It was a cold and windy night in the Inland Empire, and that actually ended up helping the visitors, who had the wind at their backs in the pivotal fourth quarter. That resulted in three very short punts, the second of which led to a key touchdown and the last of which led to the clinching field goal that made it 24-13 with 3:23 left in the game.
Until that final wind-blown quarter, Chaffey had given the top-ranked Warriors all they could handle. The Panthers held a 13-7 halftime lead after Michael Leonard threw for one touchdown and ran for another in the first half. And even after El Camino went ahead in the third quarter, it remained a one-point game until Simms threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Joe Don Duncan with 7:27 left in the fourth quarter.
El Camino scored the first touchdown of the day when Simms threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Tony Sekona midway through the first quarter to cap an 8-play, 68-yard drive that began when Daniel Stewart recovered a Leonard fumble at the El Camino 27. Until then, the Panthers had moved into Warrior territory and seemed on the verge of taking an early lead.
And even after falling behind, the underdog Panthers rallied to take a lead. Leonard threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Caldwell late in the first quarter to cap a 7-play, 56-yard drive and pull Chaffey even at7-7. Then, after an El Camino punt, Chaffey put together an 11-play, 77-yard drive that chewed up more than six minutes off the clock and ended with Leonard scoring on a 5-yard run to make it 13-7.
Chaffey missed the extra point after the second touchdown, keeping the score 13-7 at halftime, and that ended up allowing El Camino to take the lead in the third quarter. Chaffey took the kickoff to begin the second half, but had to punt after three plays. Andre Buford of El Camino took the kick and returned it some 52 yards to the Panther 21 to set up the go-ahead touchdown. A 20-yard pass from Simms to Keenan Smith got the Warriors to the 1, and two plays later Simms scored on a quarterback sneak to make it 13-13. Then Stephen Locke kicked the extra point to give El Camino a 14-13 lead.
That's where the score remained entering the fourth quarter. Chaffey had driven to the El Camino 24 midway through the third quarter, but came away empty when Jason Levy's 41-yard field goal attempt was wide left.
By this time the wind had really picked up, and the weather strongly favored the team that had the wind at its back. And in the fourth quarter, the team with the wind at its back was El Camino. El Camino forced a Chaffey punt, and into the wind Casey Ruth could manage just a 18-yard punt. The Warriors took over at the Chaffey 41 and three plays later reached the 12, but then three consecutive offensive penalties pushed them back to the 32 and a 13-yard sack by Danny Reyes pushed them back even further, forcing an El Camino punt.
But the next time El Camino got the ball, the Warriors scored a touchdown. The Warrior defense again forced a punt, and Ruth's punt again floundered in the wind, traveling just 15 yards to the Panther 25. Three plays - and a personal foul penalty against Chaffey - later, Simms threw the 5-yard touchdown pass to Duncan to make it 21-13 with 7:27 left in the game.
Chaffey returned the ensuing kickoff to the Panther 33, but again the El Camino defense forced a punt. This time, Ruth managed a 31-yard punt, but that came only by kicking a low line drive through the wind. And that played into the hands of Joshua Brinson, who took the ball at his 42 and returned it some 27 yards to the Chaffey 31. Four plays later, Locke booted the game-clinching field goal, making it 24-13 with 3:23 left.
Though trailing by two scores, Chaffey tried one last drive, but turned the ball over on downs in the final seconds after reaching the El Camino 28.
For El Camino, Simms completed 15 of 22 passes for 142 yards and 2 TDs, and also ran for the Warriors' other score. Ken Ashley led the Warriors with 45 yards rushing on 9 carries. Sione Tuli led El Camino receivers with 5 catches for 42 yards. Ansley Jean-Jacques led the El Camino defense, registering three of the Warriors' four quarterback sacks on the night. And both Buford and Brinson stood out on kick returns, setting up two key scores in the second half.
For Chaffey, Leonard was 17 for 25 passing for 187 yards and a TD, and also rushed for a game-high 46 yards on 12 carries (he had 68 yards on 8 carries if the sacks are subtracted out). Caldwell led all receivers with 6 catches for 65 yards, and had a TD. The Chaffey defense equaled El Camino in registering four quarterback sacks on the night, and held the Warriors to just 227 yards of offense and 13 first downs.
