The Cerritos College football team got a good look into the future last Saturday night in the 8th Annual Cerritos Strawberry Bowl. The Falcons, missing sophomore quarterback Mike Harrison (Mayfair) and sophomore center Lloyd Wilson (Granada Hills Kennedy), looked to younger players to step up and lead the team. Red-shirt freshman quarterback Glenn DeBerg (Cerritos), who had completed just 14-of-31 passes for 99 yards on the year, threw for 272 yards and three scores to help lead the Falcons to a 39-28 win over Allan Hancock. Cerritos came into the game with a 6-4 mark, while the Bulldogs were 7-3 and had one of the stingiest defenses in the state.
DeBerg, the nephew of former NFL quarterback Steve DeBerg, utilized freshman Randy Raphiel (Cerritos) in the first half, completing six passes for 92 yards. The duo opened the scoring for the team with a 27-yard touchdown in the first quarter. But it was the duo of DeBerg and sophomore Chris Chatman (Tustin) that helped the Falcons turn a 13-13 game at the half into a 32-13 game before the end of the third quarter.
On the second play from scrimmage in the second half, DeBerg found a streaking Chatman down the sideline and connected with him for a 59-yard scoring play. On the play, Bulldog cornerback James McCrimmon fell down, which allowed Chatman to run into the end zone untouched. After the Cerritos defense stiffened and shut down the Bulldogs on three plays, freshman running back Josh Herrera (La Habra) broke through a huge hole up the middle and maneuvered his way through the Allan Hancock defense. He reversed his field once and then outran the secondary before diving into the end zone for a 72-yard touchdown.
With a 26-13 lead, the Cerritos defense went to work and shut down the Bulldogs on all accounts. Quarterback Ray Medina, who had completed 6-of-9 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, started the second half 2-of-5 for 14 yards. In addition, the Hancock running game, which accounted for 42 yards in the first half, was unsuccessful coming out of the half. Faced with fourth and one at the Cerritos 42-yard line, Bulldog running back Robert Matheny was stuffed for no gain by sophomore linebacker John Lopez (St. Paul) and freshman defensive end Shalom Tuimalealiifani (Waipahu, HI).
The Falcons took advantage of the defensive stance, by striking quickly. DeBerg found Chatman once again, and the two hit on a 58-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. Once again, Chatman put a move on McCrimmon that forced him to lose his footing, and Chatman raced into the end zone unscathed.
In addition to the 272 passing yards by DeBerg, the Falcons also had two running backs rush for over 100 yards for the first time this season. Herrera finished the game with 125 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries, while freshman Jermaine Whiten added 114 yards on 17 carries. The 498 total yards for Cerritos was the most by the team all season.
The offensive line for the Falcons dominated the highly touted Bulldog defensive line. Cerritos rushed for 226 yards on the night and were led by sophomores Jake Chavira (Western), Jason Lehman (Ribet Academy), Ray Kelso (Temple City) and Tom Robinson (La Mirada), who filled in for Wilson at center. Additionally, freshmen Anthony Guerrero (Downey), Clint Dato (La Habra) and Richard Estrella (St. Paul) helped open holes all night. DeBerg did get hit numerous times, but it was after he was able to release the ball on passing plays and was only sacked twice.
There were several players deserving of Player of the Game honors, but DeBerg and Lopez (14 tackles, two tackles for loss) were named co-MVP's of the game. Chatman, who finished with five receptions for 135 yards and two scores, was a worthy candidate, as were the two running backs. On defense, sophomore defensive end Chris Eagen (Pacifica) had three quarterback sacks, while Allan Hancock wide receiver Jermaine Moore had five catches for 142 yards and three touchdowns. Medina also set a Strawberry Bowl record for four touchdown passes, and he finished the night 11-of-19 for 286 yards.
STRAWBERRY BOWL NOTES: There were three bowl game records either tied or broken in the game, all by Allan Hancock… Quarterback Ray Medina set a new record for most touchdowns thrown in a game (4), while his favorite target, Jermaine Moore, was involved in the other two records… Moore set a new record with his three touchdown receptions, while he tied a bowl game record with six kickoff returns… Cerritos' Josh Herrera tied a bowl game record with his two rushing touchdowns, while Randy Raphiel's seven receptions were one shy of tying the bowl game record… Finally, the 67 points scored were the second most ever, behind the 108 scored by Long Beach City and Los Angeles Valley in 1995…..