Saddleback College looked for a crowd pleasing victory, 63-28 at its Homecoming game, as well as the school’s 40th Anniversary this past Saturday. Saddleback head coach Mark McElroy had yet to lose to the Santa Ana Dons football team in his previous nine seasons, and wasn’t ready to break that winning streak against the No. 20-ranked team.
Midway through the first quarter, Gauchos quarterback Brian Schrock completed a first down with a 26-yard pass to running back Micah Abreu-Laybon With 10 minutes left, the Gauchos gained momentum down the field, ending with Shrock connecting with wide receiver Jay Wisner for a solid 46-yard touchdown pass. Santa Ana tied the score minutes later, but SBC running back Jai Morris added a 29-yard touchdown run. The play of the night came from running back Shane Henry for outrunning the Dons’ defense to score a 66-yard touchdown, giving Saddleback a 21-7 advantage.
At the start of the second quarter, Santa Ana stepped up their game and cut the lead in half again at 28-14 on a 46-yard run. The Dons looked to play catch-up, and regain control of the ball. Time seemed to stand still for the remainder of the quarter, with Saddleback slowly advancing down the field. However, Morris got the ball rolling again with three minutes left, adding a 10-yard scoring run to put the Gauchos up 35-14 at the half.
It appeared that Santa Ana was going to gain some speed as it took the second half kickoff, running 57 yards for a touchdown to cut its deficit to 35-21. Saddleback came back to score four touchdowns. The first on a 25-yard run by Morris, plus a pair of touchdown passes from Shrock to wide receiver Lamont Enyard. A 49-yard interception return by Dons’ cornerback Travis Venzant. This gave the Gauchos a 63-21 lead before the Dons scored a final time with 2:00 left. Remaining strong and efficient though the entire game, Saddleback came out with a victory that again added to Coach McElroy’s winning streak.
Shrock connected 18 of 23 pass attempts for 250 yards and 3 scores. Morris led Saddleback’s 302-yard rushing attack with 10 carries for 107 yards and three scores. Abreu-Laybon, who entered the game as the conference’s leading rusher, was limited to just 46 yards as the Dons defense seemed to keep a hold on him. Wisner had three receptions for 89 yards and wide receiver Nick Hutter added six receptions for 72 yards.
The Gauchos will travel to Palomar Community College to face the Comets Saturday afternoon, Oct. 11, for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff. Palomar holds a current 4-1 record.