By Dan Gudino
A possible snap of a four-game losing streak for the football team, turned into another heartbreak loss on Saturday at San Diego Mesa College, 26-25.
The heartache of last week (vs. Desert 21-20) seeped into a fifth-straight loss where turnovers, two blocked punts, and a safety were all in favor for the Huskies, yet not enough to close out.
ELAC was up 25-20, with 4 minutes left in the game, when the Huskies allowed Mesa to comeback due to two costly and controversial pass interference calls, on freshman cornerback Deangelo Buchanan.
The Huskies were flagged on the winning go-ahead drive on a 4th down which could have closed the game for ELAC, but gave an automatic first down to Mesa allowing the drive to continue.
Mesa continued at the 21-yard line, then a second pass interference call placed Mesa in the red zone (20-yard line). This set up the one-point win and its backup freshman QB Nick Plum to throw a 7-yard TD pass to freshman receiver Desmond Simmons.
ELAC for the second straight week losses by a point and for the second straight week missed an extra point kick which proved to be costly.
A bad attitude was seen from many Huskies players after the game where helmets were taken off and thrown in frustration. Arguing and banter were exchanged by many within the Huskies team as they walked off the field. Two un-named players had to be separated twice as the team headed to the locker rooms.
No one would comment on exactly what was said or why a small altercation occurred, it was obvious the costly penalties, an inability to close its second game in two weeks finally blew up in emotion for the Huskies.
The silver lining for ELAC is sophomore receiver Iheanyi Obinna who this year has caught five touchdowns, rushed in two TDs, passed for a TD and at Mesa blocked a punt and returned it himself for 30 yards in the first quarter.
Obinna was also not available for comment after the game as he was seen taking off his pads and threw his helmet in anger on the final drive for the Huskies with seconds left in the game.
ELAC sophomore cornerback Ryan Cisneros had a tremendous game with an interception, three pass deflections and two tackles for loss, did lightly comment on the Huskies loss.
“It’s real frustrating. I don’t know what to really say, I’m just trying to help my team whatever way and anyway I can. I’m tired of these losses, all we can do is work throughout the week.” Cisneros said.
Running back of the Huskies, freshman Shaq Shelton when near healthy can contribute for ELAC effectively, rushing for 98 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns in the loss. Shelton has missed two games this season and in the six games Shelton has played in, he has hobbled off the field at one point of the game.
“I still have a sprained right ankle. It’s still swollen, so here and there it’s still tweaking. I’m limited in practice,” Shelton said.
Shelton offered his ideas on what needs to happen for this ELAC team to improve.
“I think we need to tighten up on the mental mistakes. That played a major role in the game. Communicate a little better, overall toughness and I think if we clean up those three things, I think we’ll be ok,” Shelton said.
The ELAC Head Coach Eric Marty era in its inaugural season after a decent 2-1 start to the season has gone down hill and hasn’t won a game since Sept. 26, against El Camino Compton Center, 37-12.
“We’ve put a lot of effort and a ton of energy to this season. When you work really hard and don’t get results, it’s frustrating. Its the critical plays. We threw an interception, we lost two fumbles, we muffed a punt, we missed an extra point for the second straight week in a row. There’s so many chances where we can make a play and close out the game and we haven’t been able to do so,” Marty said.
ELAC will travel two hours to the Inland Empire to face Mt. San Jacinto College (4-4), on Saturday in a 1 p.m. kickoff.