Falcons can’t overcome sluggish start fall to Tiger, 31-16


Briana Hicks

Quaterback Nick Mitchell gets sacked while attempting to throw a pass. Mitchell was temporarily taken out of the game, but returned to score two touch downs in the second half. Photo credit: Briana Hicks

Terrel Emerson

The hot and cold offense of the Falcons has once again doomed the football team.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, the Cerritos Falcons couldn’t shake a slow start to the game and ended up falling to the Riverside Tigers.

Quarterback Nick Mitchell threw two interceptions on the night, both in the first quarter.

Head coach Frank Mazzotta said, “Number one, [Mitchell] has got an injured throwing hand, we haven’t practiced with him much all week. They x-rayed it, but it’s not broken supposedly, but we have to be able to throw the ball.”

Mitchell refused to use his injury as an excuse saying, “I’m not going to disclose that. That’s not for public information.”

Because of the rough start, Mazzotta chose to turn to his backup quarterback Connor Crooks.

Mitchell didn’t seem bothered by the move.

“I don’t really know what to say. You don’t know the context of what happened, what’s going on. Anytime anyone goes in there I am their biggest cheerleader, biggest fan. I’m going to cheer my ass off for them, like they do the same for me. I love those guys,” Mitchell said.

It didn’t take long for Mitchell to get back into the game and give his team the added boost necessary to compete with the No. 2 ranked team in the state.

Mitchell responded with two touchdown passes in the second half.

“I think we just played as a team. I think everyone believed that we could win the game. [The Tigers] are a good football team, credit to them, they played well for four quarters,” he said.

He also added, “I think with this team if we can put it together for four straight quarters of football we can beat anyone out there.”

He would end the night 10-for-21, passing for 206 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

After the loss offensive coordinator Dean Grosfeld decline to comment citing, “You have to talk to coach [Mazzotta].”

Mazzotta weighed in saying, “To be honest, I don’t get involved like I used to, I leave that to my coordinators. [But] we’re doing some things [expletive] backwards, so the old guy has got to get involved a little bit. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

The team will have an extra week to get prepared for their Homecoming matchup with Santa Monica, as it is the team’s bye week.

While the offense was struggling, the defense was being tormented by 6’5″ Riverside quarterback Collyn Anderson.

“[The Falcons] were giving us all the underneath routes, they were respecting our deep threat. So, we were just taking what the defense was giving us,” he said.

Anderson finished the night 18-for-30, with 241 yards and two touchdowns.

Linebacker Alex Bush said, “We need to go 110 percent every snap, we played close to 55 snaps in the first half. We need to fight through fatigue and take care of business.”

To perfectly compliment Anderson, the Tigers went with Seth Acda on the ground.

Acda, who also doubled as their punter, rushed for 112 yards on 22 attempts and scored once.

Acda was a high school teammate of Falcons’ running back Kishawn Holmes. While Acda dazzled on the field, Holmes was held to 58 yards on 16 rushes, with his longest rush being nine total yards.

Mazzotta said that his players looked like snails compared to some of the Tiger players.

Holmes has still yet to score this season on the ground, though he does have one receiving touchdown. Last season, five games into the year Holmes had combined touchdowns.

Up by 15 points with under two minutes left to play in the fourth quarter, Riverside decided to go for it on fourth down. They converted it, much to the dismay of the Cerritos sideline.

Anderson explained the decision saying, “If we’re past the 50-yard line, our coaches believe in us that we can get the fourth down [conversion]. We run a high-tempo offense so if you’re not in shape, you’re not going to be ready to play us.”

Bush said, “Both of our teams are extremely competitive. It doesn’t matter what the score is or the amount of time left on the clock, we were going to fight it out no matter what.”

That wasn’t the only thing that transpired between the two teams. Following the game, during the midfield handshake line both teams were heard jaw-jacking back and forth.

Anderson said, “I think it’s all in the game. It’s a lot of emotions that run high in this game. When everybody cools off, everybody will sit back and laugh about it.

“This is an emotional game, people get emotional. Sometimes I get emotional out there, it’s apart of the game.”

Bush seconded Anderson in those feelings.

“There was talking throughout the whole game, that’s just how this sport works. I don’t think it was taken too far, both sides kept their cool pretty well,” he said.

All-in-all Mazzotta doesn’t feel too much went into the verbal spat between the two teams.

He said, “[The players] watch that [expletive] on television, [NFL players] talk [expletive] all the time. You just have to [maintain] it because it can cost you a big penalty.”