Third (over)Time's the Charm as Huskies Turn Away Bobcats 27-20
|Game Statistics||Saddleback||East Los Angeles|
|Time of Poss.||25:51||49:09|
by Cerwin D Haynes
(photos by Stephen Morales @grecomeco23)
In the sports world, a win is a win is a win. There are many paths to achieve a victory, some methods being more aesthetically pleasing than others.
This game would probably not resonate with most people as "visually pleasing". In fact, ELAC Football Head Coach Bobby Godinez bluntly stated that, "this was an ugly game". But with facing a possible three-game losing streak (and a three-game overtime losing streak), the Huskies (2-2) stuck it out through the mire and finally made the big plays when they needed it the most, outlasting the Saddleback College Bobcats (1-3) 27-20 in OT.
The Huskies' offense, averaging 40 points per game so far this season, seemed swamped through the better part of the first three quarters. Down 3-0 in the second quarter at their own 35, East LA QB Terrance Gipson seemed to be struggling connecting with his receivers. He threw a pass that intercepted by Saddleback's Eric Church at the ELAC 40, and Church returned the pick 35 yards to the ELAC 5 yard line. The Bobcats only needed three plays - aided by a defensive holding call - to punch the ball in for a TD.
ELAC finally responded on their next drive, though it took some serious guts and savvy by defensive lineman and punter Daniel Barrales to keep the possesion going:
- With the Huskies initially going 3-and-out on their ensuing possession, Barrales entered the game to punt on 4th-and-8 from the Huskies' 33. Receiving the snap, he seemed to have held onto the ball for an extra second or two while taking a few steps to his right before booting the punt. The unorthodoxed delay caused a Bobcat player to run into him, drawing a five-yard penalty on the visitors. Now, with a 4th-and-3, Barrales received the snap and again held onto the ball. Except this time, he saw room to run and he took off! He rumbled for ten yards before being tackled by Griffin Line, extending the Huskies' possesion. 12 plays later, ELAC cashed in on a 6-yd TD pass from Gipson to WR Trejan Bridges. The extra point was good (more on this in Husky Bits), and ELAC was finally on the board, trailing 10-7.
The Huskies tried to tie up the game right before halftime, but newly signed K Ivan Cervantes missed a 24-yd FG to the left with 30 seconds left.
Saddleback would be the first to score in the second half. After a 3-and-out offensive series by East, the Bobcats returned Barrales's 39-yard punt 26 yards to Huskies' 33. From there, the Saddleback would gain 13 yards thanks to five ELAC defensive penalties. On 3rd-and-10 from the ELAC 20, QB Dartanyon Moussiaux lobbed one to the back of the end zone to WR Daniel Stokes. Stokes looked like he was covered, but he made a excellent catch to hold onto the ball (and drag his feet inbounds) as he fell out of bounds for the touchdown. With the exra point, the Bobcats now led 17-7.
ELAC would again fail to make a first down on their next possesion, losing three yards on a 3rd-and-1 rush attempt. Barrales, punting from East's 12-yard line, couldn't get great leverage on his kick as his punt only traveled 23 yards, downed at the ELAC 35. You can feel the increased nervousness in the home crowd as it looked like Saddleback was about to take firm control of the game.
Instead, the Husky D - playing their best game since Compton - came up with the first of their big plays: on 3rd-and-4, freshman DB Tre Coburn picked off Moussiaux's pass at the ELAC 10, and returned it 25 yards to the 35.
This seemed to ultimately give the Green's offense the wakeup call it needed. Taking over on their own 35, East advanced the ball to the Saddleback 40, helped by a 5-yd rush on 4th-and-1 by Gipson. On first down from the Bobcat 40, Gipson saw a streaking Rene Zaldivar break free down the right side. Gipson lobbed the pass, Zaldivar hauled it in, and raced into paydirt. Huskies would close with four, 17-13 (Cervantes missed the extra point) with 4:02 left in the third quarter.
The two teams would go scoreles over the next 14-plus minutes of gameplay before ELAC finally cashed in a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter. After a Bobcat 31-yd punt, the green would take posession at their own 43 with 5:38 left. An eight-yard pass completion from Gipson to Kalani Washington set up a 2nd-and-2 at the Bobcat 49. Sensing another opportunity to take a shot deep downfield, Gipson dropped back and saw another Husky receiver open down the field - this time it was WR Tyson Schilling. The freshman QB from Houston fired the deep pass which was caught by Schilling, and it was the Minnesota native's turn to run unimpeded to the end zone. With the extra point made, ELAC now had a 20-17 lead with 4:37 left.
But we've been here before: ELAC has held fourth quarter leads in the previous two games, only to see their opponents drive the field, score a touchdown, and tie the game late.
Saddleback began the next possesion from their 34 (Jordan Smith returned the kickoff 33 yards from their 1-yd line). A 13-yd pass completion and two 15-yd penalties (roughing the passer, defensive pass interference) advanced the ball to the Huskies' 23. LB Messiah Williams would sack Moussiaux for a six-yard loss on first down, and the Bobcats only gained four more yards over the next two downs. But K Connor Grace had the foot to boot a 42-yd FG attempt through the uprights, and the game was tied at 20.
Each team had one more possession left before 0:00 hit in regulation, and each failed to convert on a fourth down play. Once again, ELAC faced overtime.
Unlike the previous two games, East got the ball first at their opponent's 25. A false start backed up the offense to the 30, but thankfully it would not matter: Gipson would find Bridges again, this time in the back corner of the end zone. ELAC once again had the lead, and Cervantes, perhaps facing the biggest kick of his life, made the extra point to give the home Green a 27-20 lead.
This time, the Huskies' defense made the lead stand... though it was a nail-biter. With Saddleback taking its turn at the ELAC 25, Moussiaux would complete his first down pass to Zachary Roebuck for 15 yards. With first and goal at the 10, Moussiaux tried twice to find Roebuck again in the end zone, but both passes were incomplete. On third down, the Huskies made yet another huge play: converted DE Quincy Ivory sacked Moussiaux back at the ELAC 17, forcing a longer and difficult 4th-and-goal for the Bobcats.
Moussiaux had no choice but to throw to the end zone. He fired a pass to the back left corner, looking for Simeon Marton. Instead, DB Tre Coburn dove in front of Marton to get his hand in the way of the pass, knocking the ball out of bounds. Ballgame to the Green.
- Ivan Cervantes, signed to the team this week to help with ELAC's kicking game issues, made three out of his four extra point kicks (he did miss two FG attempts). Coming into the game, East had only converted on nine of 19 extra point attempts.
- Ivory played on defense for the first time this season. He had two tackles - both for losses - along with the aformentioned sack in OT, plus a fumble recovery in the second quarter.
- Gipson finished 21-36 for 295 yards and 4 TDs with one interception. Schilling led all receivers with 85 yards on six catches.
- LB Kamron Robinson led all defenders with 11 tackles, with one TFL. Fellow LB Vincent Parra had 10 tackles. OLB/DL Emmanuel Cater notched a sack.
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The Huskies will face the biggest test of their non-division schedule when they travel to Cerritos next Saturday to face the undefeated, #5-ranked Falcons (4-0). ELAC will look to knock off an undefeated, top-5 ranked team for the second straight season. Kickoff at 6pm.