Falcons falter toopen the season

As the Cerritos College Football team entered its first season game Saturday against Chaffey, the team also entered into the possibility of a 14 game season instead of the 10 game season of a year ago. Southern California has expanded its playoffs from two to eight for the state title berth. Cerritos squandered an opportunity to go start off on the right foot and put behind them their first ever Strawberry Bowl loss, by losing 32-21 to the Chaffey Panthers who them selves had something to prove after their title game loss last year to College of the Canyons.

After Cerritos allowed the opening kick off to be returned all the way for the score the Falcons saw themselves fighting from behind all game.

“Were going to be young,” Head Football Coach Frank Mazzotta said before the game.

This was visible in the teams numerous defensive penalties and poor special team play.

Despite a 17-14 half time score the Panthers had a sizeable lead psychologically, as they had their way with the young Falcon defense who only returned 10 sophomores on the entire roster on defense this season.

The Cerritos defense was victim to several trick and deception plays that led to Panther scores. Throughout the night, the Falcons appeared to stuff Chaffey at the line of scrimmage, only to see the Panthers break off a big end around play to keep a drive going.

Of the 11 passes they completed, four of them went for more than 25 yards, while a 64-yard end reverse netted them more than half of their 125 yards on the ground for the game.

By contrast, the Falcons found themselves in poor field position all night and could only account for one pass play and one running play over 20 yards. Despite the lack of big plays, Cerritos was in position to take the lead after a 1-yard plunge by freshman running back Daniel Dixon cut the deficit to 26-21.

On the second play of their next drive, the Panthers coughed up the ball when quarterback Christopher Drake was sacked and sophomore linebacker Eric Portley recovered the ball at the Chaffey 32-yard line.

Freshman quarterback Kevin Brown, who directed the team to their previous score, threw incomplete passes on third and fourth down and the team was forced to turn the ball back over.

Cerritos would not be able to cross midfield the reminder of the game, while Chaffey tacked on two more field goals for their final margin.

The loss sets the Falcons back on their drive to make it into the new play off system, that instead of just taking the top two ranked teams. According to a poll, the top five spots go to a conference champion two Mission Conferences, two Western State Conferences and one in the Foothill Conference. The other three are determined by the final regular season SoCal poll.

Next week, Cerritos will look to even their record, as they face a much-improved Compton 0-1 team that is coming off a 28-14 loss to Fullerton.

The last time the Falcons and Tartars faced each other was back during the 1987 season, where Cerritos posted a 35-7 win and they hold a 7-1 series edge. The game will be played in the refurbished Tartar Stadium next Saturday at 1:00 p.m.