Football: Missed scoring chances hurt Falcons in loss

Victor Clanton (9) led the defense with 10 tackles
Victor Clanton (9) led the defense with 10 tackles

On three possessions in the first half, the Cerritos College football team had to settle for field goals, while host Long Beach City College was able to capitalize on their chances in their game on Saturday night. The end result was a 36-24 loss to the Vikings, which allows their rivals to maintain possession of the Crosstown Cup. Cerritos (3-2), who has lost two straight games, will have a bye next week and then open Central Division play with a 6:00 p.m. game against Fullerton College.

With time running out in the fourth quarter, the Falcons closed their defict to 29-17 after sophomore running back Jacobi Hardy (Long Beach Wilson HS) capped off a scoring drive with a nine-yard run with 2:59 left on the clock. Two big plays on the drive were TJ McMahon (Servite HS) passes to wide receiver C.J. Parks (Mater Dei HS), which put the ball deep in Vikings territory.

Needing to gain possession of the ball at least two more times, the Falcons were successful on their onside kick when Gregory Shelton (Lynwood HS/Los Angeles Harbor College) recovered the ball on the Long Beach 39-yard line. However, on the first play of the drive, McMahon's pass to Brandon Jones (Heritage, VA HS) deflected off his hands and into the hands of Vikings defensive back Isaiah Hobson, who raced 61 yards for a touchdown.

The Falcons did score on their final possession of the game when McMahon hit a streaking Jeremy Haywood (Valley, NV HS) from 24 yards out with less than a minute remaining.

In the first half, Cerritos received three successful field goals from Brandon Petruesco (La Mirada HS), who was successful on kicks from 41, 29 and 30 yards out. The game started with the Falcons converting a third down situation with a 39-yard completion to Parks. But when the drive stalled, Petruescu was there to boot the field goal. After the Vikings scored and their defense held Cerritos, they took over possession, with the Falcons shutting down their offense, forcing a punt. The ball was snapped over the head of the punter and booted out of the back of the end zone for a safety.

It was an 8-6 Falcons lead on the next series, while later in the second quarter, Cameron Minor (Mayfair HS) picked off a Derrach West pass and returned it to the LBCC 17-yard line. But the Falcon offense was unable to get into the end zone and Petruescu knocked home a 29-yard field goal for an 11-6 lead.

The Vikings were able to expose the middle of the field and move the ball on the Cerritos defense throughout the night. West threw for 254 yards, with 11 of his 17 completions going for first downs. By contrast, McMahon was 19-for-31 for 196 yards and was picked off three times, which are his first three of the season. He was also chased out of the pocket and under duress most of the night to the tune of six sacks.

Defensively, Victor Clanton (JSerra HS) and Ikenna Ahumibe (Gahr HS) each posted 10 tackles, with the trio of Etieni Valele (Norwalk HS), Tre'Vion Ballard (Los Alamitos HS) and MichaelAllen Reddy (Los Alamitos HS) all finished with six stops. Minor played a fine all-around game, as he recorded five tackles, an interception, broke up two passes and recovered a fumble.

Photos by Daryl Peterson