After a slow start to the game, the Hornets defeated Orange Coast College by a final score of 66-14 on Nov. 4 in their last home game of the regular season.
With the win over their conference opponents, Fullerton remains undefeated at 9-0 keeping them atop the conference standings with only one conference game remaining.
“We’ve been coming out a little slow of late. That’s something we have to overcome and do a better job of coming out fast,” stated head coach Tim Byrnes.
The Hornets began the contest on defense after electing to kickoff to start the game.
OCC’s offense began the day with a quick first down as freshman quarterback Pete Mitchell completed his first two pass attempts of the day. With a new set of downs, the Hornet defense began to settle down and quiet the Pirates offense.
After being stopped on third and one, OCC chose to keep their offense on the field.
On fourth and one, the Hornet defense stopped freshman running back Deaquan Wojciechowski at the line of scrimmage to turn the ball over on downs.
The first offensive play of the day, sophomore quarterback Kane Wilson rushed for a 30-yard gain to put the Hornets in an early scoring position. Just one play later, sophomore running back Gerald Hulett found the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown.
“I give the credit to my O-line. They got the push and got me to the second level and I just did the rest from there,” said Hulett.
After a successful two-point conversion and gaining an early lead, the Hornet’s offense looked ready to roll as usual, but OCC was able to limit Fullerton early.
The Pirate’s offense mixed runs and short pass plays to move the ball and run down the clock, keeping Fullerton’s offense on the sideline.
Although they were unable to score, OCC was able to keep the game at 8-0 after one quarter of play.
“Their style of play hurt us. They slowed down the game and took the whole play clock down. It was a good strategy that worked for them,” added Byrnes.
To open up the second quarter, Mitchell completed a pass to sophomore wide receiver James Rutledge for a diving touchdown to give the Pirates their first score of the game.
After giving up the score, Fullerton’s offense looked to answer.
On their next possession, freshman quarterback Ladarius Skelton led his team down the field and helped them find a rhythm.
After connecting with sophomore wide receiver Justin Manyweather on a 5-yard pass, Skelton ran the ball for a 21-yard gain to put the Hornets at the OCC 9-yard line.
On the very next play, Skelton found the end zone with another run of his own.
Following Skelton’s touchdown, the Hornets managed to score again before the end of the half in the form of a Wilson touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Robert Downs.
“We went back to the basics. We started executing the right plays that we should have been doing from the beginning. We were off a little bit, but we got back on track,” said sophomore wide receiver Daurice Simpson.
After halftime the Hornets offense kept their first-half momentum rolling.
With Hulett and Skelton running the ball, Fullerton set up sophomore kicker Antonio Estrada for a successful shot field goal attempt.
On the defensive side of the ball, Fullerton forced a punt and quickly regained possession. From then on Fullerton pulled away from OCC adding three touchdowns before the quarter ended.
Two touchdowns from Skelton, one rushing, and one passing, and another from sophomore quarterback Johnny Feuato put the Hornets up 46-7 heading into the final quarter.
Although able to coast to victory, Fullerton didn’t let up and found the end zone three more times meanwhile only allowing one Pirates touchdown.
“We started off slow and then we picked it up at halftime. I liked the way we finished,” added Hulett.
The Hornets look to continue their success next week in their final conference game against Golden West College on Nov. 11.
“Our mindset stays the same. We just take it one game at a time,” said Hulett.
Fullerton will be on the road for their last conference game of the season at Goldenwest College on Nov. 11 at 1 p.m.