The win improves El Camino's record to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference entering next week's road game against Desert. Chaffey falls to 2-4 overall and 0-2 in the conference and will host Citrus in two weeks after a bye next Saturday.
El Camino Warriors 24
Chaffey Panthers 13
Saturday, October 10, 2009 - 6 pm - Grigsby Field - Rancho Cucamonga
National Division - Central Conference
EC - Sekona 5 yd pass from Simms (Locke kick) 6:18 (7-0)
C - Caldwell 23 yd pass from Leonard (Layne kick) 1:09 (7-7)
C - Leonard 5 yd run (kick wide right) 8:50 (7-13)
EC - Simms 1 yd run (Locke kick) 11:58 (14-13)
EC - Duncan 5 yd pass from Simms (Locke kick) 7:27 (21-13)
EC - FG Locke 41 yds 3:23 (24-13)
Team Statistics: First Downs: Chaffey 16 (5 rush, 10 pass, 1 penalty), El Camino 13 (4 rush, 8 pass, 1 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Chaffey 34-88, El Camino 29-77
Passing Yds: Chaffey 196, El Camino 150
Comp-Att-Int: Chaffey 20-30-0, El Camino 16-24-1
Return Yds: Chaffey 138, El Camino 102
Sacks-Yds: Chaffey 4-25, El Camino 4-22
Fumbles-Lost: Chaffey 1-1, El Camino 1-0
Penalties-Yds: Chaffey 8-56, El Camino 12-81
Time of Possession: Chaffey 31:26, El Camino 28:34
Rushing: Chaffey 10-Leonard12-46, 26-Rover 8-28, 21-Smith-Guise 12-15, 11-Springer 2-(-1); El Camino 4-Ashley 9-45, 25-Gaines 4-28, 20-Tucker-Ratliff 5-20, 9-Sekona 3-9, 24-Rose 1-(-3), 2-Simms 6-(-21), team 1-(-1)
Passing: Chaffey 10-Leonard 17-25-0-187, 1 TD; 11-Springer 3-4-0-9; team 0-1-0-0; El Camino 2-M.Simms 15-22-0-142, 2 TDs; 12-Napoleon 1-2-1-8
Receiving: Chaffey 18-Caldwell 6-65, 19-Tolbert 4-55, 1-Williams 4-29, 21-Smith-Guise 2-31, 5-D.Wilson 2-(-1), 3-Hutchinson 1-13, 83-Rivas 1-4; El Camino 10-Tuli 5-42, 83-Brinson 3-55, 7-K.Smith 2-23, 1-Thompkins 2-22, 9-Sekona 2-7, 88-Duncan 1-5, 13-E.Stewart 1-(-4)
Interceptions-Ret Yds: Chaffey 20-Stafford 1-0; El Camino none
Sacks: Chaffey 52-Kelley, 55-Reyes, 99-Gopie, 17-Moody 1/2, 71-Austin 1/2; El Camino 94-Jean-Jacques 3, 98-Patterson
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: Chaffey none; El Camino 8-D.Stewart 1-0
Punters: Chaffey 37-Ruth 5-27.4 avg; El Camino 61-Gravett 5-42.4 avg
Kick Returns: Chaffey 23-Clemons 3-107, 40-Ajayi 1-31; El Camino 80-Buford 1-23
Punt Returns: Chaffey none; El Camino 80-Buford 1-52, 83-Brinson 1-27
Missed FG: Chaffey 14-Levy 41 yds (wide left); El Camino none
Notes: El Camino entered #1 in South and #2 in nation (JC Grid-Wire) and improves to 6-0 overall, 2-0 in National-Central. Chaffey entered #18 in South and falls to 2-4 overall and 0-2 in National-Central. Simms started for El Camino and played all but one series; Leonard started and played most of the time for Chaffey though Springer also saw extensive action. El Camino's 1st TD came after D.Stewart's recovery of a Leonard fumble. El Camino's 2nd TD came after Buford's punt return. The wind (blowing west-to-east) really picked up late, forcing Ruth into punts of 18 and 15 yards into the wind in the 4th quarter. Then he finally got away a better punt (31 yds) and Brinson returned it 27 yards to the 31, setting up the clinching FG.