Football: Defense and big play offense leads to win

Jovohn Tucker caught five passes for 131 yards on the night
Jovohn Tucker caught five passes for 131 yards on the night

Displaying one of their better offensive outputs, the Cerritos College football team defeated visiting Moorpark College 62-30 on Saturday night. It's the second year in a row a Falcon (2-0) offense put over 60 points on the board, while the defense limited the Raiders (0-2) to just 34 yards on the ground. The team will host College of the Desert at Falcon Stadium at 6:00 p.m. next Saturday.

The game was tied at 7-7 heading into the second quarter before Cerritos went on to score the next 49 points in the game. There were numerous big plays on offense, which included a 49-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver C.J. Parks (Mater Dei HS), as well as a 93-yarder to sophomore wide receiver Jovohn Tucker (St. John Bosco HS), sophomore running back Carl Odom (West Jordan, UT HS) broke off a 66-yard scoring run. On the run by Odom, sophomore wide receiver Brandon Jones (Heritage, VA HS) provided a great block to create a hole that led to the score.

On the team's first touchdown, freshman quarterback TJ McMahon (Servite HS) was faced with third-and-1 and was forced out of the pocket by Eric Mateo. Slipping out of the grasp, McMahon was able to get a pass off to freshman running back Hickley Ropati (Downey HS), who raced 38 yards for a first down.

A turnover on a kickoff led to one score, which put the team in front, 28-7. After McMahon completed a 7-play, 65-yard drive with a two-yard scoring strike to sophomore tight end Jeremy Haywood (Valley, NV HS), freshman David Solorza (Calvary Chapel HS) stripped the ball from Moorpark's D'Andre Smith on the ensuing kickoff. Freshman J'lon Manning (Bellflower HS) recovered the ball at the Raiders 26-yard line. Two runs by sophomore Jacobi Hardy (Long Beach Wilson HS) led to an 11-yard touchdown pass from McMahon to freshman wide receiver Zach Ruiz (Los Alamitos HS).

The start of the second half continued to showcase the team's offensive output, which led to Odom's 66-yard touchdown run. The defense held once again, but the Falcons were pushed back to their own 7-yard line. That didn't stop McMahon, who dropped a perfect pass into the hands of Tucker, who raced 93 yards for the touchdown. It was just two yards shy of the school record 97-yard touchdown pass from Quentin Davis to Stacy Chukwumezie against Palomar College in 2017.

At the outset of the game, the Cerritos defense came out strong, as they forced a pair of negative yard rushing plays and a short gain on the first Raiders drive, which forced a punt. The defense wound up recording four quarterback sacks and 12 tackles for loss, which limited the Raiders to just 34 rushing yards on 25 attempts. Of the team's 12 tackles for loss, they were split up among 13 different players, as the Falcons spent most of the first three quarters in the Moorpark backfield. The Raiders recorded the bulk of their 355 total yards in the fourth quarter after the outcome had long been decided.

Three players on defense posted five tackles on the night, which were the most on the team, and included freshman Logan Applewhite (Cathedral HS) and Victor Clanton (JSerra HS), along with sophomore Noah Peterson (Villa Park HS). Cerritos had good field position all night, thanks in part to Peterson, who returned four kickoffs for 70 yards, while Jones brought back two for 49 yards. Clanton also picked off a pass that led to a touchdown and recorded two tackles in the backfield.

Offensively, McMahon had an outstanding night, as he completed 12-for-17 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns to four different receivers. Tucker pulled in six passes for 131 yards, while Parks added three catches for 69 yards. The Falcons finished the night with 278 yards in the air and 265 on the ground, with Odom rushing seven times for 94 yards. Hardy (4-for-47) and Manning (4-for-45) were joined by sophomore Jahmaree DeSett (Cathedral Prep HS/Santa Rosa JC), who added 41 yards, which included a 23-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Photos by Daryl Peterson