Football: Falcons do enough on both sides to post win

Querale Hall rushed for 98 yards for the Falcons
Querale Hall rushed for 98 yards for the Falcons

It was a slow start to the 2017 season for the Cerritos College football team. A pair of losses got them off to their second straight 0-2 season, and just like last season, the Falcons responded with a pair of wins. On Saturday, Cerritos defeated Golden West College, 36-23 and did enough on both offense and defense to come away with the win. The team will look for their third straight win next Saturday when Riverside City College (4-0) comes to Falcon Stadium for a 7:00 p.m. game.

Leading 14-10 at halftime, Cerritos would score the next 15 points to take a 29-10 lead. They got the second half started when the Rustlers (2-2) started at their own 6-yard line after James Baldwin III handled the opening kickoff along the sideline and stepped out of bounds. On the first play from scrimmage, the ball was snapped over Joe Pyle's head and freshman Derek Thomas (Huntington Beach HS) tackled him in the end zone for a safety. 

Both teams traded possessions until the Falcons added to their lead when sophomore Querale Hall (Mayfair HS) broke off a 32-yard run for a touchdown with kicker Humberto Avila (Paramount HS) adding the extra point. Late in the third quarter, the Rustlers were set to punt the ball away, but the snap was wild, which forced Baldwin (as the punter) to scramble for a first down. He was finally pulled down short of the first down and Cerritos capitalized by scoring a touchdown.

Sophomore running back Vincent Brown (Artesia HS) ripped off a 38-yard run along the sideline until he was pulled down two yards shy of a touchdown. Two players later, freshman Rhamondre Stevenson (Centennial, NV HS) scored from a yard out. Golden West came back to score, but the Falcons went on another drive and freshman quarterback Isaiah Bravo (West Covina HS) connected with sophomore tight end Kevin Ventura-Cortez (Savanna HS/Santa Ana College) for a three-yard touchdown.

The Cerritos defense kept Rustler quarterbacks Joe Pyle and John Buska busy in the pocket, as they forced both of them to scramble due to the pass rush. On the edge, both Thomas and freshman Jordan Thomas (Norwalk HS) spent as much time in the backfield as the signal callers. The duo combined for 10 tackles and 2 1/2 quarterback sacks, with Derek Thomas positing a pair of hurries. Golden West collected the majority of their offensive yardage after Cerritos took their 19-point lead.

Freshman linebacker Latrell Stearns (Gahr HS) led the team with 10 stops and forced a fumble, while sophomore defensive tackle PJ Naufahu (Placentia El Camino HS) recorded seven tackles, with defensive backs Alexander Fulmer (Bakersfield HS) and Stanley Norman (Serra HS) combining for 14 tackles and a pair of pass breakups. 

Hall led the rushing game with 98 yards on 11 carries, with Brown contributing 56 yards. The quarterback duo of Bravo and freshman Quentin Davis (St. John Bosco HS) combined to compete 13-of-19 passes for 156 yards. Bravo tossed a pair of touchdown passes, with Davis throwing one of his own. Four different players caught a pair of passes, with sophomore Justin Garrett (Gahr HS/West Los Angeles College) collecting 55 yards on his two receptions.

Photos by Daryl Peterson