US Bank Beach Bowl Preview

Riding a three-game winning streak, No. 11 Fullerton (6-4) plays No. 14 Glendale (6-4) in the 2001 US Bank Beach Bowl. Two weeks ago, Fullerton beat its cross-city rival Santa Ana, 24-7, while Glendale ended the regular season with a 20-17 loss against Moorpark.

It's Fullerton's passing-attack vs. Glendale's ground-game in Saturday's US
Bank Beach Bowl at Santa Monica.College.

The Vaqueros-->

at Santa Monica College
Dec. 1, 2001 o 1 p.m.

No. 11 Fullerton Hornets (6-4) vs. No. 14 Glendale Vaqueros (6-4)

Riding a three-game winning streak, No. 11 Fullerton (6-4) plays No. 14 Glendale (6-4) in the 2001 US Bank Beach Bowl. Two weeks ago, Fullerton beat its cross-city rival Santa Ana, 24-7, while Glendale ended the regular season with a 20-17 loss against Moorpark.

"We have two similar teams at 6-4, that are elated to be in a bowl game," said Fullerton Coach Gene Murphy. "Glendale has a great group of coaches, so we know they'll be prepared for us. They run the ball well, behind a solid offensive line. It's going to be a good game and an experience these players will never forget."

SERIES NOTES: The last meeting between Fullerton and Glendale came back on Sept. 19, 1987. The Hornets beat the visiting Vaqueros, 21-14, in front of 3,500 fans. Fullerton owns a 15-3-2 all-time series lead. Glendale's last win in the match-up was a 25-19 decision back in 1953. Most of the Fullerton-Glendale history was played between 1938 and 1947. During those nine seasons, the two schools met 10 times. In 1944 and 1945, the Hornets and Vaqueros played twice during each respective season.

ABOUT THE HORNETS: After six years of mediocrity, the Hornets (6-4) have
regained their winning ways and enter the US Bank Beach Bowl as Southern California's 11th-ranked team.

Coach Gene Murphy, in his ninth season at Fullerton, fields a big-play offense to go with an opportunistic defense.

The Hornets  -  ranked No. 23 in the state by the JC Athletic Bureau - boast 15 players who have earned All-Mission Conference honors this season, including six first-teamers.

On the heels of a three-game winning streak, Fullerton has outscored its opponents, 97-39.

Fullerton's offense is triggered by sophomore quarterback Brian Bartczak, who in the last three games, has completed 61-of-93 passes (65.5) for 845 yards and 10 TDs ant 3 INTs.

Sophomore wide receivers Terrance Moore and Jeff Weber formed the Mission Conference's top tandem when it came to making big plays.

Moore, a unanimous first-team selection, became the second Hornet in as many
years to lead the MC in yards per catch (21.6).

Weber, a second-team selection, ranked second in division scoring (8 TDs), third in receptions (48) and fourth in yards (618).

Fullerton's running game is mostly split by two freshmen: tailback Marquis Colvin (364 yds) and fullback Rashaad Bell (7 TDs, 4.6 ypc).

FC's revamped defense is the product of new coordinator Casey Mazzotta.

In 2000 FC ranked 10th out of 12 conference teams in total defense (380.6 ypg) and allowed 30.4 points per game.

This season, the Hornets finished 5th in total D (344.9 ypc) and allowed just 20.7 points per game - third-best in the entire Mission Conference.

The Hornets have 19 interceptions (second-most in the MC) and 28 sacks on the year.

Over the last three games, FC's defense has held its opponents to just 39 points - only 13 allowed in the first half.

"Our philosophy is to attack on every snap," says Mazzotta, one of the youngest coordinators in the nation, at age 31.

"We pride ourselves on making tackles and creating turnovers."

The secondary is led by all-conference sophomores: strong safety Deonta Birdsong (5 INTs);  free safety Benny Mastropaolo (4 INTs); and cornerbacks Steve Harris, Thaddeus Lewis and Garrett Myklak.

The linebackers are, again, led by sophomores:  Jeremy Ellis and twin brother Joey Ellis - another first-team selection.

The MVP of the group though, may be freshman outside backer Adam Lancisero.

Despite his 5-9, 193-pound frame, Lancisero packs a punch - just ask opponents.

The former-high school tailback leads the team with 86 tackles (47 solo) and 11 tackles for loss. He also has four sacks, three forced fumbles and three recoveries.

Up front, the Hornets are led by 6-6, 290-pound end James Benton - a third-team JC Grid-Wire All-American - who is rated as the 13th best junior college recruit in America (out of 101) by

Benton has five sacks on the year and a conference-leading five blocked kicks.

On his opposite side, roams freshman Ben Wilson (6-4, 230).

All Wilson did in his first season, is lead the team with eight sacks and earn all-conference honors.

The middle of the line is plugged by freshmen John Guydon (6-2, 260),  Danny
Lopez (6-1, 245) and Nick Garcia (6-4, 255).

ABOUT GLENDALE: The Vaqueros finished the year 6-4 overall, their first winning season since 1993, and finished second in the Western State Conference Mountain Division at 5-2 and a No. 14 ranking in Southern California.

Glendale comes into the game against Fullerton with a two-game losing streak, 21-16 losses to Bakersfield and a 20-17 loss to Moorpark on Nov. 17 in a game that could have tied Glendale with Bakersfield for the WSC Mountain Division title.

The key to the Vaqueros success this year has been the ground game, which ranked No. 2 in the WSC with an average of 212 yards a game.

Freshman running back Kartrell Clayton was the WSC's top rusher with 915 yards on 194 carries and 10 touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Joe Kroells completed 105 of 194 passes for 1,247 yards and seven touchdowns.

Sophomore Mike Bautista was the leading receiver with 27 catches for 355 yards and two scores. Clayton and Kroells were both all-WSC first-team selections.

Defensively, Glendale ranked No.10 in the conference allowing 300 yards a game and they will be seriously tested by the Hornets offense, which averages 336.5 yards, a game and ranked No. 5 in the Mission Conference in passing with 238.8 yards a game.

Linebacker Patrick Pierre-Louis leads Glendale with 43 solo tackles and was all-WSC first-team. Defensive back Randy Beckman, with 42 solo tackles and three interceptions and Carlos Coronado, 29 solo tackles and 11 QB sacks, were both all-WSC second-team choices.

HANK IVES' PREDICTION: Fullerton 38, Glendale 21

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