BY SONNY TAPIA
East Los Angeles College football lost to Cerritos College in a fourth quarter battle on Saturday 21-7.
Cerritos was on the board first with a four yard pass play from freshman quarterback TJ McMahon to sophomore wide receiver Jovohn Tucker.
ELAC freshman quarterback Rudy Garcia came into the game early after replacing sophomore starting quarterback Wesley Blazek and found freshman wide receiver Justin Watkins wide open down the sideline for a 70 yard touchdown to tie the game at seven.
Cerritos started its drive on its own eight yard line and ended up in the endzone for the second time with a one yard rush from sophomore running back Carl Odom.
Cerritos capped off its performance with a late touchdown pass to Tucker for a second time in the game.
On the defensive end, Cerritos had three interceptions for a total of 80 return yards while ELAC only had one in the entirety of the game.
ELAC freshman defensive back Rob Casteneda made the interception but could not return the ball due to being immediately brought down after the catch.
Cerritos freshman free safety Omari Okeke, sophomore defensive back Noah Peterson and sophomore strong safety Keeville Brown all had one interception in the game.
Peterson returned the interception for 55 yards placing Cerritos on the twenty yard line before scoring its third touchdown.
ELAC went 3-14 on third down conversions leaving its conversion percentage at only 21 percent in the first game of the regular season.
ELAC called a timeout early in the first quarter to regroup and came out firing on defense. Sophomore defensive lineman Ben Key and sophomore linebacker Kris Jolley sacked Cerritos quarterback TJ McMahon in back to back plays forcing the Cerritos punt team to take the field.
In ELAC’s first drive of the game Wesley Blazek was sacked by sophomore defensive lineman Anthony Shipton forcing a punt from sophomore kicker Juan Rangel.
Rangel pinned Cerritos on the 19 yard line with a deep punt down field. In the second quarter ELAC freshman defensive back Zavion Avery left the game early and was put into a sling on his left arm while holding his shoulder after taking a hit on the field.
“Avery had a shoulder dislocation and for now we are taking it day by day,” head coach Robert Godinez said.
“We are waiting for the athletic training crew to help him back to health.”
Both of the teams in Saturday’s bout had a high number of penalties called on them.
Cerritos ended the game with a total of 14 penalties while ELAC sat at 15 by the end of regulation. Due to these penalties Cerritos gave up 135 yards and ELAC gave up 121.
A total of 13 punts were also recorded totaling 477 yards on the day. ELAC’s next opponent will warrant a battle according to Godinez.
“Our next game against Orange Coast will be another battle. OCC always has a big and physical team that will fight you until the end so we have to come prepared,” Godinez said. “I believe we have a really good football team and I am very excited for what I saw last Saturday. The key going forward is to learn from the mistakes and also learn how to finish ball games.”
ELAC will play away against Orange Coast College on Saturday at 6 p.m.