Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Falcons fail to hold lead at season opener Saturday

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The “Boys of Fall” are back, opening their season at home Saturday night against LA Valley College. In what ended up being a fourth quarter breakdown, the Falcons’ football team were left with an unfortunate loss after leading for the first three quarters of the game.

Head Coach Frank Mazzotta didn’t waste any time explaining why his team lost their first game of the season, saying that he tells his players that “more first games are won and lost because of the special teams than any other reason in football.”

Coach Mazzotta went on to say that his team’s first two kick-offs were returned past the 50 yard-line by LA Valley, then reiterated the importance of having a strong performance by his Special Teams players during the first game of the season.

The Falcons had a stronger first half by far than the second half and were the first to put numbers on the score board.

Freshman quarterback Isaiah Bravo (number 11), completed a 25-yard pass to Sophomore wide receiver Jacob Gasser (number eight), in the first quarter of the game, with 5:52 left on the clock.

Humberto Avila made the extra point, giving Cerritos a 7-0 lead, however, the Falcons didn’t hold on to the lead for very long.

LA Valley immediately answered back with a 15-yard pass reception by (number 9) Faizon Knight that tied the game, 7-7, after Craig Jones made the extra point for his team.

Cerritos came back in the second quarter, scoring another touchdown in less than five minutes, when sophomore running back Roderick Ashford Jr. ran the ball six yards into the end zone, once again giving the Falcons the lead. Avila made the score 14-7 by once again completing the extra kick for his team.

The half ended without either team scoring again and although the Falcons jogged off the field leading the Monarchs by seven at half-time, the game was still nowhere near over.

Cerritos continued to hold on to the lead for the entire third quarter, even though LA Valley started to drive the ball exponentially better than they had the first half, ending the half with a total gain of 130 yards.

Conversely, the Falcons started to show that they were having major difficulties moving the ball down the field and in fact, only collected a total of 15 yards the rest of the game.

The fourth quarter is when things completely fell apart for Cerritos. The Monarchs scored three touchdowns in 14 minutes, two on fumbled balls by the Falcons.

Although the game ended unfavorably for the Falcons, there were individual players that put up impressive stats for their team, especially the young, mostly freshman, defense.

Freshman defensive end Jordan Thomas made big plays, finishing the night with three and a half sacks for 29 yards, six total tackles and a quarterback hurry.

Freshman linebackers Latrell Stearns, Tishawn Barnaby and Bryne Smith each had seven tackles a piece, also, freshman defensive end Derek Thomas made six.

Mazzotta commented that he thought his team would have more trouble on defense than offense, since they are young; but said it was the Falcon offense that played “terrible” that game.

“I thought we might’ve struggled a little more defensively because we are young but offense, terrible. I am not really sure what the reason is but I will find out.”

He continued by saying he didn’t know why his team didn’t do as well as expected, but said, “I am going to get it fixed, trust me.”

Defensive back #26, Junius Washington, believes that the biggest problem the Falcons faced was the lack of communication.

Commenting that his teammates didn’t always know what play they were running, which caused them to not only lose yards, but also resulted in touchdowns being called back.

Washington said he doesn’t think the Falcons need to change their strategy at this point, but to just execute on the plan they have been practicing and is already in place.

Freshman quarterback Isaac Bravo commented that his team was prepared to beat LA Valley, stating that the Falcons “had an array of things that were lined up and certain packages [they] put together,” but despite their game plan being “on point,” he admitted that none of the players executed the game plan properly.

Bravo finished by saying that he felt his team “beat themselves” by turning over the ball, collecting way too many penalties and taking themselves out of positions to make plays.

Bravo is looking forward to their next game against defending league champions Fullerton College and said “If 11 guys do their jobs there is no way we are losing.”

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Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.
Falcons fail to hold lead at season opener Saturday