MONTEREY PARK, Calif. — Nothing was going to stop East Los Angeles College, playing the toughest JC schedule in the nation, from winning its final game of its initial National Division North League season.
Despite being outgained 269 yards to 190, the Huskies were determined to give their fans a victory turning the tables on a season of giveaways with recovering four fumbles and grabbing two interceptions tonight. Sophomores shined on Sophomore Night.
Gutsy plays, crowd igniting takeaways, defensive stands, a scrambling quarterback and hits heard throughout the stadium, gave ELAC a 28-16 win against Moorpark College.
ELAC’s touchdown drives, two of which were scored with no yards gained, gave the home crowd plenty of reasons to fill the stadium with noise.
TD Drive 1 — Was an opening game, 6-play, 45-yard touchdown drive. The score was from sophomore quarterback Paul Herrera (Huntington Park HS) who completed 5-yard TD pass to sophomore wide receiver Angel Lopez (Marquez HS).
TD Drive 2 — Sophomore defensive back Sam Brown (Lawrenceville, GA / Archer HS) returned a fumbled punt 32 yards for a touchdown.
TD Drive 3 — Freshman DB Jalen Ross (South Pasadena HS) intercepted a pass and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown.
“The D-line put pressure on the Moorpark quarterback then I saw the football mid-air,” said Ross. “I did what the coaches taught us—my job—and went for the interception and pushed it in to score.”
TD Drive 4 — A Herrera led 10-play, 64-yard drive with the score on a freshman DB Armando Velasco (St. Paul HS) 1-yard run.
After the latter touchdown and the ensuing ELAC kickoff, Moorpark’s Lorenzo Bernardi returned the ball through traffic and broke loose. He was stopped after an 8-yard gain by two Huskies. The crowd reacted loudly the double tackle heard across the field from sophomore DB Toni Harris (Detroit, MI / Redford Union HS) and freshman linebacker Nick Ortega (Wilson HS).
“He got through our defense and Nick and I went for the tackle,” said Harris. “There was no way he was getting past us.” Ortega added, “It was quick but we did what we were supposed to do and Toni is a strong football player.” Another hit throughout the stadium was to WR Daniel Munguia (Don Lugo HS) who had to leave shaken up. He earlier had a 16-yard run, eventually shrugged off the hit and returned to the game.
Moorpark tied the score 7-7 just over a minute into the second quarter from QB Ethan Postler’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Louis St. Pierre (Fullerton HS). The Raiders followed with a safety and led 9-7 just more than three minutes later after recovering the ball in the endzone taking advantage of a botched ELAC punt.
The win, one for the books breaking several records this year and finishing fourth in league, was in front of a raucous crowd and a resounding East Los Angeles College Husky Marching Band. The ELAC band echoed the 22,000-seat Weingart Stadium with such epicness with ‘A Tribute to Troy’ when the Husky defense was on the field.
The Huskies Marching Band supported the ELAC offense when on the field with the Huskies Fight Song, “Roll On,” which was accompanied by singing from the Husky fans, the ELAC cheerleaders and the band themselves. The band’s uniqueness helps raise the noise level during football games.
Velasco rushed for a game-high 76 yards on 19 attempts and added a touchdown.
Freshman WR Jailyn Jolley (Pasadena HS) led the Huskies with three pass receptions for 35 yards. Two other Huskies also hauled in three receptions, sophomore WR Cleo Session, Jr. (Garfield HS) with 30 yards and Lopez with 18 yards and a touchdown. Herrera threw for 130 yards from 6-of-24 pass attempts and had a touchdown pass nullified by an ELAC penalty.
On the defensive side, freshman linebacker Kris Jolley (Pasadena HS) had a game-high 13 tackles. Four Huskies each had a quarterback sack, which included sophomore defensive lineman Josh Collins (Jacksonville, FL / Sandalwood HS) for an 11-yard Moorpark loss. Also, three freshmen brought down three QBs, linebacker Carlos Alvarez (Rosemead HS), linebacker Kideam Diouf (MD / Eastern HS) and DL Tali Amosa (Melvin, Australia / Wellington HS).
The Huskies end the season 4-6 overall and 2-3 in the North League taking fourth place in what is arguably the nation’s toughest JC league. The ELAC season included seven teams that were each ranked during this season’s Top-50 National Poll (JC Gridiron). Five of six North League teams were of the country’s Top-50 including ELAC earlier during the season.
The No. 46 ranking gave head coach Bobby Godinez and the Huskies its first national spot in more than 50 years.
The Huskies have one more year in the upper National Division after which they will either get an extension or return to the (lower division) American Conference. “With a good recruiting, ELAC could be a team in the thick of things next season,” said Godinez. “We’re on the rise and in it to win it.”
Follow ELAC Athletics at http://athletics.elac.edu/landing/index or on Facebook at ELAC Huskies Athletics (@elachuskiesathletics).
submitted by Tadzio Garcia