Football: Stalled offense comes up short in 16-5 loss

Falcons dropped 16-5 decision to Allan Hancock
Falcons dropped 16-5 decision to Allan Hancock

Playing their first game on the road this season, the Cerritos College football team was unable to get their offense going against Allan Hancock College and suffered a 16-5 loss on Saturday afternoon. The loss was the second in a row for the Falcons (1-2), who will host Southwestern College at 6:00 p.m. next Saturday. The meeting will mark just the second ever between the two teams, with Cerritos recording a 34-33 win in 1993.

It was several special teams plays that hurt the Falcons the most in the loss. Leading 6-0 at halftime, thanks to a pair of field goals from freshman kicker Moz Bojorquez (Mayfair HS), things started to go awry on the opening kickoff to start the second half.

On the opening kickoff, returner Bijon Harris (Bellflower HS) mishandled the ball in the end zone and it rolled out at the Cerritos one-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, freshman quarterback Cade McConnell (Los Alamitos HS) dropped the snap and recovered the ball in the end zone for an Allan Hancock safety. With hopes of still coming out with the win, the Falcons decided to quick-kick on fourth down in the fourth quarter with McConnell. But the kick was contested and the live ball rolled around until the Bulldogs' Vic Ganes picked up the ball and raced through the Cerritos defense for a 64-yard touchdown.

The reason Cerritos was able to remain within striking distance of winning the game was due to the play of the defense. Aside from one or two plays, the Falcons shut down Allan Hancock and limited them to just 30 rushing yards on 43 attempts. They recorded 11 tackles for loss and continued to stuff all plays up the middle. If not for two circus catches by Bulldog receivers, they would have been limited to less than 100 passing yards (Hancock finished with 156 yards through the air), with the big play being a 35-yard touchdown pass from Esekielu Storer to Mike McCoy late in the third quarter.

With a thin offensive line due to injuries, the Falcons had their struggles moving the ball and racked up only 22 yards on the ground, while the duo of McConnell and freshman Jordan Simpson (Gahr HS) combined to complete 20-of-43 passes for 174 yards. They were forced to get the ball out of their hands quickly, while other pass attempts were thrown over the heads of intended receivers. Sophomore Bailey Torres (Valley Christian HS) led the team with six receptions, while freshman running back Penieli Lauago (La Mirada HS) had a team-high 19 yards on the ground

In the secondary, the duo of Cody Coleman (Narbonne HS/Northern Arizona University) and Giovanni De Leon (Los Alamitos HS) combined for 19 tackles, while each had 1 1/2 tackles for loss. Freshman linebacker Jonathan Fuamatu (St. Paul HS) had his best game of the season with nine tackles, three tackles for loss and a quarterback sack, with sophomores Omari Okeke (Bellflower HS) and Terrence Simon, Jr. (Cathedral HS/El Camino College) each finishing with five stops each. The Falcons also played the game without leading tackler Victor Clanton (JSerra HS), who missed the game due to an injury