Entering Saturday’s football game at Fullerton College, Saddleback College had control of the SCFA National Division Southern Conference.
After a tough 24-21 loss to the Hornets, that’s not the case now.
It was apparent that this game was going to be a good match up, with Fullerton ranked No. 4 in the state and Saddleback No. 5.
Unfortunately, the Gauchos would loss the time-of-possession battle and make four turnovers, very unimaginable for a team with consistency and strength leading into this game.
At the start of the first half, Saddleback maintained control of the ball, with quarterback Brian Schrock totaling 65 yards. The first touchdown of the night came from a 15 yard complete pass from Schrock to running back Charles Neal. Midway through the quarter, with 10 minutes left, running back Jai Morris ran for 18 yards off a pass from Schrock, scoring a touchdown and putting them ahead with a score of 7-0.
With 2:30 left on the clock, Fullerton kicker Sean Wren made a 56 yard punt across the field, with Saddleback wide receiver Matt Garcia making the catch, and running 54 yards to add a the second touchdown of the night, with a score of 14-3.
A minute later, Jai Morris rushed for 71 yards off another punt from Hornets kicker Wren, scoring yet another touchdown of the night with the scoreboard reading 21-3 at the end of the first quarter.
While the Gauchos appeared to be dominating the game and maintaining a significant lead over Fullerton, the Hornet’s were able to quickly respond within minutes of the second quarter, with quarterback Jeff Fleming throwing 64 yards in the first 10 minutes.
The Hornet’s first touchdown off the night was made by running back Sam Apraku. By halftime, Fullerton cut the deficit to 21-10.
Despite Morris’ 122 rushing yards on 11 carries, Fullerton was able to hold down Saddleback’s offensive attacks. The Gauchos could not put any second-half points up on the scoreboard, as Morris fumbled twice and an errant snap caused another fumble which Fullerton recovered.
Adding two intercepted passes by Schrock, and three personal fouls late in the game by Saddleback, it allowed Fullerton to keep its final scoring drive alive and a disastrous end with two minutes on the clock.
With 1:02 remaining in the game, Fleming found wide receiver Dameron Fooks open in the back of the end zone for a nine-yard pass for a touchdown, giving Fullerton its first lead of the game, 24-21. Saddleback’s final play ended with an interception. Fleming passed for 237 yards on 41 attempts with 22 completions. He had one touchdown, the game winner to wide receiver Fooks.
Wide receiver Jeremy La France also had an excellent game offensively catching 11 passes for 110 yards.
Gaucho’s running back Morris finished with 188 total yards of offense, and running back Micah Abreu-Laybon added 121. Saddleback’s SS Jon Loynes ended with nine tackles on defense, while line backer Jason Young posted eight tackles.
The Gauchos will host Orange Coast College on Saturday, Nov. 1, at 6 p.m.