Lancer Iosefa scored a pair of touchdowns on runs, and Kerel James scored a pair of touchdowns on returns on defense as the Mt. SAC stayed unbeaten in the rugged National Division Northern Conference.
The game was played on Halloween night, which was fitting for El Camino because the first few minutes of the game were like a horror movie. Mt. SAC punted after starting the game by receiving the opening kickoff, but El Camino's Andre Buford muffed the punt and Thomas Ilae recovered for Mt. SAC at the Warrior 9. Two plays later, Bryce McBride scored on a 6-yard run to give Mt. SAC a 7-0 lead just 2:37 into the game.
When the Warriors got the ball on offense, three plays on offense lost three yards, and El Camino lined up in punt formation. But the snap was high over punter Troy Gravett's head, and Dylan Matsuda recovered for the Mounties at the Warrior 6. On the next play, Iosefa scored to make it 14-0 Mounties just 4:44 into the game.
El Camino spent the rest of the game trying to dig itself out of the 14-0 hole, but never quite made it. Each time the Warriors scored to cut into the deficit, Mt. SAC answered to pull away again. El Camino got within 9 points after scoring its final touchdown of the game, but a missed 2-point conversion try and James' second touchdown of the night on an interception return finally clinched the game for Mt. San Antonio.
After those early Mt. SAC touchdowns, neither team scored until late in the half when El Camino got an 80-yard touchdown pass from Matt Simms to Jamize Olawale, who had gotten behind the defensive coverage. That made it 14-7 with 3:50 left in the first half. But that left enough time for Mt. SAC to put together an 8-play drive, covering 55 yards after Tevita Palu returned the ensuing kickoff 23 yards to the Mounties' 45. Iosefa scored his second touchdown of the night on a 9-yard run with 26 seconds left in the half to make it 21-7 at the break.
When the second half began, El Camino took the kickoff and drove far enough to set up a 40-yard field goal by Stephen Locke. That came after a magnificent play by Kembrell Thompkins, who screened defender Arness Ikner away from what appeared to be a sure interception and might have been a Pick Six given the angle of the pass towards the right sideline. The field goal made it 21-10. But again, Mt. SAC scored next, pushing the lead to 28-10 when Matt Faulkner threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Ahmere Owens to cap a 9-play, 68-yard drive with 4:32 left in the quarter.
El Camino crept within 10 points at 28-18 when Simms threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Thompkins, who fought off Ikner for the catch in the end zone. That came three plays after Ken McRoyal, who was a visible presence on defense for El Camino all night, wrestled the ball away from a receiver for an interception. Ken Ashley ran the ball into the end zone for the two-point conversion to make it a 10-point game. And the Warriors got the ball back moments later when the El Camino defense forced Mt. SAC to punt and Gravett's kick went just 12 yards.
But two plays later, Simms missed on an attempted handoff, and linebacker Kerel James picked up the ball for Mt. SAC. He not only recovered the fumble, but carried it 33 yards into the end zone for a touchdown on the final play of the quarter that made it 35-18.
El Camino got a little closer early in the fourth quarter on a safety. Mt. SAC lined up to punt the ball away from its own 10, but the snap was low and bounced past punter Ian Campbell. The ball went into the end zone, but Campbell managed to recover the loose ball. He was tackled immediately by El Camino's Mike Harris for the safety, which made it 35-20 with 12:22 left.
Buford returned the free kick to the Warrior 38, and El Camino then got within 9 points when Ashley capped a 6-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown run that made it 35-26 with 9:24 left. Curiously, the Warriors attempted a 2-point conversion (a one-point kick would have made it a one-score game) and that strategy failed when Simms' fade pass to Keenan Smith went out of bounds. That left it a 9-point game.
Mt. SAC ran just over four minutes off the clock, but then had to punt after a sack by El Camino's Ansley Jean-Jacques. But Campbell kicked the ball perfectly. It bounced inside the 5, and an acrobatic play by Dalen Broussard kept it out of the end zone, downing it at the 3 with 5:17 left.
Moments later, Simms, passing from his own end zone, threw an interception to James, who returned it 17 yards for his second touchdown of the night. That made it 42-26 with 5:05 left.
If James didn't clinch the win with that interception, he clinched it with his next interception just over two minutes later. El Camino drove into Mt. SAC territory until James intercepted another Simms pass with just over three minutes left, finally ending any doubt about the game's outcome.
For Mt. SAC, the offense generated just 270 yards and 14 first downs, but most importantly had just one turnover. Iosefa had 94 yards rushing and McBride had 65. Faulkner did a nice job of game management, completing 13 of 20 passes for 143 yards, one interception and one touchdown. Jesse Canada led Mt. SAC receivers with 3 catches for 57 yards. And of course, the hero of the defense was James, who had two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, and a fumble recovery, also returned for a score.
