Mental mistakes lead Bakersfield to 28-21 win over Cerritos


Briana Hicks

Quarterback Nick Mitchell suffers one of four fumbles during Cerritos’ 28-21 loss to Bakersfield Saturday, Oct. 22. The Falcons were playing without their starting center Daniel Alanouf. Photo credit: Briana Hicks

Terrel Emerson

Safety Elijah Walker committed one of the most crucial penalties in the Cerritos Falcons’ 28-21 loss to the Bakersfield Renegades.

In the mind of many, the game could have been won or lost in the second quarter when the untimely mistake was committed. However, Walker doesn’t feel the same.

“Not even close. That one mistake did not cost the team the game,” he said.

In the midst of a shaky Renegade drive, Walker laid a huge hit on a Bakersfield wide receiver. A hit so vicious most of the team’s sideline was barking at the referees for a penalty call.

Having avoided that flag, Walker was penalized for taunting after leaving the receiver but returned to stand over the helpless player.

Head coach Frank Mazzotta wasn’t to pleased with the mental mistake.

“[Bakersfield] tied it up because of his [expletive],” Mazzotta said.

The frustration of Mazzotta stems from the fact that now the team sits at four total losses, already more than the last season.

It wasn’t all bad for Walker as he was able to secure his first interception of the year after having two previous interceptions taken away due to penalties.

“I just spoke it into existence. I told myself all week in practice that I would get one that counted and that’s exactly what I did. The feeling of getting into the end zone was great,” he said.

To add icing on the cake, Walker returned the interception for a touchdown for the Falcons giving the team the lead. Only to relinquish it on the next drive after his penalty.

He understood the significance of the error.

“I can honestly say, my adrenaline took over and I got a little excited and made a bad decision and I’ve learned my lesson,” he proclaimed.

Much to the dismay of Mazzotta, that was not the only mental lapse for the team.

Cerritos suffered four fumbles during the course of the game, including one on the final drive, which gave up the teams opportunity to tie up the score.

Quarterback Nick Mitchell said, “We just need to take care of the ball and that starts with me.”

It is worth noting, the team was playing without starting center Daniel Alanouf, who injured his back during the homecoming game against Santa Monica.

“That was the worse feeling especially since we didn’t come out with the win. It makes me think, if I would’ve been in there, I could’ve made the difference,” he said.

According to him, he will play Saturday, Oct. 29 at home against College of the Canyons.

Offensive lineman Mark Millan was thrusted into the fire and made his quarterback very proud.

“Obviously, we would love to have [Alanouf] out there, but I was proud of [Millan] and the way he battled out there,” Mitchell said.

Even though, Alanouf was not on the field he did spend time on the sideline shouting instructions to his offensive line in order to get it pumped up for action.

In the process, the 6’2″, 275-pound sophomore made an unlikely foe in 5’10”, 185-pound freshman Cristion Brown.

“I was just trying to root on my teammates and I guess that got to his head. That wasn’t intentionally what I was going for but I mean it worked and got in his head a little bit,” Alanouf said.

Even with all of the miscues, the Falcons still had a shot to tie the game on the last drive.

Mitchell missed a wide-open receiver in Jacob Gasser down the right sideline.

“That’s a throw I need to make to put us in a situation to win the game,” the sophomore quarterback said.

Mazzotta felt the game would have been close if it was not for lack of aerial attack for the Falcons.

“We don’t have much of a choice, the running game isn’t working because team’s are stopping the run. If we could throw the ball, we would’ve beat them by 30 points,” he said.

The team was forced once again to stick with the ground game despite the early struggles. Running back Kishawn Holmes rushed for 132 yards on 22 rushes and scored two touchdowns.

As a result of being relied on so heavily Holmes fumbled with just eight minutes left with the team down a score, on the 21 yard-line.

Side Note: Linebacker Kijon Washington left the game in the second quarter after suffering a concussion.

He said, “I went to make the tackle, I lowered my head causing a [Bakersfield player’s] knee to hit my helmet […] I remember my vision being blurry and I fell to the ground because I felt nauseous.”

Washington, who sat out the homecoming game, had never had a concussion prior to the game.

“It was extremely difficult for me to sit out this game because I [was fully prepared for this game]. So when I got hurt […] it was just a hard pill for me to swallow.

“You get 10 games, maybe 13 to impress college coaches. I’ve already lost one and a half games during my sophomore season, I’m coming out these last three games hungrier than ever.”