Late rally by Cerritos comes up short in 17-14 loss to East Los Angeles

Cerritos College football
Cerritos College football

CCCAA Football: Scoreboard l Standings

MONTEREY PARK - For the second time this season, a special teams miscue played a direct role in the Cerritos College football team dropping a decision. On Thursday night, a strip-and-score on a failed punt attempt was the difference in the Falcons 17-14 loss to East Los Angeles College. The game was a make-up from the October 2 game that was forced to be postponed. Cerritos (1-3) will now open Central League play on October 16 when they travel to Chaffey College for a 6:00 p.m. game. Earlier in the season, a pair of special teams miscues led to the team's loss to Allan Hancock College.

The loss to the Huskies was the first ever, with the series dating back to 1962 and the Falcons winning the first 17 meetings.

Trailing 10-6 early in the fourth quarter, the Falcons were forced to punt. On the play, freshman punter Abraham Delgadillo (Gahr HS) felt the heat of the rush from the Huskies Pedro Amousou, which forced him to run the ball to the outside in an attempt to get the punt away. Looking to turn the corner, Amousou was able to strip the ball from Delgadillo, scoop up the ball and race into the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown and a 17-6 East LA lead.

On the ensuing Cerritos drive, it appeared that freshman quarterback Cade McConnell (Los Alamitos HS) had connected on a long pass to sophomore wide receiver Bailey Torres (Valley Christian HS) that would have put the ball deep in East LA territory. But after appearing to have pulled in the pass, Bailey had the ball knocked out of his hands by Cam'Reon Dean for an incomplete pass.

The Falcons took over possession of the ball at their own 37-yard line with 8:41 left in the fourth quarter and in need of a score. They embarked on a nine-play, 63-yard drive that culminated in a six-yard TD run by freshman running back Penieli Lauago (La Mirada HS) with 3:45 remaining. McConnell then connected with freshman tight end Jacob Leija (La Serna HS) for a two-point conversion and the defense was then called on to stop the Huskies offense.

They did exactly that, as sophomore defensive lineman Joshua Palu (Lakewood HS/Los Angeles Harbor College) broke through the line and dropped Steven Munoz for a three-yard loss. On the next play, sophomore Bijon Harris (Bellflower HS) and Giovanni De Leon (Los Alamitos HS) stuffed Munoz for a one-yard loss. A 10-yard completion left the Huskies short, which forced them into a punting situation.

With 1:49 remaining, the Falcon offense came back on the field and were looking to get within field goal range of freshman kicker Moz Bojorquez (Mayfair HS), who already booted 25-yard and 24-yard field goals in the first half to give Cerritos a 6-0 lead. Faced with third-and-6, McConnell found Torres for a 15-yard gain to keep the drive alive. Two plays later, on first-and-25 after a pair of penalties, the two connected for a 19-yard completion, which put Cerritos at the Huskies 35-yard line. After clocking the ball and an incomplete pass, a four-yard completion on fourth-and-six ended the team's hopes of a comeback.

McConnell finished the night 22-for-32 for 168 yards, while freshman running back Davon Booth (El Monte HS) led the way on the ground with 92 yards on 16 carries. Torres pulled in four McConnell passes for 69 yards, while sophomore DeJour Smith (Long Beach Wilson HS/Saddleback College) and Leija each had four receptions.

Palu led the defense with seven tackles, along with 1 1/2 tackles for loss and a pass breakup, while De Leon and Keith Conley, Jr. (Cathedral HS/El Camino College) both finished with five stops. The defense limited East LA to just 55 passing yards.

 (John Van Gaston, Cerritos College)