Football: Falcons earn first win for new head coach

Head coach Dean Grosfeld addresses his team after their 56-21 win
Head coach Dean Grosfeld addresses his team after their 56-21 win

For the first time since the 1978 season, the Cerritos College football team was under the direction of someone other than Frank Mazzotta. With longtime assistant coach Dean Grosfeld taking over the leadership of the program, the Falcons opened the 2018 season with a convincing 56-21 win over visiting East Los Angeles College on Saturday night. It was also the first season-opening win in three seasons for Cerritos and it marked the first time since 2009 that the two teams faced each other. They will also look for their first 2-0 start since 2015 when they travel to Moorpark College, a team that has defeated them in four of the last five seasons.

With their starting lineup on the field, the Falcons dominated the Huskies (0-1), as they took a 21-0 first quarter lead. After punting away on their first drive of the game, Cerritos scored on their next three possessions to take their commanding lead. Sophomore Rhamondre Stevenson (Centennial, NV HS) broke off a 49-yard run to put the ball at the East Los Angeles five-yard line, with sophomore David Walker(Cheyenne, NV HS) finishing off the drive with a one-yard run. The defense forced a fumble on the next ELAC series, as sophomore defensive end Jordan Thomas (Norwalk HS) came up from behind to strip the ball away from Cleo Session, Jr. at the Cerritos 48-yard line. Freshman defensive back Zarin Redfud (Paramount HS) recovered the ball for the Falcons.

Facing third-and-14, sophomore quarterback Isaiah Bravo (West Covina HS) connected with sophomore Jamal Tate (Victor Valley HS/Victor Valley College) for 25 yards, which set the table for Stevenson, who followed his 18-yard run with a five-yard touchdown carry. An East LA punt on their next possession allowed the offense to continue their momentum. This time, Bravo found freshman Jovohn Tucker (St. John Bosco HS) for 33 yards and then the two connected for a 25-yard scoring strike three plays later.

It became a 35-0 game after Bravo and sophomore Jacob Gasser (Los Alamitos HS) connected on a 31-yard fade pass in the second quarter, with Bravo dropping in his third scoring strike with 3:02 left in the second quarter when he found sophomore tight end Darrell Cloy, Jr. (La Habra HS/University of Arizona) alone in the end zone from three yards out. By halftime, the Falcons had racked up 435 yards on offense, with Bravo completing 13-of-22 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns.

The play did get a little sloppy in the second half, but the Falcons maintained their commanding lead. As a team, Cerritos finished with 680 yards of offense, with 360 through the air and 320 on the ground. Bravo finished the game 17-for-27 for 322 yards and three scores, with Stevenson leading the ground attack with 117 yards on just 13 carries. Freshman Carl Odom (West Jordan, UT HS) added 91 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries, with Walker concluding with 89 yards on 12 carries. Through the air, Gasser averaged 30.1 yards per reception, as he pulled down six passes for 181 yards, tied for seventh most in a game in school history.

The defense may have allowed 401 yards, but only 168 of that came in the first half when the starters were in the game. Sophomore linebacker Tishawn Barnaby (Centennial, NV HS) finished with 11 tackles and two for loss, while sophomore defensive end Jason Nettles (Long Beach Poly HS) posted six stops. Sophomore linebacker Latrell Stearns (Gahr HS) recorded four stops and even got on the scoreboard when he picked off a pass and returned in 11 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to make is 42-7. The defense also finished with nine tackles for loss and a pair of quarterback sacks. The defense also forced five turnovers in the win.

Photos by Daryl Peterson