Like last season, Fullerton College has earned the No. 1 seed in the SCFA for the state playoffs, except this year the Hornets will have a re-match with their conference rival No. 4 Saddleback College at Whittier College's Memorial Stadium this Saturday, November 18th.
The other playoff matchup will also be played this Saturday featuring #2 Riverside City College and #3 Ventura College at RCC's Wheelock Stadium. Kickoff is 6:00 pm. The playoff winners will battle it out in the SCFA Championship game on Saturday, November 25th at the site of the highest remaining seed. The 2017 Southern California Football Association champion will move on to the CCCAA State Championship game against the North's champion on December 9th at Sacramento City College's Hughes Stadium.
The Saddleback College Gauchos (8-2 overall, 4-1 conference) won their last three regular season games heading into the post-season with their only conference loss coming from Fullerton College back in October (56-35). Their first defeat of the season was against #4 Ventura College, a 44-34 road-loss. Last season, the Gauchos handed the Hornets their only loss on the season as both teams shared the Southern Conference crown. Saddleback has won three conference titles in the last six seasons and won three state titles. Their last state title came in 1996.
The Gauchos and Hornets have played 34 times with their first meeting taking place at Santa Ana for the 1982 Pony Bowl. Fullerton won that bowl game 38-6. The overall series is a close one with Saddleback holding 17-16 edge over the Hornets.
The 2017 Gauchos have a lethal offense that can score at will averaging 46.2 points a game. Their passing game averages 327.5 yards a game, and their ground game is averaging 146.7 yards per game.
Leading the way for the Gaucho offense, is sophomore quarterback Cam Humphrey who has thrown for 2,136 yards, with 19 touchdowns, and only 6 interceptions (155 completions, 237 attempts, 65.4%). Not to be outdone, Saddleback has another QB in freshman Max Gilliam who has thrown for 924 yards, 8 TDs, and 5 interceptions. The Saddleback running game has a very capable running back in freshman Emari Demercado. He has rushed for 1,009 yards and 15 touchdowns on 139 carries. Clinton Allen is the team's leading wideout with 65 receptions for 1,100 yards. He is very dangerous scoring 12 touchdowns this season. Demercado is also the Gaucho's second leading receiver with 47 receptions and 2 TDs.
The Hornets have a chance to do something that has never been done in the program's history… win back to back state championships. Even during Coach Hal Sherbeck's historic 47-game win-streak (1961-66), a feat of this nature has never been done. The Southern Conference champions ended their regular season with an undefeated record of 10-0. The last time Fullerton College did that was in 2013. Fullerton's high-flying offense broke many records along way averaging a record-breaking 58.1 points a game. In the air, FC averaged 303.1 and on the ground 276.3 yards a game. The Hornet Defense held their opponents to a 56.7-yard rushing average and a passing average of 266.8.
The Hornets actually have a three-headed monster at quarterback in Ladarius Skelton, Kane Wilson, and Johnny Feauto. All three QBs not only have excellent arms, but they can also slash through defenses using their legs. Skelton leads the team in rushing with 1,012 yards with 14 touchdowns on 106 carries. Ladarius is second on the team in passing with 845 yards, 9 TDs, and 3 interceptions (57 completions, 98 attempts, 58.2%). Wilson has led the team in the air with 1,570 yards, 15 TDs, and 4 interceptions (107 completions, 153 attempts, 69.9%). Feauto has been nothing shy of solid for FC throwing for 528 yards, 4 TDs, and 1 interception (39 completions, 61 attempts, 63.9%). The Hornet running back position is headed up by sophomore Gerald Hulett, who has been dominant matching Skelton with 14 touchdowns. He has 559 yards on 98 carries. Hulett is also third on the team in receptions with 21 for 221 yards and 2 TDs. Receivers Markus Grossman (28 catches, 398 yards, 4 TDs) and Robert Johnson (27 catches, 518 yards, 6 TDs) are two threats that can hurt any defense, but the position is stacked with talented players. Daurice Simpson, Justin Manyweather, Robert Downs, Kedryan Wilson, Noah Hoffman, and Davonte Richardson are all dangerous weapons that can make plays down the field.
The FC defensive unit will a busy day ahead them battling the tough Gaucho offensive unit. The Hornets have Sophomore linebacker Roy Oto is a fierce competitor who has 39 tackles (26 solo / 13 assist) and 5.5 sacks. Freshman safety Jacob Jones is the team's leading tackler with 47 (23 solo / 24 assist). He also has 2 interceptions. The D-line is manned by Joey Noble (6 sacks), Montre Bonner (7.5 sacks), and JeMycheal Moore (4.5 sacks). They will be key factors in causing chaos for the Saddleback offense.
The big game will take place at Whittier College's Memorial Stadium this Saturday, November 18th. Kickoff is at 1:00 pm. Come on out and support your Hornets! DIRECTIONS / MAP
Adults- $12.00 (12 & Up)
FC Students - $8.00 (Must have current ID W/ ASB sticker)
Visiting Team Students - $8.00 (Must have current ID W/ ASB sticker)
Children Under 12 - $8.00
Senior Citizens - $8.00 (60 & Over)
Tickets are sold at the gate - no pre-sale tickets are available
* This is a CCCAA Event - No Passes accepted at the gate