East County Sports

Olympians beat LBCC; Comets fall; Jags PPD.

Long Beach on a completion on Saturday night. / The562.org



ECS staff report

LONG BEACH —- It’s been 30 years since NFL Hall of Fame coach George Allen closed his brilliant career by directing the morbid Long Beach State football team.

Allen shocked the college football world by directing the 49ers to a winning season. Still, the university abandoned the program.

On Saturday (Sept. 25), San Diego Mesa College returned to the site of Allen’s final triumph in a Hall of Fame career, historic Veterans Memorial Stadium, where the Olympians scored two late touchdowns to down the Long Beach City College Vikings, 45-34, in non-conference action.

Mesa running back Josh Butler (2 yards) and Daniel Latanca (10 yards) registered touchdown gallops in the final minutes to expand a 31-28 lead to a 45-28 advantage. Long Beach posted a cosmetic TD against the second string on the game’s final play.

Both teams registered near-identical statistics. Mesa out-gained Long Beach in yardage, 495-to-487. The Vikings even forced one more turnover.

However, the difference came in the red zone, where the Olympians’ defense twice prevented LBCC from converting on fourth down, while the Vikes also missed a short field goal.

San Diego Mesa (3-1) took a 17-7 lead in the second quarter.

Mesa extended its lead to 31-21 with a 2-yard touchdown run by Cael Patterson as time expired in the third quarter, although Long Beach (2-2) trailed 31-28 with 12:39 to play in the game.

Olympian quarterback Gunnar Gray threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns, while Patterson added another touchdown run and had 73 yards of total offense.

Junior Akinunde had 39 rushing yards, including a 22-yard run for San Diego Mesa.

John Carroll led Mesa with five solo tackles.

T-Max Nyumah and Chris Alba both had five total tackles for the Olympians. Nyumah added a pass break up and Alba contributed a QB hurry.


ECS staff report

VALENCIA —- Unbeaten College of the Canyons received a lot more than expected from visiting Palomar College on Saturday (Sept. 26).

The 21st-ranked Comets rallied from an early deficit to move within 28-23 early in the fourth period, but the fifth-ranked Cougars staved off the visitors in a 42-30 decision at COC Stadium.

Palomar defender Luke Manos forced and recovered a fumble in the opening minutes leading to a Comets score, but Canyons roared back with three touchdowns to lead by a 28-13 count.

However, Palomar made it a contest by running the ball on consecutive scoring drives of 53 and 54 yards. The first march was capped by scoring runs by Zeke Payne (4 yards) plus a 2-point conversion, then the next possession saw Landon Ogles boot a 38-yard field goal.

However, Canyons answered with an 80-yard, time-consuming touchdown drive to put the game out of reach.

For Palomar (2-2 overall), a short passing game saw Payne (23-for-39) pass for 192 yards, with a long of just 24 yards.

The ground game was better, as Tawee Walker (72 yards) and Payne combined for 99 yards, with each posting a touchdown.

Canyons (5-0) saw QB Tooni Ikahihifo throw for 355 yards and five touchdowns, including two scores to both Andre Hunt and Cyrus Zuell, who are imports from, respectively, Illinois and Georgia.

Palomar punter Landon Ogles registered a punt of 67 yards to start the second quarter.

On defense, Manos led the Comets defense with 8 solo tackles, including a forced fumble. Khalid Walker posted an interception, returning the ball 18 yards.

The game between the Jaguars and Falcons, scheduled as a 3 p.m. start, was postponed due to health protocols, but could be made up before the end of the season.


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