Saddleback College walked into El Camino College’s Murdock Stadium Saturday night. Painted on the wall was the years they were state champions with 2006 being the most recent. That was the same team that upsetting Saddleback in the post season. With revenge on their minds, the Gauchos came up short once again, this time by a touchdown. As the final buzzer sounded Saddleback head coach Mark McElroy took a deep breath as he walked over to talk to his team. They just lost 31-24.
“[El Camino] is very talented and our kids played well,” McElroy said. “The game could’ve gone either way.”
The Gauchos started off the game with two touchdowns first a 27-yard run by sophomore running back Cheyne Verhagen then a 6-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Maurice Clark.
“Our intensity was good at first,” Clark said. “We came out hard.”
After the Warriors received a safety sacking Saddleback quarterback Brian Shrock in the endzone, they rallied to put 15 consecutive points on the scoreboard to tie the score at 17 as the two teams entered the locker room for halftime.
El Camino running back Tavare Pressley ran for 104 yards in the furst half including a 73-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
The second half was a close as the first.
Pressley found the endzone for a third time as he put El Camino up by a touchdown with a 27-yard run.
“El Camino has a great football team,” said freshman running back Josh Farrell. “Their team has a lot of big players.”
The 260 pound back from San Clemente High School came alive in the second half as averaged 5.7 yards per carry on the ground and 35 yards total passing.
Although the Gauchos tied the score on a 6-yard pass to Farrell, Pressley wouldn’t stop on the offensive as he caught a 74-yard pass from Warriors quarterback Boo Jackson.
Pressley outran the entire Saddleback offensive as he finished with 171 yards rushing on 13 carries.
With the chance to tie the game up Saddleback elected to pass on a second down play inside the 3-yard line but was intercepted for a touchback.
“They brought in their goal line defense which had stifling our running game inside the three yard line,” McElroy said. “It was a crossing route that didn’t work out.”
The loss was the first road loss for Saddleback since the end of the 2005 season and since they have gone 18-3 with all three losses coming to El Camino.
“We need to improve on everything,” Farrell said. “We need to run harder, block harder and work on everything that they beat us by. We just need to come out and have a solid practice everyday.
Saddleback has a week off before they start division play against Riverside College, Oct. 13.
“In our division we are 0-0. Everything in the past,” Clark said. “We need to take one step at a time. We have to come out and do our best.”