Gauchos offense paves way

Characteristics of a leader can include empowering those under him, giving clear and direct orders, overcoming the odds, and always delivering results. On Saturday, Saddleback quarterback Brian Shrock proved all of that in 60 minutes on the football field as he led his team to its fourth consecutive victory.

Despite being intercepted three times and sacked twice, Shrock threw for a career high 408 yards, becoming the fifth Gaucho to pass for over 400 yards, in a 24-17 victory over Fullerton College.

“It is so important to have leadership in the quarterback position,” said running back Josh Farrell. “He’s our man and it’s on him, but we have his back 100 percent. It’s crucial to have a good quarterback that can do all the things that Shrock can do.”

The Hornets got on the scoreboard first, as Aaron Harris intercepted Shrock’s pass in the first quarter to set up a Fullerton touchdown.

“Coach always talks about when we make mistakes, never let it get to us,” Shrock said. “I just kept fighting and do what I had to do.”

Saddleback retaliated in the second quarter, outscoring Fullerton by 17, first with a 2-yard touchdown run by freshman tailback Josh Farrell, then another as wide receiver Maurice Clark found the endzone on a 40-yard catch from Shrock. Kicker Eric Carr extended the lead with a 21-yard field goal to send the Gauchos into halftime up by 10 points.

Despite throwing two more interceptions in the second half, Shrock never lost his composure. He led the Gauchos to a season high 621 yards of total offense.

“Shrock is a leader, point blank. He finds a way to win, finds the big play, runs big plays and takes a hit,” Clark said. “He is our leader and we follow him.”

After giving up a 27-yard touchdown run to Hornet tailback Brandon Minor, the Gauchos never looked back. They related with less than a minute to go in the third quarter when Shrock found Jimmy Flanagan for a 75-yard touchdown pass.

The sophomore from Edison High School finished with three catches on 94 yards.

The defense stared in the fourth quarter. It kept the lead, securing Saddleback’s fourth win of the season and 16th win out of seventeen in the last two years.

If there is a rivalry in Saddleback football it would be with next week’s opponent, El Camino College. The two teams have met twice last year, with Saddleback taking the first meeting, 42-37, in their last regular season game, but losing in the second round of the playoffs to the Warriors on a missed field goal, 30-28.

Those returning from last year’s team are looking forward to the matchup.

“El Camino and I have some unfinished business we need to take care of,” Clark said. “They’re good like us with great athletes, so we need to come out with our ‘A’ game and have a great week of practice.”

The game will be held in Torrance, with kickoff at 5 p.m.