Fullerton Rolls Past LA Harbor

Kenny Turner scored three touchdowns, Darius Banks threw for three touchdowns and the Fullerton defense shut out high-powered LA Harbor for the final 20 minutes of the game as the #2-seeded Hornets (10-1) overpowered #7-seed LA Harbor (9-2),49-19, Saturday afternoon at Titan Stadium (CSUF) in the National Bowl that also served as a first-round playoff game.

After Harbor scored its third touchdown of the game on Donald Matthews' 1-yard run on the first drive of the second half, the Seahawks elected to go for two points on the conversion that would have tied the game.  But Dominique Blackman's pass fell incomplete, leaving the score 21-19 in favor of the host Hornets.

And from that point, Fullerton took over the game, scoring 28 unanswered points and cruising to the victory and ending what had begun as a dream season for Washington bounceback Blackman the the Harbor Seahawks.

On Fullerton's next possession, Turner scored on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Banks on an inside screen to make it 28-19.  Then on the next play from scrimmage, Filipo Tuala intercepted a Blackman pass and returned it to the Harbor 25.  Three plays later Turner scored on a 2-yard run to make it 35-19 and put Fullerton in control of the game.

Early on, Harbor nearly matched Fullerton step for step, trailing just 14-13 after a wild first quarter.  Harbor began the game kicking off, and tried a squib kick to prevent a long return.  That strategy failed miserably as D.J. Sophus picked up the bouncing ball at his own 26 and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the game to put Fullerton ahead, 7-0.

But Harbor answered that score, putting together a 13-play, 72-yard drive and tying the game on a 1-yard touchdown run by Jon White.  Fullerton went back in front on Turner's first touchdown of the day, a 27-yard run that capped a quick, 5-play drive, making it 14-7 midway through the quarter.  But Harbor answered with another scoring drive, putting together another long drive after an interception by Claude Pierre, as Blackman threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Frampton with four seconds left in the quarter.  A missed extra point kept Fullerton ahead, 14-13.

The only scoring play of the second quarter came when Darryl Shine caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Banks with 3:49 left before halftime to extend Fullerton's lead to 21-13.  That culminated a 15-play, 73-yard drive that included not one, not two but three fourth-down conversions, including the touchdown.  Facing 4th and 5 from the 24, Fullerton went with an inside screen, and Shine took it the distance, giving the Hornets the 8-point halftime lead.

In the fourth quarter, Fullerton added two more touchdowns, one on Banks' third touchdown pass of the day, a 14-yard toss to Jereme LaGarde and the other on a 9-yard run by back-up quarterback Kyle Essington.  Meanwhile, the Hornet defense finished the day by intercepting Blackman two more times and forcing two punts, holding the Seahawks scoreless on their last five possessions.  The final interception, by linebacker Jeremiah King with 2:18 left, finished the day for Blackman and the Harbor offense.

For Fullerton, Turner rushed for 132 yards and 2 TDs on 25 carries, and also socred on the 52-yard touchdown catch.  LaGarde added 72 yards on 9 carries, and also caught the 14-yard touchdown pass.  Banks finished 9 for 17 for 178 yards and the 3 TDs.  The Hornet defense sacked Blackman three times and intercepted him three times, and held the Harbor ground game to just 31 yards on 22 carries.  One special teams standout was Gary Watson, who partially tipped two of Harbor's first three punts.  And of course Sophus got the Hornets off to a good start with his touchdown on the game's opening kickoff.

For Harbor, Blackman completed 26 of 44 passes for 290 yards and a TD.  His favorite targets were Prentice Gill, who had 6 catches for 103 yards, and Frampton, who had 8 catches for 85 yards and a TD.  But the Seahawks' top rusher was Matthews, who had just 20 yards on 7 carries, including the touchdown, and Harbor had just 2 rushing first downs all day. 

With the win, Fullerton improves to 10-1 and will host Palomar next Saturday afternoon at Titan Stadium on the campus of CS Fullerton.  Harbor, which won its first 9 games of the season to capture the American Division's Mountain Conference, finishes 9-2.

