In their 100-year anniversary, the #1 Fullerton College football team will host the CCCAA State title game after beating a feisty #2 Riverside City College team 45-29 at home on Saturday.
The Hornets came out scoring the first touchdown of the game at 10:44 in the first quarter on a 52-yard one-handed catch by Jerome Gross from QB Jordan Hoy. FC elected to go for the two-point conversion and got it on a run by holder Johnny Carmack.
The Tigers went on a small run scoring 13 unanswered points until the end of the half. Kicker John Hilfer hit a 22-yard field goal with 6:14 left in the first quarter and then struck again on a 20-yard chip-shot at 8:44 in the second quarter. Riverside then took the lead with just under five-minutes left in the half when Collyn Anderson hit Jacoby Herring on a deep slant for a 41-yard TD putting RCC up 13-8.
With just over two minutes left in the half, rain began to trickle from the sky. Hornet returner Justin Manyweather scooped up the punt from the his own 46-yardline and bolted through the middle of the field, nearly stumbling to the ground, for a 54-yard touchdown. Fullerton went into the half with a 15-13 edge.
The trickle soon turned into a full-blown storm by the end of the first half, and the game was forced into a thirty-minute delay due to lightning in the area.
At 7:05 in third quarter, Fullerton got back on the board on a 2-yard touchdown run by Gerald Hulett.
The Tiger's Jacoby Herring hit the end zone again on a similar pass-play from 58-yards out from Anderson.
Narrowly up 22-20 with 1:38 left in the third quarter, Fullerton went on to score two quick touchdowns in that span of time. Hulett busted out from the middle taking the ball to the house for a 28-yard score. After a Riverside turnover, with 6 seconds left in the third, the Hornet running game came up big again when Anthony Wood broke loose for a 15-yard run.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Hornets had a healthy 36-20 advantage. Fullerton added to their lead in on a 39-yard field goal by Jonathan Aguilar (9:48), and they also scored six on a 31-yard interception return by Taj Jones.
With time running out and the game well at hand, the Tigers did manage score two points on a safety (1:46) and then hit on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Anderson to Malik Yoakum (1:01).
FC took over with less than a minute left in regulation, and the team simply took two knees letting the clock run out for the Hornet's second SCFA championship.
In their 100-year history, the Hornets have played in four title games with three of those games being played on the road. The first championship, in 1965, was played at Pasadena's Rose Bowl (Junior Rose Bowl game) with the Hornets beating Henderson, Texas 20-15. The second, in 1967, was played at Anaheim Stadium, which was FJC's home site that season. Fullerton went on to shut out American River 41-0. The 1983 championship game was played at Bakersfield College's Memorial Stadium where the Hornets beat Taft 28-7. The fourth title game, in 2013, was held at Butte College where the Roadrunners beat Fullerton 28-13.
2016 SCFA CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYERS OF THE GAME
RCC Player fo the Game - Jacoby Herring - 6 catches for 124 yards, and 2 touchdowns
FC Player of the Game - Anthony Wood - 13 carries for 96 yards and 1 touchdown
MVP of the Game - Gerald Hulett - 14 carries for 97 yards and 2 touchdowns
Up Next: A 1967 title rematch, the #1 Hornets from the south (11-1 overall) will host the champs from the north in #2 American River College (10-2) on Saturday, December 10th. The big game will be played at Yorba Linda High's Nathan Shapell Stadium. Kickoff will be at 1:00 pm.
*Photo by Jim McCormack