Large scoring output falls short as Falcons fall to Pirates

Terrel Emerson

All the weeks of head coach Frank Mazzotta asking what his players would do come Monday and there’s no football, will soon have an answer.

Despite tying a season-high in points, the Falcons dropped the season finale against the Ventura Pirates, 56-35. The loss dropped the team’s record to 4-6 missing out on a chance at a bowl game by one game.

Head coach Frank Mazzotta said, “All along, I thought we were as good as anybody we played, we’re just undisciplined and young. We made some big mistakes and it killed us.”

Since Oct. 22, Mazzotta had been trying to get his players to understand the severity of the remaining games of the season. His players understood the significance of the season.

“[Mazzotta] just told us to hold our heads up. We gave it our all this year. I still think we were better than every team we played, penalties killed us,” Holmes said.

After starting the season 2-2, the Falcons finished the season 2-4 including dropping the last two games of the season at Moorpark and at home against Ventura.

Holmes continued to build on his tremendous freshman season. He added for 1,120 yards on the ground while scoring 11 touchdowns, good for the No. 1 rusher in the state.

At the conclusion of the Ventura game, Holmes had also climbed up to second all-time in career rushing yards at Cerritos College.

In addition to Holmes, the Falcons were pleasantly surprised with the outstanding play of quarterback Nick Mitchell.

Mazzotta felt like this season finale could have been the best showing for Mitchell this season.

“I thought [Mitchell] had a great game. Tonight he played the best he has all year. The guys at LA Valley would’ve got canned, but he got better every week,” Mazzotta said.

Mitchell has been criticized heavily this season after coming to Cerritos as a bounce back from Oregon State. Despite the talk, he was not going to let anything slow him down.

“It all comes back to faith. At the end of the day, football is just a game. When you look at life, you can’t let stuff like that divide you and tear you up,” Mitchell said.

Standing in the middle of adversity, while still having the ability to look at the entire team and being able to be respected as the leader can be difficult but Mitchell did it.

Center Daniel Alanouf said, “I saw that he never gave up and that was one thing I really admired. Even though there were a lot of doubts, he wanted to win so he kept getting up and that’s what it’s about.”

On the same note, Mitchell appreciated the love he received from Alanouf, as well as other teammates.

“My brother was my center last year and in high school, so you have that bond with that position and you spend so much time together. I love [Alanouf] to death and I hope a school gives him an opportunity to play football, I know [somebody] will,” Mitchell said.

In a disappointing effort, the defense allowed the most points it has all season long in the 56-point effort by the Pirates. Furthermore, it was the most points the team had allowed since 41 points last season at Moorpark.

“There were a lot of penalties, we put the defense in some pretty bad spots out there,” Mazzotta said.

One major change in defense was safety Elijah Walker was not in uniform. During the Moorpark contest, he left the game with a knee injury and did not return.

Toward the end of the game, Walker and Mazzotta had words. After the game Mazzotta was still visibly upset.

“I go over there and tell him to move away from [Dillon Faamatu] because he didn’t need to be coddled. And he disrespected me. He’s already been offered a scholarship, they don’t get it; the coaches ask me [about them].

“I told him right to his face, ‘You might not play football ever again.’ Simple as that, you disrespect me; you walk up to me I’ll do anything for you, I ask you to do something and you disrespect me? I’m done, I’ve never treated him that way, ever,” Mazzotta said.

The situation occurred late in the fourth quarter with defensive end Faamatu getting two consecutive unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Walker went to console Faamatu but Mazzotta felt he didn’t need to be coddled.

Mazzotta also added he hoped he’d cool down.

The situation has since died down with Walker saying, “We talked about it and everything was taken care of.”

With so much riding on this game for the Falcons, there was obviously a lot of tension and emotions left on the field.

Holmes said, “It’s harder to say, ‘How do you control your emotions?’ Emotions are flying all over the place and you know this is your last game, especially for sophomores. I can’t blame anybody for spazzing out but it’s all about character.”

Mazzotta understood the added emotion for the team but still felt it needed to be controlled better.

“It’s society today, the [players] see that and react. Like [Faamatu] I told him you can’t react. You have to hope somebody sees that if you get up and hit the guy and you get thrown out of the game. You don’t understand what you’re doing to yourself,” Mazzotta said

After the game Mitchell, Alanouf and Holmes all expressed their intention to finish school strong before turning their attention back to football.

Mazzotta will finally have an answer to his question of what his team will do with no more football on the schedule.