Football: Cerritos off to 2-0 start after win over Moorpark

The Falcons open the season 2-0 after their win over Moorpark
The Falcons open the season 2-0 after their win over Moorpark

It's been three seasons since the Cerritos College football team has gotten off to a 2-0 start. After their 31-10 win over host Moorpark College on Saturday night, the Falcons are off to a 2-0 start to the season and will look to improve to 3-0 when they travel to College of the Desert for a 7:00 p.m. start next Saturday. Cerritos hasn't won their first three games to start a season since 2010 when they went on to play in the Southern California Championship game. Their win over the Raiders was just their second in the last five meetings.

After both teams were unable to move the ball on their first possession, Cerritos sophomore running back Rhamondre Stevenson (Centennial, NV HS) took a handoff over left guard and busted up the middle for a 78-yard touchdown. Once he cleared the line of scrimmage, he went untouched for his first of three touchdowns on the night.

With the game tied at 7-7, sophomore defensive end Jordan Thomas (Norwalk HS) fell on a fumble to give the Falcons the ball at the 13-yard line. However, a series of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties pushed Cerritos back to the Moorpark 43-yard line and left them with a first-and-40 situation. That didn't faze Stevenson, who took the first handoff of the possession and raced 43 yards for a touchdown. Clearing the way for Stevenson was the stellar offensive line of sophomores Fidel Mendes (Long Beach Jordan HS), Adam Tourville (La Habra HS), Ernesto Ramirez (Bishop Amat HS), Justin Gonzalez (La Mirada HS) and Noah Clasen (Kennedy HS), who helped the team rush for 253 yards in the game.

It became a 21-7 lead for the Falcons after Thomas picked off his second pass in as many weeks. He appeared to be on his way to his second touchdown of the year, but was stopped shy of the goal line. Once again, an unsportsmanlike conduct call at the end of the play helped push the ball back to the Cerritos 48-yard line. After freshman Carl Odom (West Jordan, UT HS) rushed for 13 yards on third down, sophomore quarterback Isaiah Bravo (West Covina HS) lofted a pass to freshman Jovohn Tucker (St. John Bosco HS), who raced 32 yards for a touchdown.

Without much of a passing game, as Bravo and freshman Chris Ramsey (Santa Fe HS) were a combined 9-for-27 for 82 yards, Cerritos relied on their ground game, as well as their defense and special teams to help them to the win.

Cerritos capped off a 14-play drive with a Leonard Arzt (Warren HS/Long Beach City College) 35-yard field goal for a 24-10 lead late in the first half. The Falcons came out in the second half and shut down the Raiders on their first drive. On the attempted punt, freshman Etieni Valele (Norwalk HS) rushed up the middle and blocked the punt, with sophomore Theoren Landeros (St. Paul HS) recovering the ball and bringing it down to the two-yard line. Stevenson finished off the game scoring with a two-yard plunge on the first play.

The defense limited the Raiders to 236 total yards, with 83 of it coming on the ground. As a team, they posted seven tackles for loss and picked off two more passes. Sophomore linebacker Tishawn Barnaby (Centennial, NV HS) led the team with 10 stops, while sophomore cornerback Dior Denson (Gahr HS) checked in with eight solo tackles, an interception and a pair of pass breakups. Sophomore defensive end Jason Nettles (Long Beach Poly HS) finished with 2 1/2 tackles for loss and had seven stops, as did freshman strong safety Noah Guzman (Bishop Amat HS). Thomas added three quarterback hurries and six tackles to go with his interception and fumble recovery in the win.