The visiting Hornets were led by 268 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Hornet running backs Phillip Butler and Anthony Wood led the rushing attack with 131 and 105 yards, respectively.
Wood got a majority of the carries in the first half and did not disappoint with 14 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown by the half. Wood came into the game as a reserve running back with only 58 total yards on the season but boosted his total at games end with a 116 total yards.
The Hornet defense was able to impose their will on the Griffin offense keeping them scoreless until 36 seconds left in the third quarter. The defense was able to get a touchdown of their own when Hornet defensive back Josh Nelson intercepted the pass of Grossmont quarterback Michael Carrillo and returned it to the end zone from 45 yards out to give Fullerton a 28-0 lead midway through the third quarter.
Fullerton’s defense forced five turnovers on the game which led to 16 points.
“We were able to capitalize on the things we were working on in practice and follow the game plan of coach Crooks,” said Fullerton team captain Tim Roberts. “Our main focus is to do our job; no more trying to make plays going forward. We have to make plays.”
Butler imposed will on the Griffins in the second half scoring on two long touchdown runs. The first coming after a roughing the kicker call gave the Hornets a first down on the Griffin 27-yard line. The next play Butler found the end zone. The second came less then a minute after the Grossmont’s first score. Butler broke two tackles at the line of scrimmage and carried the ball 72 yards for the score. Butler ended the game with 131 yards.
Both teams got off to slow starts scoreless on their first possessions.
The Hornets struck first after Hornet defensive back Deryck Fletcher intercepted a pass and returned it to the 50-yard line. The Hornets capped the drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak from Tanner Hodges giving the Hornets an early 7-0 lead.
The Griffins’ best chance to score came in the first quarter when they lined up to attempt a 29-yard field goal. Fullerton safety Marcus Kirkpatrick got around the edge of Griffins and blocked the kick to keep Grossmont off the scoreboard.
Fullerton went into halftime with the lead of 14-0.
Fullerton was able to see their lead grow to as many 32 points late into the fourth quarter. The last score for the Hornets came on a 62-yard touchdown catch when Jerome Gross out jumped the defender, maintained his balance and ran into the end zone.
“Anytime you can come here and win a game that’s a success its a tough place to play but we were able to impose our will on them,” said head coach Tim Byrnes. “We have got be ready to play. [Saddleback] is a good team, the game usually comes down to the last few drives and hopefully we’ll come out ahead.”
The Hornets know the importance of every game down the stretch as they battle for a spot in the postseason. Although their record show three losses, the Hornets are hoping the CCCAA committee will take into consideration of their strength of schedule and impressive victories of perennial powers. Riverside College currently ranked #4 in the state by the CCCAA and Mt. San Antonio College the defending state champions.
Byrnes expressed his feelings on what he thinks the team can accomplish when they come out like they did against Grossmont. “We have the talent on this team to match up well with any team we face,” said Byrnes. “Before the games we need to be the team that wants to control the game.”
Fullerton (5-3, 2-2) take on conference rival Saddleback College (6-2, 4-0) next week in a must win. Next home game for the Hornets is Oct. 31 at 12:30 p.m. at the Shapell Stadium at Yorba Linda High School.