Football: Cerritos overcomes slow start to post win

Logan Applewhite (13) helped lead the defense against Pasadena City
Logan Applewhite (13) helped lead the defense against Pasadena City

Interceptions on their first two possessions might have been cause for concern for the Cerritos College football team in their 2021 season opener against visiting Pasadena City College on Saturday night. They also had a three-and-out the third time they had the ball, but relied on their defense to regain the momentum, as the Falcons recorded a 22-10 win over the Lancers. The game, which was broadcast live on YouTube by SoCal College Sports, was reported to have had over 5,000 viewers.

After their next drive stalled, freshman quarterback Cade McConnell (Los Alamitos HS) dropped in a pooch punt that was downed at the Pasadena City 2-yard line with the Falcons trailing, 3-0. After a penalty moved them back to the 1-yard line, sophomore linebacker Victor Clanton (JSerra HS) split through the offensive line and tackled quarterback Kade Wentz in the end zone for a safety. On the ensuing free kick, sophomore J'lon Manning (Bellflower HS) returned the ball 45 yards, which set the Falcons up at the Lancers 12-yard line.

On the second play of the drive Manning (pictured, below) reached the end zone, with Cerritos taking an 8-3 lead after the extra point was missed.

That swing in the action would go on to lead the Falcons to 22 consecutive points to record the win. 

J'lon Manning had 131 total yards against the Lancers Two plays into the next drive, sophomore defensive back Cody Coleman (Narbonne HS/Northern Arizona University) picked off Edward Norton at the Falcons 45-yard line, which would lead to a sustained 11-play, 55-yard drive that resulted in a Davon Booth (El Monte HS) rushing touchdown from a yard out. On the drive, Cerritos converted a pair of third down plays, including a 14-yard McConnell completion to sophomore wide receiver DeJour Smith (Long Beach Wilson HS/Saddleback College). Booth would score the final touchdown for the Falcons in the third quarter on a six-yard pass from freshman Jordan Simpson (Gahr HS).

Even while the offense was starting to heat up, the defense came into the game ready. They pressured both Lancer quarterbacks the entire night and had them at negative rushing yards until the starting unit took a break late in the second half.

The defensive finished with nine tackles for loss, along with three sacks, with Clanton contrbuting three tackles behind the line of scrimmage, along with a quaterback hurry. Coleman led the defense with six stops, while the duo of sophomore Cameron Minor (Mayfair HS) and Jonathan Fuamatu (St. Paul HS) each posted five tackles. It was a balanced defensive attack and strong secondary performance, as they broke up six passes and picked off three.

The quarterback duo of Simpson and McConnell struggled at times as they went a combined 15-of-34 for 121 yards, while the running back tandem of Manning (86 yards) and Booth (73 yards) did a fine job.

Photos by Daryl Peterson