Football: Quick-strike offense not enough to beat Ventura

Season came to an end for the Falcons with a 44-34 loss
Season came to an end for the Falcons with a 44-34 loss

With three scoring drives that lasted less than a minute, the Cerritos College football team was still unable to keep host Ventura College off the scoreboard. The end result was a 44-34 Northern League loss than completes the Falcons season at 3-7 overall and 1-4 in divisional play. The four-game losing streak to end the season matches the school's longest since the 2007 season.

It was the third straight season the two teams put up big scoring numbers in the first quarter. The teams traded touchdowns in the first quarter, with freshman quarterback Isaiah Bravo (West Covina HS) connecting with sophomore wide receiver Justin Garrett (Gahr HS/West Los Angeles College) on a pair of scoring strikes. The first was a 31-yard touchdown pass that capped off a three-play drive that lasted :40 seconds. Prior to the touchdown Bravo hit sophomore running back Querale Hall (Mayfair HS) out of the backfield for 26 yards.

After the Pirates responded with a touchdown of their own to take a 14-7 lead, Bravo started the next drive with a 17-yard pass to sophomore running back Vincent Brown (Artesia HS), with freshman running back Rhamondre Stevenson (Centennial, NV HS) catching a fourth down pass and scampered 13 yards for a first down at the Ventura 21-yard line. That's where Bravo and Garrett connected for their second of three scoring strikes.

Cerritos continued to match the Pirates on offense, with Brown making a great leaping catch over Alvin Pacheco and racing 60 yards for a touchdown. However, the extra point was blocked and Jaylen Watson returned it for two points for Ventura. That seemed to spark Ventura, who would turn a 23-20 game into a 37-20 game at halftime and eventually led, 44-20 by the end of the third quarter.

The Falcon defense held the Pirates off the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, while scoring twice to get to within 10 points by the end of the game. Bravo, who threw for a career-high 327 yards and four touchdowns, connected for the third time with Garrett, who caught a short pass and then out-raced the defense for an 80-yard score. Garrett finished the game with six catches for 153 yards, with Bravo adding an 18-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the game to finish off the scoring.

Cerritos held a sizeable advantage in their ariel attack, but were doubled up in rushing yards. In addition, Ventura had the ball 13 minutes more than the Falcons, whose personnel was depleted on both sides of the ball due to a season-long array of injuries. The team was out-scored 32-8 in the fourth quarter in their three straight losses heading into the season finale.

The quartet of Devan Burrell (Centennial, NV HS), Shaun Swayne (La Mirada HS), Latrell Stearns (Gahr HS) and Isaiah Walton (Orange Lutheran HS) all finished with nine tackles, with freshman defensive end Derek Thomas (Huntington Beach HS) posting seven tackles to go along with 2 1/2 tackles for loss.