East County Sports

Mesa edges closer, yet falls just short



ECS staff report

KEARNY MESA — Steve Fairchild, a two-time J.C. Rid-Wire first-team All-America quarterback out of Patrick Henry High, once led San Diego Mesa College during the glory years of the original South Coast Conference.

Included were memorable games with Fullerton College, one shocking the powerful Hornets before 15,000 spectators at Anaheim Stadium (then the home of the NFL Los Angeles Rams).

While Mesa’s football program has gone through ups-and-downs over the following 40 seasons, Fullerton remains near the top, entering the week ranked No. 4 in California.

The Olympians firmly believed this may been their first chance to avenge some recent embarrassments — Fullerton’s lsdt vidit toMerrill Douglas Stadium saw a Hornets conquest by a 71-14 count — but Mesa fell just short.

In a Thursday (Oct 12) night special, Mesa grabbed an early 7-0 lead, then stayed swithin a touchdown dedep into the fourth quarter (only traiing 20-14) before finally faltering to first-place Fullerton, 27-14.

Play-by-play from Fullerton College athletics press release:

San Diego Mesa opened the game with the ball and kept the FC defense off balance with a couple of nice runs by quarterback James Odom. Odom wound up scoring the game’s first touchdown on a 17-yard run at 10:36 in the first quarter.

After a few offensive sputters breaking off the bye-week rust, Fullerton got back on track after a big 30-yard throw and catch from Brandon Nunez to Leland Smith put the Hornets on the Olympian 10-yardline. Two plays later, Nunez hit Fox Haugen for a 5-yard touchdown. At 9:17, Jonathan Fobear kicked in the PAT tying the game up at 7-7.

At the start of the third quarter, the Hornet’s Branson Tita-Nwa intercepted the ball after jumping the Olympian receiver’s route. The FC offense made it count scoring on the very next play when quarterback Brandon Nunez hit Leland Smith on a 10-yard slant with Smith taking it the rest of the way for a 50-yard touchdown. Jonathan Fobear’s point-after kick was good putting Fullerton up 14-7.

With 4:16 left in the third quarter, FC went up 17-7 thanks to a 20-yard field goal by Fobear.

Fullerton added to its lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter when Fobear hit another field goal from 24 yards out giving the Hornets a 20-7 edge at 14:51.

San Diego Mesa was not going down without a fight as they scored on their next offensive drive- a 54-yard TD pass from Odom to Jordin Young. Young caught the ball from 10-yards out and then took off up the middle of the field for the score.

Holding a slim 20-14 lead in the middle of the fourth, FC put the nail in the coffin when CJ Broy caught a 15-yard dart in the endzone from Brandon Nunez. The four-play 75-yard drive lifted the Hornets up 27-14 after the Fobear extra point at 11:12.

The FC defense kept San Diego out of the endzone for the remainder of the game with the help of 3 breakups and 2 sacks by Brandon Harris and Ryan Alamo. In all, the Hornet D had 8 sacks on the night.

After stopping Mesa’s final drive with a minute left in regulation, the FC offense went into victory formation and burned the rest of the time off the clock.

Fullerton and Riverside (both 6-0 overall, 3-0 NCSD) remain on target for a Nov. 11 meeting for the conference title and a berth in the CCCAA state Southern California championship series.

The Hornets lead the al-time series, 29-05, over the Olympians. In the late ’70s and early ;80s, the schools splut 8 meetings.

On Saturday


RIVERSIDE — The top-ranked Riverside Tigers (6-0 overall, 3-0 NCSD) handed winless Grossmont one of the biggests setbacks in Griffins school history n the lop-sided romp.

However, there was little need for Grossmont to be too ashamed: Riverside has score 40 or points against every opponernt this season, on track to snap the state scoring record held by City Collerge of San Francisco.

Last season, Riverside lost in the CCCAA state title game, falling to College of San Mateo, 55-0.


On the game’s first play from scrimmage, Saddleback defensive end Bryce grider 944, left) scooped up a fumble and raced 22 yards for a touchdown / Saddleback TV


MISSION VIEJO — Saddleback College defensive end Bryce Grider picked up a loose football and rumbled 21 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage just 11 seconds into the contest, as the Bobcats jumped all over Palomar College, 48-10, Saturday *(Oct. 13) at Saddleback Stadium.

The visiting Comets responded on defense with a safety just 2:22 into the ballgame, yet was hindered with alaudry list of injuries, including the start of a fourth-string freshman quarterback.

The safety was set up on a 65-yard punt by Yassin Khachab to the 1-yard line.

On second down for Saddleback, a handoff saw the Bobcats running back take a step out of the end zone into the field of play, but the head linesman still ruled the back remained in the end zone and awarded Palomar its two points in a controversial call.

The safety was awarded to Palomar linebacker Yassin Khachab, who also led the defense with 10 tackles, including two for a loss.

However, the point proved moot when the Bocbats scored the next 41 straight points before Palomar answered with a cosmetic TD and 2-point conversion in the closing moments.

Saddleback (4-2, 3-0 NCSD) remains in the hunt for the league crown. Palomar fell to 2-4 (1-2 league).

HCN Bank Stadium, the new home of Mt. San Jacinto College football and soccer / MSJC TV



MENIFEE — Southwestern College stayed with the host Mt. San Jacinto Eagles for about 25 minutes before the host busted out to close on a 30-3 run to keep the Jaguars winless in a 48-16 decision on Saturday (Oct. 13) at e, CA | HCN Bank Stadium.

Trailing 9-0, Southwestern posted the county’s play of the day when quarterback Aleks Wojcik connected on a 90-yard TD bomb to Jovahn Young.

Wojcik also found Lenza “Savion” Robinson on a 20-yard TD strike in the second quarter to stay within 18-13 before the roof fell in.

MSJC (2-5 overall, 1-2 NCSD) escaped a 3-way tie for last place in the conference. SWC remains tied with Grossmontin the cellar at 0-8 (0-6 conference).