Football comes up short during alumni night

Hall of Fame—Former ELAC football Coach Al Padilla, who guided the Huskies to the 1974 state championship and was the state’s Coach of the Year, receives a plaque from Maria Elena Yepes, ELAC Alumni Association president, to mark his induction into the alumni’s Emerald Hall of Fame Saturday. The association honored the 1974 team as part of its “Celebration of Champions” homecoming festivities in the ELAC Stadium Garden prior to the Huskies’ game versus Mt. San Antonio. Photo by Jose Marin

By Andrew Ayala

Flags flooded the field both in favor and against the Huskies as they struggled to finish strong during Saturday’s 21-16 loss to Mount San Antonio College at home.

Before the game against Mt. SAC, alumni football night was celebrated at the East Los Angeles College Garden.

The ELAC Alumni Association honored the 1974 state of California coach of the year, Al Padilla and the undefeated 1974 ELAC football team. 

Every five years the team gathers and is honored with a dinner and a ceremony. 

“Today we had a tremendous turnout of the athletes that were on the team then, that are still living. Many of them showed up here tonight to honor Al Padilla and receive some awards from the school themselves,” Hrair Shekerjian, former ELAC counselor and football announcer,said.

ELAC had many drives that either put them inside or close to the red zone. 

“I think at the end of the day, we just need to learn how to finish. Finish drives, finish ball games. You know, learn to make that big play at the end,” Robert Godinez, head coach, said. 

“We’re just as good as anybody we play.”

Both teams had a number of penalties that kept the game pretty even up until the beginning of the fourth quarter, where Mt. SAC hammered in two touchdowns to give them a 21-9 lead over the Huskies. 

ELAC  sophomore running back Pierre Robinson made a huge 62- yard kick-return during the fourth quarter, which brought the Huskies deep into Mt. SAC territory. 

The Huskies had four kick returns for a total of 129 yards.

Sophomore defensive linemen Ben Key answered quickly by smashing his way into the end zone for a touchdown followed by a successful extra point to change the score to 21-16. 

“The turnovers we got helped us. Then we scored a touchdown and a field goal, so that changed the momentum,” Key said.

ELAC quarterback Wesley Blazek completed multiple passes to sophomore receivers Daniel Munguia, Bryan Jones and freshman Justin Watkins, but wasn’t able to get a spark going in the first half. 

Jones had a total of 59 receiving yards and Munguia had 56. 

Blazek threw 174 passing yards, with his longest pass being 55 yards to Jones. 

Sophomore kicker Juan Rangel made three out of the five field goal attempts,with his longest being 50 yards.

Time after time the Husky defense forced Mt. SAC’s punting unit onto the field, but the Husky offense failed to respond with a touchdown. 

The first and second quarters were defensively dominant by both teams, since punts were forced and only field goals were allowed. 

“Our offense needs to work on executing. The defense just needs to work on the little things between the DB’s (defensive backs), like communication and stuff,” Key said. 

The Huskies look to regain and return to a winning streak starting with Saturday’s away game against Southwestern College at 6 p.m.

“We had little mistakes here and there, but we’ll try and fix them during the week. Then after that, we’ll be solid. Other than that, we just need to work hard,” Key said. 

“We’ll go into conference, get a ring and we’ll be solid.”

 Emmanuel Cater freshman defensive linemen had the only sack of the night for ELAC. The defense allowed 33% of third-down conversions.

“We played hard. Every single down. We got a good football team. What hurt us is just not finishing. We had our opportunities to win this ball game and we just didn’t take advantage of them,” Godinez said. 

“We just need to fix those mental mistakes. We can’t give up big plays. We just need to be able to control what we can control and we’ll be good.”

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