by Cerwin D. Haynes
Coming off their bye week, East Los Angeles College was looking to improve upon their competitive play to open the second half of their season. Visiting Veterans Memorial Stadium, the Huskies were looking for a strong start to conference play. Instead, they were soundly beaten by the Long Beach City College Vikings 33-9.
The Husky defense began the first quarter on script, forcing the Vikings to go 3-and-out on the first drive. ELAC's offense started their drive at their own 45-yd line and advanced to the Long Beach 39 before a third down sack forced East LA to punt from midfield. They would pin the Vikings down at their own five-yard line.
And that's when the troubles began for the visiting Huskies.
Long Beach City would only need seven plays to gain all 95 yards needed for their first touchdown, a seven-yard run by Vikings QB Derrach West. On the ensuing drive, East LA would again stall at midfield and punt. And again, Long Beach would drive down the field for a touchdown - a one-yard goal-line plunge by West again. John Tuitupou would block the PAT. The Huskies would trail at halftime 13-0, having been out-gained in yardage 278 to 64.
The third quarter would unfortunately show more of same trends as the first half: the Huskies' offense would only advance to midfield before two sacks and a holding penalty backed them up and forced another punt. The Vikings put together a 13-play, 61-yard drive for their third TD - a Talaun Patton one-yard push across the goal line.
With the score now 20-0, ELAC returned a short LBCC kickoff to start at their 45. The offense stalled again, but a fake punt on fourth down caught the Vikings off-guard. Jamaal Evans took the direct snap and ran 23 yards to the Long Beach 30, breathing life into the anemic offense. A false start backed the Huskies up to the Vikings 35, and QB Wesley Blazek hit WR Daniel Munguía with a 26-yard pass to set up the Huskies' first red-zone visit. But on the very next play, Blazek threw an interception to Long Beach DB Malik Welch who returned the pick 47 yards.
East LA would not score until the fourth quarter, albeit in an unorthodox manner. Immediately after giving up a dagger-through-the-heart 45-yard LBCC TD pass from West to WR Zack Leets, ELAC's Tuitupou again blocks the point-after kick, which was scooped up by Shamar Whestone and returned for a Huskies two-point conversion. The score was then 26-2 for the home-team Vikings - ELAC finally got on the board, but it was ultimately too little too late.
- ELAC would score their lone touchdown with 1:20 left in the game: a Rudy Garcia two-yard scoring pass to WR Jaden James.
- Total offensive yardage: LBCC 544 yards, ELAC 184.
- East LA's defense had only given up an average of less than 80 yards rushing through their first five games. Tonight, they gave up a staggering 234 yards on the ground.
- Neither Husky QB Rudy Garcia nor Wesley Blazek had any substantial success passing the ball. Garcia was only 6 of 13 for 44 yards and an interception in the first half (he'd finish with 61 passing yards). Blazek, who came on in the third quarter, finished 3 of 12 for 50 yards and a pick.
- Huskies were uncharacteristically dominated at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The offensive line gave up 5 sacks and couldn't create room for Husky ball-carriers. The defense was consistently gashed for big plays on the ground and through the air.
East LA returns home next Saturday to continue conference play. They'll try and stop a three-game slide against visiting College of the Canyons. Kickofff is Saturday, October 26th at Weingart Stadium, 6pm.