East County Sports

ROUNDUP: Olympian defense sets up win

Kader Diop catches the go-ahead touchdown for Mesa. / Nicole Noel


By Nick Pellegrino
ECS senior staff writer
NORWALK — During the glory days of San Diego Mesa College football in the late 1970s and early 1980s, for the Olympians to truly prove themselves, they needed to come away with road victories at state powers like Fullerton and Cerritos.

Despite Fullerton ranking among the nation’s best foes back in the day, it was Cerritos that proved to be a more difficult foe for Mesa, especially at Falcons Stadium.

Mesa made a major dent in their historic football log, storming back from a 10-0 deficit in the first quarter to upend the host Falcons, 14-10, on Saturday (September 10).

It looked like another typical Cerritos win with a pair of quick scores in the opening 12 minutes. However, the Olympians’ defense pitched a shutout over the final 46:52 to knock out the Falcons.

The rally featured a 3-yard TD rush by sophomore quarterback Richie Colmenero (St. Augustine) in the second quarter, coming moments after Cerritos mounted its 10-0 lead.

Meanwhile, the lone score of the second half saw Kader Diop haul in a 6-yard TD pass from Colmero to secure the lead fr keeps with 6:21 remaining in the third quarter.

How good was the Olympian defense?

Mesa allowed just 15 first downs (three by penalties) and only 5 first-down conversions all evening (on 17 tries).

Although Cerritos led in total yards allowed (296 for Cerritos; 203 for Mesa), Mesa captured the turnover advantage with a pair of fumbles to garner greater field position thanks to recoveries by outside linebacker Cameron Sanderlin (Grossmont HS) and defensive back Brandon Worsley (Mission Hills). Both are freshmen.

The Sanderlin recovery came following a hit by Tyeron Washington (Hilltop) at the Mesa-6 to prevent Cerritos from scoring.

The Falcons later completed a 23-yard pass, but Mesa defensive back Tyreek Bucknor knocked the ball loose at midfield which was covered by Worsley.

Cerritos gained one final chance to pull out a victory, but a Mesa punt by Ryan Harris was fair caught at the Falcons-9, forcing the host to go 91 yards over the final 7:32.

Cerritos marched 72 yards on 17 plays to reach the Mesa-19, but Olympians defender Jordan Dwyer (Mission Hills) made the tackle after the catch keeping the receiver in bounds to allow the clock to disipate.

Mesa utilized a pair of quarterbacks with neither displaying showcase numbers. However, the passers did enjoy hitting Diop, of Minnesota, who has five receptions for 88 yards.

On special teams, Harris punted 8 times for a 44.6 average. More remarkable, his yardage average included three punts landing inside the Cerritos-20.

The runaway Mesa leader in tackles was Matan Morris (Torrey Pines) with 8 stops.

Next for San Diego Mesa (2-0), the Olympians will entertain Golden West College of Huntington Beach in the Olympiuans’ home opener, slated for on-campus Merrill Douglas Stadium next Saturday (Sept. 16) at 6 p.m.


LANCASTER — Antelope Valley College gained a game-tying touchdown with 33 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, then booted a 25-yard field goal to shock Grossmont College, 34-31 in overtime, during Saturday’s (Sept. 9) non-conference contest between 0-1 sides.

The Griffins thought they had the victory in hand after quarterback Nathan Temple fired a 31-yard TD pass to Anthony Hamilton with 2:01 remaining.

However, the Marauders countered with a 14-yard pass from Sharmen Rester to Derrell Lloyd to cap a 5-play, 52-yard drive over 62 seconds.

Grossmont held a 17-7 halftime lead, pushing the advantage to 24-7 just 62 seconds into the third period on a fumble recovery in the end zone by Christian Boyki before a wild second half saw both sides bounce up and down the field. Still, only SBVC was able to capitalize until late.

Ryan Roedick had another big touchdown for Grossmont, hauling in a 72-yard score from Temple in the second quarter for a 10-7 lead.

James Johnson returned a punt 80 yards for Grossmont to raise the Griffin lead to 17-7.

In the extra session, Grossmont fired four straight passes, resulting in a trio of incompletions and an interception.

Antelope Valley answered after two incompletions, then a  run to move the football into a better kicking position for Gage Butler to hit from 25 yards.


CHULA VISTA — The San Bernardino Valley College Wolverines tallied four touchdowns in the second quarter to mount a 34-7 halftime lead, waltzing past the Southwestern College Jaguars, 53-40, in Saturday’s (Sept. 9) non-conference contest between winless ballclubs at Chet DeVore Memorial Stadium.

SBVC (1-1) mounted a 20-0 cushion before SC (0-2) answered, but the Wolverines closed with half with TD pass plays of 74, 9 and 2 yards. and when the visitors opened the second half with a fourth consecutive TD pass, they cleared the bench.

SBVC rolled up 505 yards in total offense; AWC recorded 467 yards, but most came in the second half in garbage time.

Leading SBVC was wide receiver Antoine Fowler with 14 catches for 99 yards and a pair of scores.

For Southwestern, running back Raymond Flores led with 88 yards on the ground, including a 56-yard TD romp.


ESCONDIDO — The final season of Palomar College football to be played at Escondido High School ended in a disappointing fashion on Saturday (Sept. 9).

The Comets rallied from an early deficit to secure an early fourth-quarter lead, 24-21, only to succumb to visiting El Camino College of Torrence, 35-24.

Trailing 21-7 at halftime, Comets quarterback Clay Omohundro sandwiched a pair of touchdown passes around a field goal to take the ballclub’s first lead of the contest, 28-24 with 12:49 remaining.

Omohundro first found Kyri Shoel on a 78-yard bomb to ignite the offense.

On the next possession, Comets kicker Ammanuel Kidanemariam booted a 25-yard field goal, then Omohundro directed a short, 18-yard drive on a 7-yard connected with Nate Washington to take the lead.

Palomar linebacker Jaiden Letua (Mission Hills HS) set up the score with a quarterback sack on fourth down, recovering the ensuing fumble and racing 64 yards deep into El Camino territory before finally getting caught from behind at the Warriors-3.

Letua also posted a fourth-down sack to ignite the team’s comeback in the third period.

However, the Warriors (2-0) answered just 99 seconds after Palomar’s go-ahead score.

Tafoya avoided a heavy pass rush by Letua to find El Camino teammate Joshua Lorick on a 55-yard play for a 28-24 lead.

In the closing moments, with Palomar’s defense taking extra risks to regain possession, Warriors running back Amani Givens found a hole and raced 66 yards with less than two minutes remaining (1:54) to cinch the victory.

The Comets, despite punting on their final three possessions, still finished with 399 yards in total offense on 82 plays;  El Camino collected 483 yards on 59 snaps.

Omohundro completed 18-of-34 passes for 221 yards, with two scores and two interceptions.

The Palomar ground game finished with 168 yards, including 134 by running back Omarion Ireland; the sophomore rushed for 139 yards in Week 1 in a win at Moorpark.

On defense, freshman cornerback Isaiah  Dixon (El CaminoHS/Oceanside) posted an interception, while Letua finished(2 sacks)  in a 4-way tie for second-placed in total tackles, one behind team leader Monty Hunt, a sophomore defensive back out of Georgia.

Next season, Palomar plans to have a new, on-campus football facility completed.

Next week, Palomar completes non-conference play by heading to Santa Clarita to meet College of the Canyons (located one freeway exit south of Magic Mountain), starting at 4 p.m.

— Nick Pellegrino


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