Breazeale Leads Mounties To Last-Second Win

Backup QB Dominic Breazeale came off the bench to lead host Mt. San Antonio (2-1) to the game-winning drive, and Brian Giambastiami kicked his third field goal of the day as time expired, giving the Mounties a dramatic 23-21 win over local rival Cerritos (1-2) Saturday afternoon at Hilmer Lodge Stadium.

With Mt. SAC trailing by a point and just over 5 minutes remaining, Breazeale replaced an injured Brian Hildebrand and completed 8 of 9 passes on the winning drive.  The 6-7, 250-pound sophomore from Alhambra came into the game under difficult circumstances, with his team facing a 2nd and 19 at its own 11, but passed for 65 yards on the drive.  And finally, as the Mounties faced 4th and inches just outside the Cerritos 15, Mt. SAC called timeout with just 3 seconds left on the clock.  After the kicking team came onto the field, Cerritos then called two consecutive timeouts in an effort to ice Giambastiami, but the talented sophomore kicker nailed the winning kick as the final gun sounded.

It was a hard-fought game throughout, and Cerritos nearly clinched the win moments before Breazeale entered the game.  Dylan Campanale intercepted a Hildebrand pass and headed down the right sideline towards the end zone.  But just as he crossed the 5-yard line, Mt. SAC's Travis Lee came up behind him and knocked the ball loose, much as the Buffalo Bills' Don Beebe did to Leon Lett of the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XXVII.  As happened in the Super Bowl, the ball bounced into the end zone and out of bounds for a touchback, giving the ball back to Mt. San Antonio at its 20.  But when Cerritos DT Justin Vasquez sacked Hildebrand on the very next play, knocking the Oregon State bounceback QB out of the game, things looked bleak for Mt. SAC.  However, that's when Breazeale came to the Mounties' rescue.

When the game began, Cerritos struck first when 6-4 WR Anthony Oliver fought off a defender and grabbed the ball, and then sped 57 yards into the end zone for the game's first touchdown.  But Mt. SAC answered back late in the quarter with a 9-play drive that ended when Antonio Williams scored from the 1.  A key 8-yard run by Randall Brown on 4th and 1 at the Cerritos 36 kept the drive alive, and a 24-yard run by Lee on a reverse gave the Mounties 1st and goal.

The only scoring in the second quarter came on a 25-yard field goal by Giambastiami with 7 seconds left in the first half.  Otherwise, the defenses dominated the quarter as the teams combined for 5 punts.  A nice 14-yard punt return by Lee got the ball to the Cerritos 39, putting Mt. SAC into scoring position for the field goal.  That score gave the Mounties a 10-7 lead at intermission.

Cerritos began the second half with the ball, and converted a pair of 4th-down plays en route to a go-ahead touchdown.  On 4th and 4 at the Mt. SAC 34, QB Jeff Kline threw to Ricky Reyes for a 14-yard gain.  And on 4th and 1 at the 11, RB Jeron Johnson ran for 6 yards to give the Falcons a 1st and goal.  Following an off-sides penalty on Mt. SAC, Kline scored from 3 yards out to cap a 10-play drive, putting Cerritos ahead, 14-10.

After an exchange of punts, Mt. SAC got the ball back at its own 17.  In an effort to pick up the offense, the Mounties went to a no-huddle, 2-minute style attack.  The results were exactly what Mt. SAC hoped for, and the Mounties reclaimed the lead on a 6-yard TD run by Williams, his second score of the game.  A 47-yard pass from Hildebrand to Marc Ison got the ball to the Cerritos 5-yard line, and Williams scored 2 plays later.

After a Cerritos punt, Mt. SAC threatened to take control of the game and drove all the way to the Falcons' 4-yard line.  However, on 3rd and goal from the 4, Hildebrand scrambled from pressure and threw an off-balance pass that was intercepted by Cerritos' Jamario McClain in the end zone.  McClain returned the ball to the 10, and after three offensive plays netted just 4 yards, Cerritos had to punt again.  This time Mt. SAC moved to the Cerritos 27 on a 25-yard run by Brown before the drive stalled.  So on came Giambastiami, who kicked a 44-yard field goal that extended Mt. SAC's lead to 20-14 with 7:36 remaining.

