Gauchos work for their first conference win

(Adam Kolvites/ Keyyon Bush)

Adam Kolvites

Saddleback College’s football team won at Santa Ana College on Saturday, picking up their first conference win 21-15 over the Dons.

While the offense didn’t play as well as they did in their past games, the defense fought off the Dons and shut them out in the second half.

When asked how he felt about the close victory, Gauchos coach Mark McElroy said, “It’s always nice to win a game, whether it’s close or a big game.”

Saddleback’s defense won the game today, only giving up one touchdown and forcing the Dons to kick two field goals. Defensive back Trevor Douglass secured 17 tackles in the game, while linebackers Rex Wasserbach, James BoisD’enghein and defensive back Doug Ruggles all  had over 10 tackles each.

During the first half of the game the Dons had momentum scoring 15 unanswered points until late in the second quarter Gaucho quarterback Tim Belman threw a touchdown. Santa Ana kicker Ian Miller started the Dons off with a field goal of 27-yards late in the first quarter, 3-0. After the field goal, Saddleback started their drive at their own 19-yard line when Don linebacker Adam Butcher sacked Tim Belman for a safety on the first play, 5-0. In the second quarter Don quarterback Shane Truelove threw his only touchdown on the day pushing the score to 11-0, with a extra point kicked by Miller, 12-0.

A few drives later, Dons’ scores still unanswered, Gauchos held off a touchdown but forced Santa Ana to kick a field goal on fourth down, Miller, 39-yard kick, 15-0. Gauchos trailed 0-15 until Tim Belman threw his first touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyler Murphy late in the third quarter for 13 yards, the extra point was kicked by Matt Boermeester, 15-7.

After half-time in the third quarter, the Gauchos answered with another score when Belman connected with wide receiver Eric Lauderdale in Santa Ana’s endzone for a 9-yard touchdown pass, 13-15, the extra point attempt was no good. This being the only offensive score from either team in the third quarter Saddleback was still losing to Santa Ana late into the fourth quarter.

It all came down to the fourth quarter when the Dons were holding a small lead and the first three drives were going back and fourth without any scores. On the fourth drive Tim Belman lead the Gauchos down the field 96 yards on 11 plays, then handed the ball off to Lee Griggs, a true freshman running back, for a game winning 3-yard touchdown which was the Gauchos first lead of the game.The Gauchos went for the two-point conversion after the score and completed a pass between Belman and Morin for two points.  As the clock ran out of time the Gauchos were still scratching for yards as they drove down the field on the last drive of the game to take a knee to secure the victory.
Saddleback running back Lee Griggs earned his first college touchdown in the game which also gave the Gauchos the lead and ultimately the win.

“It feels really good, it just feels better to get the W with the team today, we fell hard but we finished at the end, we finished, that’s the main thing,” Griggs said.

After a close loss, Head Coach Geoff Jones of Santa Ana College said, “It doesn’t feel good at all, guys played their tails off, offense played pretty well, we played good with back ups, we lost a couple guys over last week and guys came in and substituted really well and then to have a silly fourth and fifteen call over there called against us, I guess it’s football…”

The Gauchos will host their next game against Ventura in a non-conference match up at 6 p.m. and Santa Ana College will be playing at Long Beach College at the same time.

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