By Dan Gudino
Football head coach Bobby Godinez was showered with the ceremonial Gatorade bucket after his team won the American Metro Conference championship, defeating Pasadena City College 63-17, Saturday night at Weingart Stadium.
“It feels awesome. It’s a tribute to the players, (coaching) staff, to (athletic director) Al Cone, to everybody who was a part of this. It’s an awesome feeling,” East Los Angeles College Head Coach Godinez said.
Husky players hugged, high-fived, shook hands and jumped with joy on the field after the game. Shouts and chants of the phrase, “East Side” were repeated in the stands and by players.
The game was practically sealed into the half as ELAC went into the locker room, up 42-0 at halftime.
In the first game of the season, ELAC sophomore starting quarterback Jonathan Santos showed a lot of emotion when the Huskies lost to Orange Coast College. A sense of another poor season ahead was felt by fans who said “not again.”
From a 2-8 season last year to a possible 8-2 turnaround, Santos took it upon himself to turn the negative emotion into a bowl game season.
“It’s the losses in the season that push us over the edge and make us come together to play as a unit. We buy into what we preach. From the beginning we came in a saw that this was a championship team,” Godinez said.
Santos threw five touchdowns in the first half and was given the rest of the night off in the second half.
“I feel so good now. I never thought I could get to this situation and come here to ELAC with all these great coaches. We all believe in these coaches and the process it takes. I put the blame on me for the first loss and here we are now in the first year of this conference,” Santos said.
Santos is now in the ELAC history books as he has the third most passing touchdowns in a season with 26. He is seven- passing touchdowns shy of surpassing the leader Aaron Cantu of the 2012 season who passed for 32 TD in that season. Santos has two games to surpass Cantu.
For the third straight game, ELAC had over 500 yards of total offense as it showed a no nonsense approach and continued to pile it on PCC through the game.
The 63 points mark the second most points scored in a game in school history and now ELAC has 370 total points making it the highest scoring offense in school history. The previous total was 357, scored by the 2011 team, which was the last time ELAC won a conference title. Last week, ELAC scored the most points in school history with a 70-26 win over West Los Angeles College.
Special teams did its part on kick return, kick off, punt return and when it punted. The tackling was precise as it pinned PCC deep in its own territory throughout the game.
Husky sophomore kicker Vicente Luis Juan, in the season has surpassed the 48-year-record for kicking the most points after the touchdown. He’s kicked 39 point-of-defenses this season, the previous record was 35, in 1968, by Gene Valencia.
The special teams’ effort aided the defense and the PCC offense never got past the 50-yard line in the first half.
All year long ELAC sophomore defensive end Christopher Blanton went up against 300 lbs. offensive lineman even though he is undersized for defensive lineman. His high motor approach to the game did not allow him to stop.
Blanton, listed at six-feet and 200 lbs, showed the heart of a lion as he finished with four sacks against PCC. He leads the team in sacks with 9.5 and ranks No. 8 in the state under that particular category.
“Adversity, that’s all I face. That’s all we face as a team all year. We keep a high tempo and keep it moving fast, keep it pushing into a bowl game. That’s all that mattered. Have to give coach G (Godinez) credit for doing his job of preparing us,” Blanton said.
Blanton is a sack away from attaining the most sacks in a season in school history.
The Husky defense dominated as it held Pasadena to 19 yards of offense in the first half and finished with seven sacks.
The ELAC running backs once again came through. Together, with six different Husky running backs, they totaled 247 yards on the ground.
The converted defensive-safety-to-running-back of the Huskies, freshman Aubrey Mosley-Laughlin got the start and carried four times for 70 yards.
Mosley-Laughlin had an electric 57-yard TD in the fourth quarter.
Others with touchdowns included: sophomore backup QB Levi Wells, sophomores Cemaj Douglas, CeeJhay French-Love, Khamren Davenport, Dominique Lee and freshman Kenny Allen.
Freshman wide receiver Branden Peterson had the longest TD in the game, grabbing a quick-pass from sophomore backup QB Levi Wells and taking it into the endzone for 67-yards, finishing the game with two TDs.
Godinez said he feels the Huskies might face a second place team from one of the other conferences in the bowl game Nov. 19. Santa Barbara College or Victor Valley College were mentioned as a possibility, but has not confirmed.
ELAC, now 7-2 in the season, will face Glendale Community College (3-6) at home on Saturday in a 6 p.m. kickoff. Local radio station KPWR, otherwise known as Power 106, will be at the game.