Falcons survive narrow 7-3 win over Rustlers

Terrel Emerson

The Cerritos College defense has carried the team all season long, this time linebacker Alex Bush was the leading catalyst.

We’ve all heard the sports cliche “defense wins championships,” but for the Cerritos College football team that has been the storyline all season long.

The Cerritos Falcons got away with a narrow 7-3 win over the Golden West Rustlers

That makes it two straight wins for the team as it will look to make it three straight on Saturday, Oct. 1 on the road against Riverside College.

With the game ending with a score such as it did, it’s obvious the defense was the storyline for the Falcons.

Bush led the team with 12 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.

He was the vocal leader for the defense all night long.

“I just try and remind [the team] that we need to come out firing on all cylinders. I truly believe if all 11 of us are on the same page and we focus on our own assignments, we’re going to be extremely great,” he said.

However, it wasn’t just Bush leading the defensive charge in the game. Cornerback Brandon Ezell stunned the crowd and the sideline with a one-hand interception in the second quarter.

“We were deep thirds and I got a double move and I made a play on the ball,” Ezell said. “I surprised myself a little bit. I realized when I went up with two [hands] I wasn’t about to get it so I had to get that extra reach.”

Prior to the season Elijah Walker said that he felt Ezell was the “most slept on” player in the secondary. Ezell feels that it’s just his job to stay focused on football.

“You just have to have a great mindset, that’s what I’ve been taught since I was little. Just keep playing your hardest every single down, every single play,” Ezell added.

Head coach Frank Mazzotta has said all season long that the team puts the defense in some pretty bad situations on the field.

“We have to give a little credit to our kicking game too, we put [Golden West] inside the 10 [yard line] at least three times,” he said.

Bush, Ezell and the rest of the defense try not to let that weigh too much on their brains.

“As a confident defense we don’t try and think about where we have to start on the field.” Bush said.

The offense was held scoreless for the first half of the game and headed into the locker room trailing 3-0.

That made it 60 minutes without a score for the team dating back to Saturday, Sept. 17 against Palomar.

And in the blink of an eye, 13 seconds to be exact, it all changed.

On the first play of a drive starting at the six-yard line with 11:32 to go in the third quarter quarterback Nick Mitchell found Wide Receiver Stacy Chukwumezie deep down the field and it went for a 94-yard touchdown.

Both players went into detail as to what they saw on that game-changing play.

Mitchell said, “I was just reading the coverage and I saw how they were playing our guys and I just trusted the play and let it happen.

Chukwumezie said, “It was just something that I saw the whole game. I told coach [Jeffrey Fischer] and [Dean Grosfeld] the [Golden West defensive backs] weren’t respecting us so they didn’t (throw the) deep ball (well), so I took advantage.”

After the game Mitchell called Chukwumezie simply a “baller.”

Chukwumezie has been really coming on as of late after only gaining nine yards on one reception in the first two games. Since then he has accounted for 168 yards on eight receptions and a touchdown.

“The first two games I don’t think [the coaches] really trusted me and they didn’t really know what I could do on the field so every week I’m just trying to prove myself,” he said.

That wasn’t the only big play for the Falcons, however it was one of the only ones to not be taken away via penalties.

Cerritos was penalized a total of 11 times for 116 yards, while Golden West was penalized once for 9 yards.

Mazzotta said, “All of our big plays tonight, there was a penalty. We’re killing ourselves more than anything else.”

He added, “Some of those penalties were us just playing hard and some were just stupid.”

A lot of the penalties were made by the defense forcing it to stay out there longer than expected. Bush understands mistakes like that can’t be made.

“We just have to be disciplined and remember that we are playing for Cerritos and not for ourselves,” he said.

Despite the penalties, Mitchell felt the team was not lucky in gaining the victory.

“I wouldn’t say lucky at all. We deserved to win that game. We played hard for four straight quarters and we executed when we needed to so yeah I think we deserved to win,” he said.

Mazzotta shared a different opinion.

He said, “You always think luck has something to do with it. But you make your own luck.”