(Sean Lara/Lariat Staff)
After a record setting rout last week, the Saddleback College football team took the field Saturday night and torched San Bernardino Valley College, 52-0.
Saddleback, ranked No. 11, completely shut down the Wolverines. The win extended the Gauchos’ record to 14-0 all-time against San Bernardino and handed the hapless Wolverines their 18th consecutive loss.
The win also marked one last run-through before the Gauchos start a two-game road swing starting with No. 6 Mt. San Antonio College at 1 p.m Saturday (Sept. 26).
Saddleback running back Jai Morris wasted no time getting the offense back into the flow with a 70-yard touchdown run on the Gauchos’ first play from scrimmage.
“Definitely, for the first time, we’re clicking with Jai back in the rotation,” quarterback David Ingram said. “With a guy like him, you can just make it easier and hand the ball off.”
Midway through the first quarter, Jeremy Rodenburg made the first major defensive play for the Gauchos with an interception.
“Interception was thankful to Kory (Johnson),” Rodenburg said. “He got a tip and I made the play.” Ingram quickly followed with a 39-yard touchdown strike to receiver Tre Villahermosa.
The Gaucho offense faced its first true adversity of the game with four minutes left in the first quarter. On third down with 20 yards to go, receiver T.J. Knowles hauled in a 20-yard reception for a first down and the offensive momentum.
Knowles capped a four-minute drive for Saddleback by catching a four-yard touchdown pass from Ingram with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. The touchdown put Saddleback up 21-0.
The Saddleback defense reared its head again with a fumble recovery by free safety Cameron Chadwick. A 30-yard reception by Morris set up a three-yard touchdown run by running back Charles Neal.
On San Bernardino’s first offensive play on the next drive, cornerback Richard Crawford snatched an interception at the Saddleback 21-yard line.
After a botched snap and a penalty, Ingram was forced to chuck a pass out the end zone. The pass was intercepted by Marcus Williams, and it forced the defense to step up at the Saddleback 39-yard line.
The defense did not disappoint. Matt Reza, Jason Young, and Paul Gonzalez made three consecutive sacks on the first three downs of the possession. The Wolverines tried for a fourth down conversion, but Crawford pulled in his second interception for the Gauchos.
On the ensuing drive, the Gauchos took up chunks of yardage, highlighted by a 15-yard run by Ingram and a 17-yard reception by Knowles. Michael Frisina knocked in a 43-yard field goal for the 31-0 lead.
With six minutes left in the half, Neal broke off a 32-yard run and quarterback Brian Curtis threw a 23-yard pass to Morris and a 36-yard touchdown to Brad Boles for the 38-0 halftime lead.
The Gauchos gained 13 first downs and 317 yards of total offense in the first half. Defensively in the half, Saddleback grabbed three interceptions with 62 return yards, forced four fumbles, and held the Wolverines to 127 yards of total offense.
On the other side of halftime, Curtis threw a pass to Knowles who dragged several Wolverine defenders for the 52-yard reception. Aziz Spellman-Smith finished the drive for the 12-yard touchdown pass.
Substitutions and punts ruled most of the second half.
Curtis added the final score of the game with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Boles with 31 seconds left in the third quarter.
Morris led all rushers with 78 yards on four carries. Charles Neal had 60 yards on 10 carries.
Curtis led in passing with 164 yards and three touchdowns, going 10-for-15. Ingram was close behind with 150 yards and two touchdowns going nine-for-17.
Knowles led in receiving with 114 yards on five receptions.
Rodenburg led on defense eight tackles, an interception, a sack, and a forced fumble. Reza had seven tackles and a sack. Crawford took in two interceptions and had five tackles.
Sixth-ranked Mt. San Antonio College looms ahead for the Gauchos.
“This may sound just trite,” McElroy said, “but we really do take one game at a time. We’ve seen Mt. SAC. They are very talented. It’s going to be a battle. Scoring 50 on Mt SAC may be difficult.”
The Mounties are 3-0 this season and went 12-2 last season and beat the Gauchos 23-20 last season with a 49-yard field goal with four seconds left in overtime.
Saddleback is 8-6 all-time against Mt. San Antonio.