Yet it was still a one-score game, and once Cerritos got the ball, they quickly drove down the field and took the lead.  Beginning from the 35 after the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, the Falcons needed just 5 plays to get into the end zone.  A 10-yard run by Jeron Johnson got the drive started, and a15-yard run by Rylon Thomas moved the ball into Mt. SAC territory.  Following a short gain on the next play, Mt. SAC was assessed a personal foul penalty, which moved the ball to the Mounties' 22-yard line.  Johnson was held to no gain on the next play, but then came a 22-yard TD pass from Kline to Greg Smith which tied the game at 20.  And when Sean Leistner converted the extra point, Cerritos had a 21-20 lead with 5:55 left.

When Mt. SAC got the ball back following a touchback on the ensuing kickoff, Hildebrand threw for 18 yards to Ison to move the ball to the 38.  However, that would be his last completion to a teammate on the day, as his next pass was intercepted by Campanale and he was knocked out of the game on the following play after being sacked.  However, that just set the stage for Breazeale to come off the bench and save the day for the Mounties.

For Mt. SAC, Brown led all rushers with 106 yards on 24 carries.  Ison had 5 catches for a game-high 101 yards, while Anthony Walker had a game-high 7 catches, good for 69 yards.  Hildebrand finished 12 of 25 for 148 yards but also threw 3 interceptions.  And Lee did a little bit of everything:  he gained 24 yards rushing on a reverse, he returned a kickoff 49 yards, he returned a punt 14 yards to set up a field goal, and he never quit on an interception return, making a play that ended up giving his team one last chance to win the game.  And thanks to Breazeale and Giambasatiami, that one last chance was all they needed.

It was a crushing loss for Cerritos, though Mt. SAC clearly had the better of the statistics.  Kline had a solid day at QB for the Falcons, completing 16 of 22 passes for 211 yards and 2 TDs.  And Smith had 6 catches for 89 yards and a score.  But the ground game generated just 68 yards on the day, and the Falcons managed just 14 first downs (compared to 22 for Mt. SAC).

Individual Statistics:

Rushing: MSA:  3-Brown 24-106, 26-Williams 16-51, 15-Hildebrand 8-33, 6-Lee 1-24, 8-Boyd 1-0 C:  3-J.Johnson 16-43, 24-Thomas 2-17, 2-Kline 7-8

Passing: MSA:  15-Hildebrand 12-25-3-148; 16-Breazeale 8-9-0-65 C:  2-Kline 16-22-1-211, 2 TDs

Receiving: MSA:  9-Walker 7-69, 81-Ison 5-101, 3-Brown 5-18, 1-Howard 2-11, 12-Jackson 1-14 C:  6-Smith 6-89, 19-Oliver 3-71, 17-Reyes 2-27, 3-J.Johnson 2-12, 24-Thomas 2-1, 7-Jer.Nutt 1-11

Int-Ret Yds: MSA:  11-Mimms 1-16 :  23-McClain 1-10, 44-Campanale 1-45, 50-Higgins 1-(-1)

Fum R-Ret Yds: one

Sacks-Yds: MSA:  56-Unga 2-10, 71-Le'au 1-8, 52-M.Vazquez 1-6 C:  53-Jas.Nutt 1-6, 57-J.Vasquez 1-9, 90-Slack 1-6

Punters: MSA:  46-Woidneck 4-51.3 avg C:  29-Leistner 5-35.0 avg; 2-Kline 1-40

Kick Ret: MSA:  27-Thomas 2-26, 6-Lee 1-49, 44-Bullock 1-21 C:  17-Reyes 1-14

Punt Ret: MSA:  6-Lee 1-14 C:  17-Reyes 1-2

Missed FG: none

Notes:  Both teams entered 1-1.  Campanale's interception came in 4th with Cerritos already ahead, 21-20.  On the return, just before he reached the end zone, Lee ran up from behind and knocked the ball out of his hands (a la Don Beebe vs. Leon Lett in Super Bowl XXVII) and over the sideline in the end zone for a touchback.  On the next play, Vasquez sacked Hildebrand and knocked him out of the game.  In came Breazeale, who led the Mounties to the game-winning FG as time expired.

Team Statistics: Mt. San Antonio Cerritos
First Downs 22 (13 run; 9 pass) 14 (5 run; 6 pass; 3 penalty)
Rushes – Yards 50-214 25-68
Passing Yards 213 211
Comp - Att – Int 20-34-3 16-22-1
Return Yards 126 70
Sacks – Yards 4-24 3-21
Fumbles – Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties – Yards 14-119 7-45
Time of Possession 34:34 25:26


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