El Camino Comes Back to Beat Desert

James Coy passed for 368 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Michael Harris blocked a punt and recovered it for a touchdown as El Camino overcame a stumbling start and finishing the game with 41 unanswered points en route to a 41-13 win over visiting College of the Desert Saturday night in Torrance. 

Kembrell Thompkins was Coy’s favorite target, as the 6-3 receiver hauled in 8 passes for 141 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Warriors.

After it was all over, it was a thoroughly impressive victory for El Camino.  The offense generated over 400 yards of offense and 24 first downs.  And even though the ground game managed just 47 net yards for the night, two Warrior running backs scored touchdowns and the offense managed to control the ball in the second half when El Camino had the lead.  The defense shut out Desert for the final three quarters and allowed just 257 total yards on the night.  And the special teams came through with a pair of field goals as well as the blocked punt that turned into a touchdown for the Warriors.

Early on, it looked like Desert might be an upset threat, jumping out to a 13-0 lead in the first 12 minutes.  After El Camino took the opening kickoff and drove into Roadrunner territory, the Desert defense got tough, turning the Warriors away without any points.  On 4th and 4 from the 38, El Camino quarterback James Coy dropped back to pass.  But before he could throw the ball, Chris Clady sacked him for a 3-yard loss, turning the ball over on downs to Desert at the 41.

Desert then drove to the Warrior 21, where it faced a 4th and 11.  With quarterback/kicker Thomas DeMarco lining up as kicker, the Roadrunners ran a fake field goal play, with holder Komani Harper flipping the ball to DeMarco, who threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Spenser Dayton.  That gave Desert a 6-0 lead.

Moments later, Desert got the ball back when, on El Camino’s next play from scrimmage, Isaac Williams was cornered in the backfield for a big loss by linebacker Mathias Brown.  But Brown was not content just to make the tackle; he also stripped the ball away, and Clady recovered for the Roadrunners at the El Camino 22.  Five plays later, Leonard Mason followed an excellent lead block by fullback Matt Wright and scored from 5 yards out to give Desert a 13-0 lead just over 12 minutes into the game.

After that, however, the game belonged to El Camino.  On the ensuing kickoff, Sione Tuli caught the ball at his own 6 and returned it 40 yards before DeMarco, who had kicked off, made the touchdown-saving tackle.  That just delayed things a bit though, as just two plays later Coy threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Thompkins, who broke a pair of tackles and dove into the corner of the end zone, cutting the Roadrunner lead to 13-7.

After a Roadrunner punt, El Camino crept a bit closer when Brian Blumberg kicked a 39-yard field goal to make it 13-10.  Then Desert drove to the Warrior 24 but faced a 4th and 7; DeMarco’s pass to Colton Quinabo on 4th down gained just 3 yards, turning the ball over on downs.  On the next play, Coy threw to Isaac Williams for a 54-yard pass play, with Earl Brooks making a saving tackle for Desert at the Roadrunner 25.  But again that just delayed things as six plays later Coy again threw to Thompkins, this time for a 12-yard touchdown pass that gave El Camino a 17-13 lead.

El Camino increased its lead late in the half, thanks to the defense and a big play from the special teams.  After gaining just one first down, Desert faced a 4th down at its own 22 and lined up to punt.  But DeMarco never got the kick away.  Michael Harris, who was already having a superb night as a cornerback, broke into the Desert backfield and blocked DeMarco’s punt.  As the ball bounced into the end zone, Harris fell on the ball for a touchdown, making it 24-13 with 1:24 left in the half.

El Camino had a chance to increase its lead further before the break when Terrance Williams intercepted a DeMarco pass near midfield and returned it 25 yards to the Roadrunner 26.  The Warriors got as far as the Roadrunner 5, but were moved back to the 20 on a late hit personal foul penalty, and had to settle for a field goal try in the final seconds.  But Blumberg’s attempt never got through; a low snap resulted in a low kick, and Desert’s Stefaun Dorsey blocked the kick, keeping the score 24-13 at halftime.

Desert took the second half kickoff and drove into El Camino territory, but came away empty when DeMarco’s pass on 4th and 5 at the 35 fell incomplete.  El Camino then moved quickly back into Roadrunner territory, with Coy throwing to William Bullock for 20 yards and to Tuli for 16 more.  That drive led to a 44-yard field goal by Blumberg that made it 27-13 midway through the third quarter.

And El Camino got the ball back moments later when a DeMarco pass went off the fingertips of a disbelieving Dayton and into the hands of Eric Taylor, who dove to the turf to make the catch at the Desert 42.  On the next play, El Camino got a big play from the offense when Coy threw to Thompkins for 31 yards to the Desert 11.  Three plays after that, Brooks scored from a yard out to make it 34-13.

