Monterey Park, CA — The No. 29 state-ranked (JC Athletic Bureau Poll) East Los Angeles College lost a 16-14 squeaker to Antelope Valley College in a game of American Division powerhouse football teams.
Antelope Valley’s upset win ended ELAC’s six-game home win streak.
ELAC freshman quarterback Phillip Tran (San Jose / Archbishop Mitty High School) left injured in the second quarter. With the backup quarterback out since Thursday, it was an uphill battle for ELAC.
“The loss was unexpected, but the team fought hard after I went down and the third backup quarterback freshman Paul Herrera (Aspire Pacific Academy) played,” said Tran.
The Huskies, 1-2 overall, began last season with the same record against the same teams and bounced back to a 9-2 record, the Metro League championship and a Patriotic Bowl win, 63-27.
“We played some really good teams week in and week out since the season began. Tonight, we were caught a little off guard,” said ELAC head coach Bobby Godinez. “We had to kind of change what we were prepared for. We did just fine.”
“You’ve got to give AVC a lot of credit,” said Godinez. “We had a chance to tie it again in the end but we just didn’t capitalize.”
For the second straight week, the Huskies almost sent the game into overtime in the waning seconds. ELAC scored a touchdown with 2.7 seconds left, which got the screaming crowd on its feet. The two-point conversion pass fell incomplete.
“Every week it’s going to be a fight for us. It’s going to be us that wins this game because no one is going to give it to us,” said Tran.
Tran is a high school transfer from Northern California. His family travels from San Jose to all of ELAC’s games. “While I definitely miss home and I’m glad my family commits to come to the games, I’m here to take care of business.”
He was the sixth-best quarterback in the state after the opening game and says, “I hope to return next week at (full strength).”
Down 7-0 in the first quarter, the Huskies fought back. The Huskies missed a 25-yard field goal in the first quarter and were stopped in their next series on a fourth-and-goal from the two.
The ELAC defense held Antelope Valley to three-and-out. ELAC sophomore defensive back Aubrey Mosley-Laughlin (Monrovia HS) blocked the punt good enough for a safety. ELAC pulled within two, down 7-2, which read like a baseball score.
ELAC took the lead with 4:20 remaining in the half, a Herrera four-yard strike to sophomore wide receiver Deontavius Hall (Alabama / Central HS). The PAT failed. ELAC led 8-7.
Two scores gave Antelope Valley a 16-8 lead. ELAC followed with an 11-play, 42-yard drive, but fumbled on third-and-goal at the AV two-yard line with 3:38 left in the game.
The Huskies put together one final drive with 1:34 remaining and scored from a Herrera 12-yard completion to freshman running back Kameron Johnson (Monrovia HS). After the two-point conversion attempt failed, ELAC recovered their onside kick. The frustration of a pending loss added to an ELAC unsportsmanlike penalty.
“This team’s putting it over the top. We’ve got to persevere. We’re going to be just fine,” said Godinez. “We’ve got to look in the mirror and we got to get better as a team to start better. If we can do that, we’re going to be just fine. It doesn’t feel good to lose, it hurts, but I’m not worried. This is a good team.”
The Huskies out gained Antelope Valley in total offense 344-228. ELAC had 177 yards passing to 125 for Antelope Valley. Herrera was 19-of-37 for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
ELAC rushed for 167 yards, Antelope Valley for 103. Leading the Husky ground attack was sophomore running back Lavell Thompson (South Gate HS) with 72 yards and Johnson with 42.
Leading receivers for the Huskies were sophomore Jamal Tate (Victor Valley HS) with 29 yards from four catches, Hall with 21 yards hauled in and one touchdown from two passes, Johnson with 19 yards and a touchdown from two passes and sophomore Isiah Araujo (El Rancho HS) with 19 yards from one catch.
Sophomore running back Marquis Arnold (South Carolina / Seneca HS) averaged 33 yards in four kickoff returns with a long of 47.
Freshman linebacker Garret Rogers (Don Lugo HS) led the Huskies in tackles with 10. He leads the Husky defense with 28 tackles to date, 12th best in the state.
Mosley-Laughlin had five tackles. Three sophomores each had four tackles, defensive back Qua'D Cheatham (Newark, NJ / Barringer HS), defensive lineman Trestan Kueneman (Chino HS) and defensive lineman Amarray Jay (North Carolina / Northern Durham HS). Jay had ELAC’s lone quarterback sack.
I does not get any easier for ELAC. The Huskies play a big non-conference game next week at No. 20 San Diego Mesa College (3-0) at their homecoming on Saturday, Sept. 23 at Merrill Douglas Stadium with a 6 p.m. kickoff.
“I believe in our guys and think we’re going to match up evenly with Mesa very well,” said Tran.
The teams have one opponent in common in Antelope Valley College (1-2). ELAC lost a nail biter to AV, 16-14, while San Diego Mesa won 24-7 against the Marauders.
“We just have to bounce back,” said Cheatham. “We faced the challenges. We’ll be ready to go every week no matter who we play.”
San Diego Mesa College is located at 7250 Mesa College Drive San Diego, CA 92111. The main entrance is at the South Gate. Tickets go on sale 60 minutes before kickoff.
Directions from the Interstate 5 Coming from the North: Take the 5 South to the 805 South and exit Balboa East and turn right on Convoy which turns into Linda Vista Road. Turn right on Mesa College Drive and follow into the college.
Follow ELAC Athletics at http://athletics.elac.edu/landing/index and ELAC Huskies Athletics on Facebook.
submitted by Tadzio Garcia