After snapping their 33 year championship drought, the Fullerton College Hornets look to repeat as national champions heading into the CCCAA 2017 playoffs.
Fullerton has stormed their way back into the playoffs, going 10-0 in the regular season and winning their games by an average 40 points. Their win streak, dating back to last season, has reached 16-0 under head coach Tim Byrnes.
The Hornets offensive attack this season has been led by sophomore quarterback Kane Wilson and freshman quarterback Ladarius Skelton. The duo have combined for 2,415 total passing yards and a 24 passing touchdowns along with their combined 18 rushing touchdowns and 1300 rushing yards during their perfect season.
“I came here to try to get them back to back [championships]… if that happens there would be no words for it. It would be a blessing,” stated Wilson.
The success of the offense has been aided by a strong running game and reliable performances by their wide receivers led by sophomores Robert Johnson and Markus Grossman.
“Coach Campbell has his game plan and all we’ve got to do is execute the game plan,” said Sophomore Running-Back Gerald Hulett.
On the other side of the ball, Fullerton’s defense has held opponents to 17 points per game and 323 total yards of offense per game.
Sophomore defensive end Montre Bonner leads the defense with 7.5 sacks while sophomore defensive back Davion Bullock and sophomore line backer Cody Darrow have helped solidify the back end of the defense, each hauling in interceptions over the season.
“As long as the offense is doing there thing, they just put us in a more comfortable position,” stated Bonner.
Returning sophomore Justin Manyweather has shown big play capability as the team’s lead kick and punt returner. This season Manyweather has returned kicks and punts for more than 700 total yards while finding the end zone twice. Off the field as well, Manyweather looks to share his playoff experience from last year with his current team.
“I tell them to take it day by day. Don’t really look to far into the future because you can’t control what’s in the future, you only control what’s going on right now, so do what you can right now and everything else will play out,” said Manyweather.
From the offense to defense and special teams, the Hornets’s well-balanced team is ready for the playoffs, seeking to become back-to-back champions.
“This is what we’ve been working for. Its been the goal the whole time and I’m just glad everybody stuck on course and didn’t let any distractions get in our way,” added Bonner.
With their sights set on repeating as national champions, Fullerton begins their playoff run against Saddleback College, a team who they beat 56-35 earlier this season.
“We beat them once and didn’t have our best game, so if we come out here and play our best game it should be an easier bout than the last one,” added Wilson.
The Hornets playoff run begins Saturday Nov. 18 at 1 p.m at Whittier College.
“To be able to repeat and go undefeated, that would be something special,” added Manyweather, “It is something that we’ll talk about forever.”