Fullerton Hornets 49
L.A. Harbor Seahawks 19

Saturday, November 21, 2009 - 1 pm - Titan Stadium - Fullerton
American Bowl / Southern California Playoffs (First Round)

1st Quarter:    
F - Sophus 74 yd kickoff return (Tyler kick) 14:49 (7-0)
H - White 1 yd run (Merced kick) 9:25 (7-7)
F - Turner 27 yd run (Tyler kick) 7:17 (14-7)
H - Frampton 8 yd pass from Blackman (kick wide left) 0:04 (14-13)

2nd Quarter:   
F - Shine 24 yd pass from Banks (Tyler kick) 3:49 (21-13)

3rd Quarter:   
H - Matthews 1 yd run (pass failed) 10:48 (21-19)
F - Turner 52 yd pass from Banks (Tyler kick) 7:28 (28-19)
F - Turner 2 yd run (Tyler kick) 6:19 (35-19)

4th Quarter:    
F - LaGarde 14 yd pass from Banks (Tyler kick) 9:46 (42-19)
F - Essington 9 yd run (Pagazza kick) 2:32 (49-19)

Team Statistics:
First Downs:  Fullerton 20 (11 rush, 8 pass, 1 penalty), LA Harbor 20 (2 rush, 17 pass, 1 penalty)
Rushes-Yds:  Fullerton 47-225, LA Harbor 23-31
Passing Yds:  Fullerton 186, LA Harbor 290
Comp-Att-Int:  Fullerton 10-20-1, LA Harbor 26-44-3
Return Yds:  Fullerton 182, LA Harbor 137
Sacks-Yds:  Fullerton 3-13, LA Harbor 2-14
Fumbles-Lost:  Fullerton 2-0, LA Harbor 1-0
Penalties-Yds:  Fullerton 15-135, LA Harbor 8-69
Time of Possession:  Fullerton 33:42, LA Harbor 26:18

Individual Statistics:
Fullerton 3-Turner 25-132, 25-LaGarde 9-72, 5-Essington 5-27, 20-Norman 4-0, 16-Banks 4-(-6); LA Harbor 22-Matthews 7-20, 10-White 11-18, 7-Davis 1-2, 8-Blackman 5-(-9)
Passing:   Fullerton 16-Banks 9-17-1-178, 3 TDs; 5-Essington 1-3-0-8; LA Harbor 8-Blackman 26-44-3-290, 1 TD
Receiving:   Fullerton 84-Dunford 3-60, 1-Shine 3-43, 3-Turner 2-59, 25-LaGarde 1-14, 88-Clarkson 1-10; LA Harbor 4-Frampton 8-85, 1-Gill 6-103, 10-White 5-35, 7-Davis 3-32, 3-Gaudin 2-21, 22-Matthews 2-14
Interceptions-Ret Yds:  Fullerton 17-Pintado 1-24, 45-King 1-18, 43-Tuala 1-12; LA Harbor 23-Pierre 1-11
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds:  none
Sacks-Yds:  Fullerton 53-Figueroa 1-7, 62-Hein 1-3, 99-Lane 1-3; LA Harbor 91-Sharman 1-11, 75-Jackson 1-3
Punters:   Fullerton 97-Blanke 2-45.0 avg; LA Harbor 88-Doerner 3-26.0 avg
Kick Returns:  Fullerton 40-Sophus 2-92, 38-Clark 1-10, 84-Dunford 1-10; LA Harbor 10-White 2-48, 19-Lacy 1-31, 20-Gray 1-20, 3-Gaudin 1-18, 29-MacNamee 1-9
Punt Returns:  Fullerton 13-Garbutt 1-14, 88-Clarkson 1-2; LA Harbor none
Missed FG:  none
Notes:  Both teams entered 9-1; Fullerton was #2 seed in Southern California playoffs while LA Harbor was #7 seed.  Harbor squibbed the opening kickoff, but Sophus returned it for a TD anyway.  28-Watson partially blocked Doerner's 1st punt (19 yds) and 3rd punt (8 yds).  Frampton's TD came after a 78-yard drive following Pierre's interception.  Shine's TD came on a 4th down play, the third 4th down conversion of the drive for Fullerton.  Turner's final TD came after Tuala's interception, the first of the day for Fullerton. 

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