Then, on Cerritos' possession and faced with second-and-goal from the five-yard line, sophomore quarterback Jeffrey Fischer (Lakewood HS) hit sophomore tight end Anthony Recinos (Norwalk HS) in the corner of the end zone for the game-winning touchdown to give the Falcons a 44-38 victory. Entering the game, the Mounties were ranked #1 in the nation, while Cerritos was #25. With the win, Cerritos (7-2 overall, 4-1 division) and Mt. San Antonio (8-1, 4-1) are tied for first place with El Camino College in the Central Conference with one game remaining. The Falcons will travel to El Camino next Saturday for a 6:00 p.m. game.
A win over the Warriors would give the Falcons at least a share of the conference championship and the top spot, while they will host a first-round playoff game. The eight teams that make the playoffs consist of the first and second place teams from the National Division and the two American Division conference champions and play for a shot at the state championship. A loss against El Camino could drop Cerritos into third place and hope for a non-playoff bowl game.
Cerritos was able to get to overtime after Mounties kicker Jacob Harfman missed a 19-yard field goal with 54 seconds left in regulation. Then, in the second overtime, Falcon wide receiver Joshua Robbins (La Mirada HS) pulled down a fantastic touchdown pass on third-and-12 in the back corner of the end zone with Dominique Gaisie hanging all over him. Robbins had to reach back over his head and came down with ball to temporarily put the team on top. The Falcons held the Mounties to a 20-yard Harfman field goal in the first overtime and then saw freshman kicker Pedro Puga (La Habra HS) connect on a 36-yarder to send the game to a second overtime.
For the ninth time in as many games, the Falcons scored on their opening drive of the game (eight touchdowns, one field goal), with freshman Michael Willie (Long Beach Wilson HS) pulling in a seven-yard pass from Fischer (15-for-29, 186 yards, 4 TD). But a key play in the game came early in the fourth quarter after Cerritos tied the game, 21-21 on a 1-yard run by sophomore fullback Junior Tivao (Paramount HS). On the third play after the score, freshman defensive tackle Simon Sauni (Lakewood HS) stripped Burton Iosefa at the Mountie 30-yard line with sophomore defensive end Ryan Davis (Artesia HS) recovering the ball. Four plays later and Tivao had his second 1-yard score and a 28-21 lead.
From the outset of the game, the Falcons were able to establish their running game and accumulated 229 yards on the ground on 47 carries. Leading the way was sophomore Duane Bowen (St. John Bosco HS), who powered his way to 99 yards, while freshman Tylik Carter (Long Beach Jordan HS) added 66 yards on 12 totes. The Cerritos offensive line did a masterful job of controlling the line of scrimmage, led by three freshmen and three sophomores, including Recinos. Sophomore center Adam Cox (Warren HS) and sophomore guard Joshua Tuuao (Long Beach Poly HS), along with freshmen Marco Saggese (Valley Christian HS), Jarrell Winston (Woodrow Wilson (D.C.) HS) and Ruben Mejia (St. John Bosco HS) allowed the Falcons to move the ball and the team responded by racking up 415 total yards.
Not to be outdone, a sure-handed defense limited the Mounties to a minimum of yards after a catch and after they crossed the line of scrimmage. Although Lamaison threw for 422 yards and four scores, only three plays went for over 20 yards. Sophomore Lorenzo Caldwell (Kaiser HS) was picked on most of the night, but kept his receiver in front of him and finished with 16 tackles (12 solo) and two pass breakups. Freshman linebacker David Flores (St. Paul HS) came on strong and added 10 stops, while cornerback LeQuan Lewis (Artesia HS/College of the Sequoias) added eight stops, with six being solo tackles. The team finished with six tackles for loss, with freshman linebacker Jack Francis (La Mirada HS) leading the way with 1 1/2, along with seven tackles.