove deep into Mt. SAC territory until Harrison was intercepted in the end zone. On the drive, Harrison threw on 12 of the 13-plays. After the defense held Mt. SAC on three plays, sophomore Philip Perry (Lakewood) blocked Dominic Milano's punt attempt and sophomore Jermaine Lee (Ramapo, NY) picked up the ball and went seven yards for a game-tying touchdown.
But on the next drive, Valenzuela took advantage of an aggressive Falcon secondary and connected with James Carter for a 44-yard touchdown play. On the play, freshman free safety Doug Stewart (Long Beach Millikan) attempted to go after the ball for an interception, but came up short and the play went for the score.
In the fourth quarter, sophomore free safety Charles Allgood (Washington) stepped in front of a Valenzuela pass at the Cerritos 15-yard line and returned it 45 yards to the Mountie 40-yard line. Harrison completed three passes to three different receivers on the ensuing drive, which was culminated by a one-yard plunge by freshman Jermaine Whiten (Cerritos). Harrison found Chatman for 18 yards to put the ball at the three yard line, which set up the score.
For the second straight game, the Falcon running game stalled, as they rushed for only 44 yards on 26 carries. Freshman Josh Herrera (La Habra) led the team with 38 yards, while Whiten added 36 yards. The protection for Harrison failed several times, as he was sacked four times.
Through the air, Chatman led all receivers with eight catches for 142 yards and a score, while Whiten brought in five passes. Harrison's 28 completions breaks the record of 24 set by Ryan Matthews against Golden West in 1998. The 60 attempts eclipses the old mark of 44, set by Mike Ernst against Santa Monica in 1968.
Sophomore defensive end Chris Eagen (Pacifica) had another stellar game, leading the team with eight tackles (six solo), to go along with three tackles for loss, three quarterback hurries and one sack. Lee, also played very well, chipping in with seven stops and two hurries, while the linebacking trio of Perry, Marcus Miller (Artesia) and Justin Burks (Bellflower) collected six tackle apiece. The team played without sophomore linebacker Rajaee Barnett (Downey), the team's leading tackler.