For El Camino, Simms completed 16 of 37 passes for 239 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Ashley led Warrior rushers with 79 yards on 12 carries, and had one touchdown and also the 2-point conversion. Thompkins led all receivers with 6 catches, good for 73 yards and a TD.
With the win, Mt. SAC stays unbeaten in National-Central play heading into next week's showdown against local rival Cerritos. JCFootball.com will be there for that one in Walnut. El Camino falls to 7-1 overall and 3-1 in conference play.
Mt. San Antonio Mounties 42
El Camino Warriors 26
Saturday, October 31, 2009 - 6 pm - Murdock Stadium - Torrance
National Division - Central Conference
M - McBride 6 yd run (Brown kick) 12:23 (7-0)
M - L.Iosefa 6 yd run (Brown kick) 10:16 (14-0)
E - Olawale 80 yd pass from Simms (Locke kick) 3:50 (14-7)
M - L.Iosefa 9 yd run (Brown kick) 0:26 (21-7)
E - FG Locke 40 yds 9:42 (21-10)
M - Owens 16 yd pass from Faulkner (Brown kick) 4:32 (28-10)
E - Thompkins 27 yd pass from Simms (Ashley run) 2:04 (28-18)
M - James 33 yd fumble return (Brown kick) 0:00 (35-18)
E - Safety - Campbell tackled in end zone by M. Harris 12:22 (35-20)
E - Ashley 2 yd run (pass failed) 9:24 (35-26)
M - James 17 yd interception return (Brown kick) 5:05 (42-26)
Team Statistics: First Downs: El Camino 21 (10 rush, 8 pass, 3 penalty), Mt. SAC 14 (6 rush, 7 pass, 1 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: El Camino 29-99, Mt. SAC 41-127
Passing Yds: El Camino 239, Mt. SAC 143
Comp-Att-Int: El Camino 16-37-2, Mt. SAC 13-20-1
Return Yds: El Camino 155, Mt. SAC 239
Sacks-Yds: El Camino 1-8, Mt. SAC 1-15
Fumbles-Lost: El Camino 5-3, Mt. SAC 1-0
Penalties-Yds: El Camino 10-56, Mt. SAC 13-88
Time of Possession: El Camino 27:19, Mt. SAC 32:41
Rushing: El Camino 4-Ashley 12-79, 20-Tucker-Ratliff 4-13, 25-Gaines 3-10, 2-Simms 6-7, 30-Wolfgramm 1-7, 9-Sekona 1-4, 10-Tuli 1-0, team 1-(-21); Mt. SAC 28-L.Iosefa 23-94, 3-McBride 15-65, 17-Faulkner 1-(-8), 22-Owens 1-(-14), team 1-(-10)
Passing: El Camino 2-M.Simms 16-37-2-239, 2 TDs; Mt. SAC 17-Faulkner 13-20-1-143, 1 TD
Receiving: El Camino 1-Thompkins 6-73, 20-Tucker-Ratliff 3-31, 85-Olawale 2-89, 80-Buford 2-32, 7-K.Smith 2-18, 9-Sekona 1-(-4); Mt. SAC 4-Canada 3-57, 81-Brun 2-12, 28-L.Iosefa 2-10, 18-Arendse 1-24, 22-Owens 1-16, 5-Thomas 1-12, 83-Iaea 1-6, 85-Parham 1-5, 3-McBride 1-1
Interceptions-Ret Yds: El Camino 3-McRoyal 1-9; Mt. SAC 44-James 2-54
Sacks-Yds: El Camino 94-Jean-Jacques 1-8; Mt. SAC 11-Irvin 1-15
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: El Camino none; Mt. SAC 44-James 1-33, 37-Matsuda 1-0, 41-Ilae 1-0
Punters: El Camino 61-Gravett 5-31.6 avg; Mt. SAC 46-Campbell 6-35.7 avg
Kick Returns: El Camino 80-Buford 5-126, 9-Sekona 1-12; Mt. SAC 86-Torres-Keohoka 4-123, 48-Palu 1-23
Punt Returns: El Camino 80-Buford 3-8; Mt. SAC 22-Owens 2-7
Missed FG: none
Notes: El Camino entered 7-0 overall, 3-0 in National-Central, ranked #1 in South and #4 in nation (JC Grid-Wire); Mt. SAC entered 6-1 overall, 3-0 in National-Central, ranked #3 in South and #11 in nation (JCGW). Mt. SAC's 1st TD came 2 plays after Ilae recovered a muffed punt at the El Camino 9. Mt. SAC's 2nd TD came 1 play after Matsuda recovered a bad punt snap at the El Camino 6. And El Camino never quite got out of that hole. Thompkins' TD came three plays after McRoyal's interception. The safety came after a bad punt snap; Campbell picked up the ball in the end zone but was tackled immediately by M.Harris. James not only had the two returns for TDs, but also intercepted Simms' final pass with 3:04 left to seal the win for Mt. SAC.