The Hornets started the game off to a bad start with a fumble within the Cougar’s territory. College of the Canyons was able to take advantage of this turnover as they marched down the field to score a 27-yard field goal from kicker Ty Morrison to put the first points up on the board with a 3-0 lead.
Fullerton College’s offensive woes continued with another fumble leading to a three-and-out and a costly penalty on a punt that Canyons’ quarterback Colton Doyle capitalized with a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Trevon Elliot.
Fullerton College received the ball back with little over four minutes left on the clock as freshman quarterback Tra Edwards led the offense directly down to the Canyons’ red zone to end the first quarter 10-0.
The Hornets started the second quarter with running back Branden Rankins, scoring a 1-yard touchdown to complete the earlier drive. However, canyons answered back with a 43-yard field goal to broaden their score to 13-7.
After halftime, Canyons received the ball and continued to take advantage of Fullerton’s costly penalties. Hornet’s defense was able to hold the Cougars from scoring a touchdown, but Morrison managed to nail a 31-yard field goal to increase the lead to 16-7.
The Hornets couldn’t find a spark on offense to start the third quarter as more penalties held them back. However, after Canyons scored a 35-yard field goal, Fullerton’s defense kept Canyons’ offense from scoring a touchdown their next drive. Sophomore defensive back Jordan Wright tipped the pass away from the intended receiver.
Near the end of the third, Edwards was back into rotation as he fired up the offense and stormed down the Canyons’ defense to the 1-yard line. Once in the red zone, sophomore running back Devin Moore pushed through for a 1-yard touchdown to narrow the score 19-14.
Just as the Canyon’s offense began to start their possession, the Cougars quarterback fumbled the ball to the Hornets’ defense, giving them the momentum they needed.
To start the fourth quarter, quarterback Edwards lead the drive down the field to help kicker Ceasar Velazquez sink the 24-yard field goal to bring the Hornets within two points of Canyons 19-17.
Hornets defense held the Canyons’ offense to just a 32-yard field goal with a sack on third down due to the combined effort of defensive linemen, sophomore Marcus Thompson, and freshman Amari Williams.
With under three minutes left on the clock, the Hornets were in possession but turned the ball over with two more costly interceptions in two separate drives smashing any chance at a comeback win. Canyons ran off the clock in the final seconds to end the game 22-17.
Fans seemed to disagree with the referees’ questionable calls and penalties on the field, but Head Coach Garret Campbell saw no excuse, “Refs are always tricky….but you gotta keep playing,” Coach Campbell said. He also acknowledged fixable mistakes with turnovers on offense.
Even though the loss stings, Coach Campbell doesn’t hold it against his players. “We lost, but our kids battled hard. I’m not mad about that,” Coach Campbell said. “They played their butts off.” With regards to the game plan for next week, “Plan is to win,” Campbell said.
The team and Coach Campbell look to improve from this loss and get ready for their next opponent. The Hornet’s next game will be Saturday, Sept. 25, at Yorba Linda High school against Allan Hancock at 4 p.m.