El Camino got the final score of the game when Nathan Areyan capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive with a 2-yard scoring run with 3:39 left.  Even more important than the score itself was that the drive chewed up 8:16 off the game clock.  That was part of a second half of El Camino dominating the time of possession; the Warriors held the ball for 19:18 of the second half and 10:54 of the final quarter. 

The win improves El Camino’s record to 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the National Division’s Central Conference.  That sets up the highly-anticipated matchup against conference arch-rival Mt. SAC, who entered the weekend ranked #1 in the nation by JC Grid-Wire, on November 1st following El Camino’s bye week. 

Desert falls to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the conference.

El Camino Warriors 41
College of the Desert Roadrunners 13

Saturday, October 18, 2008 - 6 pm – Murdock Stadium – Torrance
National Division– Central Conference

1st Quarter:    
D – Dayton 21 yd pass from DeMarco (kick wide left) 6:37 (0-6)
D – Mason 5 yd run (Wisdom kick) 3:32 (0-13)
EC – Thompkins 49 yd pass from Coy (Blumberg kick) 2:02 (7-13)

2nd Quarter:   
EC – FG Blumberg 39 yds 10:33 (10-13)
EC – Thompkins 12 yd pass from Coy (Blumberg kick) 2:39 (17-13)
EC – M.Harris recovered blocked punt in end zone (Blumberg kick) 1:24 (24-13)

3rd Quarter:   
EC – FG Blumberg 44 yds 8:13 (27-13)
EC – Brooks 1 yd run (Blumberg kick) 5:59 (34-13)

4th Quarter:    
EC – Areyan 2 yd run (Blumberg kick) 3:39 (41-13)

Team Statistics:
First Downs:  El Camino 24 (4 rush, 18 pass, 2 penalty), Desert 17 (8 rush, 7 pass, 2 penalty)
Rushes-Yds:  El Camino 33-47, Desert 37-144
Passing Yds:  El Camino 368, Desert 113
Comp-Att-Int:  El Camino 24-34-0, Desert 11-30-2
Return Yds:  El Camino 130, Desert 133
Sacks-Yds:  El Camino 2-3, Desert 2-7
Fumbles-Lost:  El Camino 1-1, Desert 1-1
Penalties-Yds:  El Camino 32:35, Desert 27:25
Individual Statistics:
Rushing:  El Camino 9-Easterling 9-19, 33-Areyan 4-15, 22-Hokama 6-11, 26-I.Williams 5-7, 29-R.Smith 1-1, 35-Sekona 1-1, 20-Brooks 3-1, 11-Coy 4-(-8); Desert 22-Mason 26-99, 7-DeMarco 8-31, 3-Hurst 2-13, 34-Williams 1-1
Passing:   El Camino 11-Coy 24-34-0-368, 2 TDs; Desert 7-DeMarco 11-30-2-113, 1 TD
Receiving:   El Camino 2-Thompkins 8-141, 10-Tuli 5-47, 1-Bullock 4-53, 26-I.Williams 3-62, 17-Van Amersfort 2-22, 39-Olawale 1-33, 4-Adams 1-10; Desert 81-Mays 3-34, 13-Lee 3-31, 17-Quinabo 3-14, 85-Dayton 2-34
Interceptions-Ret Yds:  El Camino 31-T.Williams 1-25, 37-Taylor 1-0; Desert none
Fumble Recoveries:  El Camino 90-Green; Desert 99-Clady
Sacks-Yds:  El Camino 97-High 1-2, 91-Stewart 1-1; Desert 32-Luke 1-4, 99-Clady 1-3
Punters:   El Camino none; Desert 7-DeMarco 2-34.5 avg + 1 blk
Kick Returns:  El Camino 10-Tuli 3-83; Desert 34-Williams 5-106, 13-Lee 1-8
Punt Returns:  El Camino 23-M.Harris 1-22; Desert none
Miscellaneous Returns:  El Camino none; Desert 8-Dunlap 1-19 (blk FGA)
Missed FG:  El Camino 58-Blumberg 37 yds (blocked), 38 yds (wide left)
Notes:  El Camino entered 6-0 overall, 2-0 in conference, ranked #3 in South (COA) and #4 in the nation (JC Grid-Wire).  Desert entered 5-1 overall, 2-0 in conference, #5 in South and #19 in the nation.  COD’s 1st TD came on a fake field goal play.  Moments later 31-Brown stripped the ball from I.Williams and Clady recovered, setting up COD’s 2nd TD.  But then it was all El Camino.  M.Harris blocked the punt he also recovered for his TD.  Brooks’ TD came after Taylor’s interception, which bounced off Dayton’s hands.  Areyan’s TD capped a 13-play drive that chewed up 8:16 and clinched the win for El Camino.

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