September 21, 2015
In the first two games of the season, the Cerritos College Falcons have “let games be too close down to the wire.” It seems that has come back to bite the Falcons as they have dropped their first game of the year 33-29 to Fullerton.
Ironically, enough the Falcons held the lead for majority of the game. Cerritos College did not relinquish the lead until 10 minutes left in the final frame.
Quarterback Jimmy Walker performed about as well as expected in regards to playing behind an offensive line that is clearly suffering from injuries.
“We didn’t block very well up front. I’m really disappointed in our offensive line. They didn’t even do anything. We almost got our quarterback killed,” Head coach Frank Mazzotta said.
However, Walker seemed to just continue to stick it out for the sake of his team.
“My teammates expect me to stay in there and keep battling,” Walker explained. “It’s what is expected of me as a leader, but we shot ourselves in the foot.”
He wasn’t the only person who feels like they let one get away.
Mazzotta added, “We played [well] enough and we had our chances. We made some plays defensively and we made some plays offensively.”
Walker threw for 350 yards with three touchdowns to one lone interception.
However, that one interception was critical as it came with only 10 seconds left in the game as Cerritos College was driving the ball down the field to potentially score the go ahead points.
One staggering number to notice was the fact that Walker threw the ball 46 times, almost 10 more than his previous season high.
“It’s a team effort but at the time being the pass game was going and they [Fullerton] had the box filled with seven players,” said running back Kishawn Holmes.
In other words Fullerton was sending the entire front seven at the quarterback otherwise known as blitzing.
Falcons’ running backs averaged only 3.7 yards per rush for a total of 75 yards on 20 carries.
While the Cerritos College running game was almost non-existent, the Fullerton running game was alive and well as they rushed for a 132 yards.
Most of the runs were right up the gut of the Cerritos College defense.
Much to the dismay of defensive tackle David Fangupo.
“It really isn’t hard if we just stick to the fundamentals,” he said.
Prior to the game, Mazzotta and staff expressed to the team that Fullerton likes to run the ball and they like to do it right up the middle.
“Coach told us to stay low and get off the ball and that’s really all we have so it wasn’t that hard it was just players playing the game,” Fangupo added.
Mazzotta was not short of words following the game about the defense.
“Until I see the film I’m really not sure but it’s just guys not getting off blocks. We have a couple of guys that just don’t make plays out there. I mean you have to get off a block and make a play. Do you know how many missed tackles we had?” he said.
“It’s like we had never tackled before.”
The front line of the defense wasn’t the only part of the defense that was tested by the Fullerton offense.
While Anthony Murray had to sit out due to a slightly torn ligament in his right ankle, he said prior to the game that it was for precautionary reasons only.
Murray could also be overheard promising coach Mazzotta not to miss another one.
He led the team last season in interceptions.
Due to the loss of Murray, Thadd Daniels was tested early and often.
“It’s not too much of a difficult thing. I just have to [stick] to my techniques and do what I was taught and make a play,” Daniels admitted.
Cornerbacks coach CJ Arnold stated after the game that he called upon Daniels knowing that they were going to challenge him early on.
“We knew going in that they [Fullerton] were going to throw that ball, like I said last week everybody has got to step up,” Arnold added.
Daniels admitted to being out of breathe and winded in the first quarter due to being targeted so much.
With the Falcons’ first home game out of the way, they will look to continue their road dominance as they travel to Ventura for their first conference game Saturday.