East County Sports

Booth emerges to boot Jaguars to win

Southwestern College placekicker Asher Booth. / CaliCamera




By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

RANCHO CUCAMONGA —- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the athletic career of standout soccer player Asher Booth went sideways.

One of the leading goal scorers in the CIF-San Diego Section in 2015, the Torrey Pines High standout landed a soccer scholarship to Westmont College, where he quickly worked his way into the starting lineup as a freshman for the 2015 season.
Soon, Booth was playing professionally in the minors leagues in the National Premier Soccer League, hoping for a shot at Major League Soccer.
Them the pandemic. Then the NPSL temporarily suspended operations. Booth had no place to play.
Somehow, the now 24-year old striker landed at Southwestern College to continue his education, landing a spot on the Jaguars football team as a placekicker. And a good one.
On Saturday (Oct. 2), Booth booted a 51-yard field goal with 1:20 remaining, making the difference as Southwestern avoided an upset to edge winless Chaffey College, 28-26, at Grigsby Stadium.
The host Panthers also gained a field goal attempt of 27 yards in the closing moments. However, Southwestern’s Arnold Escano (Olympian HS) raced around the corner for the victory-clinching block on the contest’s final play, as the special teams units of Southwestern (2-2) kept Chaffey winless in five starts.
The final drive for both ballclubs held precarious moments.
For Southwestern, quarterback Brandon Smith scrambled for a gain to the right side but was nailed in the head on an illegal blow to the head during the QB’s slide. The infraction cost Chaffey 15 yards, but Smith was forced from the contests, with Jimmy Inman, the Jaguars’ third quarterback of the game, coming in for a pair of handoffs to barely remain within Booth’s range.
Meanwhile, Chaffey’s penultimate snap saw a botched hand-off, but the quarterback was able to cover the loose football for a 7-yard loss, then calling the team’s final timeout with 2.6 seconds remaining.
The holder on the Jags’ game-winning field goal wasn’t believed to be a “skills” position player, but he was. Justin McElligott, a punter and placekicker out of Granite High High, wearing the unusual¬† No. 64, which is much more typical for an offensive lineman.

A scoreless game for much of the first quarter, the Jaguars scored at the end of the first quarter on a 10-play drive, capped by a 4-yard score by James Coleman.

Chaffey tied the game early in the second quarter, then took the lead 14-7 on a 91-yard interception return with 9:26 to play before halftime.

The Jaguars tied the score at 14-all with 4:48 to play in the second period following a 9-play drive which culminated in a rushing touchdown by Albert Robinson from 1-yard out.

The Cougars got a field goal with seven seconds left in the first half to take a 17-14 lead into halftime.

How good is Booth?

He belted a 52-yarder in the third quarter to tie the game at the 8:01 mark. In addition to the game-winner, Booth has three field goals longer than 50 yards this season.

Smith threw a 48-yard touchdown pass connection to Christian Jourdain, who has been the team’s standout offensive player this season, with 51 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Panthers took the lead once again with four minutes left in the game with a 3-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 20-yard touchdown pass.

On the play, Orr was knocked down hard and didn’t return to the game, replaced by Smith on the next drive.

Smith finished 9-for-15 for 144 yards.

Jourdain had seven receptions for 169 yards.

Safety Saiyvoinn Williams had three tackles including a sack for Southwestern, while teammate Andrew Sola also had a sack.



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