Football: Defense shuts down Santa Monica in 31-7 win

Derek Thomas helped lead the Falcons to their win over Santa Monica
Derek Thomas helped lead the Falcons to their win over Santa Monica

With the offense needing two quarters to get going, the Cerritos College defense came out ready to go in a 31-7 SCFA Northern League win over host Santa Monica College on Saturday afternoon. The Falcons scored 21 of their points in the second half and evened their season record to 3-3, while they are 1-0 in league play. The team will host Bakersfield College at 7:00 p.m. next Saturday in their annual Homecoming Game.

Leading a defensive attack that limited the Corsairs (1-5, 0-1) to just 53 yards on the ground was freshman defensive end Derek Thomas (Huntington Beach HS), who recorded a season-high three sacks, along with 2 1/2 tackles for loss and a team-leading seven tackles..

Holding on to a 3-0 lead in the second quarter, freshman free safety Devan Burrell (Centennial, NV HS) stepped in front of a Paul Davis pass and returned it 55 yards for a Cerritos touchdown and a 10-0 advantage. On Santa Monica's next drive, Thomas sacked Davis on the first play and faced with third-and-10, freshman defensive end Omar Garcia (Norwalk HS) knocked Davis to the ground on an incomplete pass, which also knocked the quarterback out of the game.

The Falcons took over possession with 6:44 left in the first half and held the ball until the end of the half, but came up empty in their attempt to add to their lead. The replacement for Davis, John Martinos, was under duress the entire second half and was only 4-for-11 and sacked three times. Joining Thomas on defense with good games included sophomore defensive back Josiah Celestine (Rogers, WA HS) and freshman defensive back Alexander Fulmer (Bakersfield HS), who both posted six tackles.

Offensively, freshman quarterback Quentin Davis (St. John Bosco HS) completed 11-of-14 passes for 98 yards and also scrambled six times for 28 yards and a touchdown. He led the team on a 10-play, 72-yard drive in the third quarter that put the team ahead, 17-0. On that drive, Davis completed four consecutive passes and then accounted for the final 10 yards on the ground for a touchdown. Added in that was a nice 23-yard run by sophomore running back Querale Hall (Mayfair HS), who finished with 74 yards on 11 carries.

Then, on their next offensive drive after the defense forced another punt, thanks in part to another sack by Thomas, Davis took the team downfield again for another touchdown. The drive started with a 19-yard completion to sophomore tight end Tanner Gill (Savanna HS/Fullerton College), while Davis ran for 18 yards. Hall capped off the drive with a five-yard scoring run. Freshman quarterback Isaiah Bravo (West Covia HS) led the team to their final touchdown drive, which started with a 47-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Justin Garrett (Gahr HS/West Los Angeles College). Three plays later, Bravo hit sophomore tight end Kevin Ventura-Cortez (Savanna HS/Santa Ana College), who was streaking across the end zone.

Bravo passes for 108 yards, while eight different receivers caught passes on the day. Ventura-Cortez led the team with five receptions, with Garrett pulling in four passes for 80 yards.

Photos by Daryl Peterson