Football: Record-breaking performance lost in setback to Vikings

File Photo: Rhamondre Stevenson broke the single-game rushing record
File Photo: Rhamondre Stevenson broke the single-game rushing record

In a game where both teams turned in big plays on offense, it was Cerritos College sophomore running back Rhamondre Stevenson (Centennial, NV HS) who finished with a record-breaking night. Although the Falcons (3-2) suffered a 46-32 loss to crosstown rival Long Beach City College on Saturday night, they were unable to stop Stevenson, who rushed for a school-record 339 yards and three touchdowns. His rushing total breaks the old mark of 308 yards by Jermaine Whiten against College of the Canyons in 2002. Each of those rushing touchdowns was a highlight reel run, as he broke multiple tackles in his 60, 70 and 90-yard touchdown runs. Stevenson now leads the state with 953 rushing yards, 190.6 yards per game and an amazing 11.2 yards per carry. He is also on pace to break the school's single-season record of 1.527 yards by Darrell Thompson in 1991.

The Falcons took their only lead of the game late in the second half when Stevenson broke three tackles on the first play from scrimmage for a 70-yard touchdown. The Vikings (3-2) had just increased their lead to 10-6, but Stevenson broke up the middle for the first of his three highlight reel touchdowns.

Long Beach City upped their lead to 31-13 midway through the third quarter, which sparked Stevenson, who seemed to run harder as the game wore on. Taking over at their own 40-yard line after a Vikings punt, Stevenson shook off a pair of would-be tacklers for a touchown, while a missed extra point made the score 31-19. A motivated defense shut down the Vikings on their next possession, forcing a punt. Looking to return the kick, freshman C.J. Parks (Mater Dei HS) had the ball bounce off his shoulder pad, with LBCC's Mason Bowen recovering the ball at the Falcons 32-yard line. Once again, the defense held and a missed field goal allowed Cerritos to stay within striking distance.

Enter Stevenson, who dragged several defenders before shaking them off on his way to a 90-yard touchdown run, his third of the game. A blocked extra point got the Falcons to within 31-25 with 12:50 left in the game. The Cerritos defense was poised to make another stop until a roughing the passer penalty moved the ball deep inter Falcon territory, with the Vikings scoring five plays later and increasing their advantage to 39-25.

Cerritos wasn't done and Stevenson started the drive by running for 20 yards. Faced with third-and-two, sophomore quarterback Isaiah Bravo (West Covina HS) scrambled for a first down, with the Vikings getting called for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play. Three plays later, Bravo connected with Parks from 19-yard out and the Falcons were back to within a 39-32 score with 6:07 left. After an unsuccessful onside kick, LBCC's Pierre Robinson did his best impression of Stevenson, breaking two tackles behind the line of scrimmage and went 47 yards for a back-breaking touchdown and the final score of the night.

A trio of players had stellar nights on defense, led by sophomore defensive end Jason Nettles (Long Beach Poly HS), who finished with 14 tackles, four tackles for loss, two quarterback sacks and a pair of quarterback hurries. He was joined by linebackers Latrell Stearns (Gahr HS) and Tishawn Barnaby (Centennial, NV HS), who recorded 13 and 12 stops, respectively. As a team, the Falcons had nine tackles for loss and five sacks, with the trio of Noah Guzman (Bishop Amat HS), Tyson Reed (Independence HS) and Daleoun Arthur (Cabrillo HS) all posting seven tackles and combined for 1 1/2 tackles for loss.

On the night, Long Beach City ran off 37 more plays (89 to 52) and doubled the amount of time the Falcons had the ball, as the Vikings held possession for over 40 minutes of the game. Thanks to Stevenson, Cerritos collected 481 total yards compared to 493 for Long Beach City.

After their bye week, the Falcons will face defending National Champion Fullerton College in a 1:00 p.m. game at Nathan Shapell Stadium, located at Yorba Linda High School.