ELAC football heads to American Championship Bowl after win

TO THE TOUCHDOWN—Running back Preston Oliver makes a three-yard run and completes a touchdown that leads the Huskies 21 - 14 against San Bernardino Valley College Wolverines. This earned the Huskies their first invitation to a bowl game in 37 years. CN/Brigette Ramirez

By Megan Perry

Huskies come back with a bang for an undefeated title in conference and a spot in the American Championship Bowl next Saturday after a 37-year deficit. The Bowl is to take place at Santa Monica College against the Corsairs, a team that Huskies lost to earlier this season.

East Los Angeles College is ranked No. 16 in Southern California, and is the champion of the American Mountain Conference. The team will receive conference rings and a trophy to show-off for their great season.

The Huskies caused an upset at San Bernardino Valley College last Saturday for their final win in the conference with a score of 48 – 44, which resulted in the Huskies’ clinched spot in the bowl. Although the game was riddled with controversial calls by the referees that would cause dismay to both coaches and the crowd, Huskies were ready to take over.

Freshman running back Preston Oliver said “We had to come out strong, and came out with a win.” He was one of the key players of the game and seemed to be quarterback Aaron Cantu’s go-to guy for big plays. For the SBVC game, Oliver gained a total of 190 yards, 136 of which came from rushing while 54 yards came from receiving.

“It feels good to win. I just go out there and do what I can,” said Oliver. Oliver has a net total of 120 rushes for 776 yards and five touchdowns. Of ELAC’s seven touchdowns, three of them came from Oliver.

The defeat of SBVC is really a product the defensive line as they played their hearts out on the field, doing all they could to keep the Wolverines out of the end zone. Sophomore cornerback Tyrone Moore had played a great tackling game with six solo tackles and four assists. During the third quarter, Wolverines were down by 20 points and had already given up possession of the ball once when Moore caught an interception for a 10-yard return.

The interception started the drive at the ELAC 34-yard line, but three plays and 66 yards down later, ELAC gained their final touchdown of the game. Earlier in the game, Moore was robbed of a three-yard return interception due to a holding call against ELAC.

“We had a lot of doubters at the beginning of the season,” but Huskies came out on top, proving the doubters wrong, said Moore. He felt that the newly remodeled stadium helped them get their mojo back and win.

During the SBVC game, sophomore defensive lineman Christopher Floyd was there for the stop on more than one occasion, giving him seven total tackles, of which four were solo. As the Wolverines were about to make their way down the field into the end zone, Floyd received an interception for a return of five yards. Huskies did not waste their opportunity with the ball and took the interception and turned it into a touchdown.

Sophomore wide receiver Nasir Moore was ranked seventh in state for interceptions, with six for 59 yards that average to about 9.83 yards each. Going into the season, Huskies had not won too many games and the team felt that their crowd had lost faith in them. But that didn’t hold the team back and now they feel the result of perseverance.

“It feels good to be a winner. A lot of people gave up on us, but we made it,” said Floyd after the game. This wasn’t a game where a particular player shined or played particularly well, but the team as whole brought the win home.

Freshman defensive lineman Mike Frias couldn’t help but show his appreciation for his fellow teammates as he said, “We are all brothers, and we love our brothers.”

For the season, ELAC ranked No. 1 for total offensive average yards per play in So. Calif. football with 6.4 yards per play. Sophomore wide receiver Lanny Delgado played an impressive game by stopping any one that came into his way, giving him a total of six solo tackles and interception for a return of two yards. “We had to go 5 and 0. We had to beat them (SBVC), because they taunted us last year when they beat us,” said Delgado.

Carlos Arredondo, sophomore wide receiver, is ranked third in state for receiving with 67 receptions for 797 and six touchdowns. This wasn’t one of his bigger games, but racked up his stats in the games previous.

Wolverine quarterback Daniel Farley was no comparison to Cantu in passing as he only completed 23 for 50 passes, five of which intercepted. On the other hand, Cantu completed 24 for 31 passes with only one interception, which SBVC Jamaal Anderson caught for a return of 11 yards to the 50-yard line.

Cantu had an amazing season as he broke the 2000-yard threshold with a total 2269 yards for 22 touchdowns and five interceptions. He is ranked No.1 in the state for pass completion percentage with 179 completions for 264 attempts, giving him 67.8 percent. Cantu said he and his team worked hard to get where they are today, and it hasn’t  quite hit him yet that they are conference champions. “We aren’t sharing this title with anyone. We sealed the deal,” said Cantu.

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