Behind a strong running game, the Hornets defeated Mt. San Antonio College by a final score of 49-23 on Sept. 23.
With the win, Fullerton improves to 4-0 and down their rival Mounties who fall to 3-1 on the season.
“The game plan was to get out there and play hard. I thought our kids did well, especially in the first half,” said head coach Tim Byrnes on his team’s win.
The scoring began early for Fullerton. On their second possession of the game, sophomore quarterback Kane Wilson found the end zone on a 38-yard run where he fought through two Mt. SAC tacklers.
Sophomore kicker Antonio Estrada’s following extra point was good and the Hornets were up 7-0 early.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Hornets gambled by attempting an onside kick.
Estrada’s onside kick was fumbled by the Mounties’ sophomore defensive back, Elijah Gillory and it was anybody’s ball. As Gillory tried to recover, it was Fullerton’s freshman defensive back, Andre Kirkpatrick who recovered the ball.
“That was a designed pooch kick. We thought we had a chance to get the football and it turned out we did,” commented Byrnes.
After regaining possession, Freshman quarterback Ladaius Skelton connected with Sophomore wide receiver Daurice Simpson for a 25-yard pass that took them within Mt. SAC’s 10-yard line.
Two plays later, Skelton faked a handoff to his running back and ran the ball himself for the short rushing touchdown and a two possession lead for his team.
Down early, Mt. SAC’s offense looked to get going by running the ball. Freshman running back Hykeem Massey couldn’t find any holes in the Hornet defense, and Fullerton regained possession quickly.
With the ball back and Skelton still playing quarterback, the Hornets succeeded in running the ball and mixing in short passes.
After connecting with sophomore wide receiver Robert Johnson for a first down, Skelton ran the ball a play later and set his team up for a scoring opportunity.
One play after Skelton’s run, sophomore running back Gerald Hulett found the end zone for his team’s third touchdown of the day.
At the end of the first quarter, the Mounties finally found the end zone on a 40-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Jaiave Magalei to freshman wide receiver Emetrious Scott.
For the Hornets, the second quarter was no different for them.
Another touchdown run for Skelton, a Wilson touchdown pass and a defensive touchdown on a fumble recovery gave the Hornets a 42-7 lead heading into halftime.
“We went in ready and stuck to our game plan. We shined today,” commented sophomore running back Joshua Jeffrey.
Coming out of halftime the Hornets were fired up and looked to remain in control of the game. Despite wanting to add to their lead, Fullerton’s offense stalled in the third quarter.
As their offense cooled down, it was the defense that held its ground in what was a scoreless quarter for both teams.
With only one quarter remaining, the Mounties began to chip away at their deficit.
Sophomore running back Malcolm Ballard ran for a Mt. SAC touchdown to begin the third, but the Mounties needed more than that to get themselves back in the game.
A team safety and another touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Steven Nava still wasn’t enough for the Mounties as Fullerton’s lead was too much to overcome.
Although they held on for the win, the Hornets still weren’t satisfied with their ability to put the game away.
“Our mentality was to come out here and finish the game, we really didn’t, but we handled it as much as we could,” said Skelton.
Byrnes was also critical of his team’s play in the second half saying, “they’ve got to learn that you need to finish the second half and finish games. If they do we’ll be a championship team, if they don’t then we won’t be.”
For the undefeated Hornets, their next game will be on the road against Moorpark College.
“We have a road game next week, and last time we went on the road, we didn’t fare very well. So, we need to go out and crank it up a notch to be ready to play,” added Byrnes.
The Hornets look to continue their win streak against the Raiders next week on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m.