Football: Team puts it all together in 36-14 win

Latrell Stearns (10) returns an interception on a failed FG attempt for an 89-yard TD
Latrell Stearns (10) returns an interception on a failed FG attempt for an 89-yard TD

If the Cerritos College football team was in need of a great all-around game, it needed to come against Mt. San Antonio College. Facing the Mounties for the first time since 2013, the Falcons racked up 493 yards on offense and turned in numerous big plays on defense in their 36-14 Central Division win at Covina District Field. It was the first win for Cerritos over Mt. SAC since a 44-38 OT victory in 2008. Winners of two in a row, the Falcons (5-3, 2-1) will travel south next Saturday to take on Palomar College (4-4, 1-2) in a 6:00 p.m. game at Escondido High.

The shining moment of the victory was the performance of sophomore running back Rhamondre Stevenson (Centennial, NV HS), who rushed for 215 yards on a season-high 30 carries and one TD. The yards pushed him past Darrell Thompson for the college's single-season rushing record with 1,552 yards, which breaks the old mark of 1,527 in 1991. All season, Stevenson has seen holes open up by his offensive line that has consisted of sophomores Fidel Mendes (Long Beach Jordan HS), Adam Tourville (La Habra HS) and Justin Gonzalez (La Mirada HS), along with freshmen Noah Clasen (Kennedy HS), Ernesto Ramirez (Bishop Amat HS), Austin Freeman (Rancho Dominguez Prep HS) and Isai Huerta (Mayfair HS). It was the fourth time this season that Stevenson rushed for at least 200 yards in a game.

Helping the team take a 10-0 lead at intermission was their overall defensive effort. After driving the ball to the Falcons 17-yard line, the Mounties lined up to kick a field goal to try and tie the game. A bad snap forced holder Trison Brown to scramble and looked to pass the ball for a first down. However, his pass was picked off by sophomore Latrell Stearns (Gahr HS), who raced down the sideline for an 89-yard interception return. It was his third interception return for a touchdown this season and second in as many games.

Taking possession of the ball to start the second half, Stevenson broke off a 32-yard touchdown run, as he shook off four Mountie tacklers to give the team a 16-0 lead after the extra point was blocked. Mt. SAC put themselves back into the game when Damian Alloway returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown.

Jovohn Tucker races to one of his two TD receptions Not to be slowed down, the Falcons came right back and scored on their next possession. Faced with a third-and-six at their own 47-yard line, sophomore quarterback Isaiah Bravo (West Covina HS) connected with freshman Jovohn Tucker (St. John Bosco HSpictured, left) across the middle. After shaking off Antonio Oliver at the Mountie 35-yard line, Tucker outran three other players for a 53-yard touchdown. The defense followed by forcing a three-and-out, which led to a punt. On the punt, kick returner C.J. Parks (Mater Dei HS) was interfered with, giving the Falcons the ball at their own 42-yard line. Stevenson then accounted for 29 yards on three carries before Parks capped off the drive with a beautiful touchdown reception from 26 yards out. The throw by Bravo (7-for-14, 165 yards, 3 TD) was to the back of the end zone, where Parks was there to pull in the pass as he was falling backward.

The defense, continuing to keep the Mounties at bay, gave the offense the ball back when sophomore cornerback Robert Corner (Buena Park HS) picked off Steven Nava in the end zone for his second interception of the night. It was another quick-strike offensive play that put Cerritos in front, 36-7 at the end of the third quarter. Bravo spotted Tucker (2 receptions, 116 yards, 2 TD) wide open across the middle of the field for a 63-yard touchdown.

Limiting the Mounties to just 124 yards through the air on 11-of-27 passing, the defense picked off three passes and recovered a fumble when freshman Nate Walker (Cabrillo HS) made a tackle and stripped the ball out of the hands of Hykeem Massey late in the game. Freshman Noah Guzman (Bishop Amat HS) led the team with eight stops, while Stearns finished with five tackles to go along with his interception return. It was an overall team defensive effort that led to the Falcons winning their third road game of the season.

Photos by Daryl Peterson