The No. 1 Hornets (5-0) made 24 straight wins on Saturday, but it was not an easy task as the No. 3 Pirates of Ventura College (4-1) gave the champs a run for their money before falling in the last minutes of the game 33-28.
After both teams stalled-out in their first offensive drives, Fullerton put up the game's first points on their second drive scoring on a 10-yard quarterback-keeper by Gresch Jensen (Corey Lewis PAT Kick good).
On Ventura's next possession, the FC defense took advantage scoring on an interception by Jay Brown, who jumped a short route taking it to the house from 53-yards out. Fullerton went for two and failed.
The Pirates made a switch at quarterback going with Brock Domann. The quick-footed QB made his presence felt immediately. On his first play under center, he took off running up field for a stunning 46-yard gain. Then he did it again for 12-yards. With VC gaining momentum pressing from the 30-yardline, the Hornet D quickly ended the threat on a tipped ball that was intercepted by Ryan Simpson.
Ventura and Domann hurt the Hornets again. This time it was through the air as he let one fly for 52-yards to receiver Dominic Benson to the FC 3-yardline. On the next play, the Pirates got on the board on a run by running back Thomas Duckett (Kyle Continente PAT Kick good).
With 1:41 left in the first half, Fullerton struck back with Jensen hitting Tim Allen in stride for a 39-yard gain. One play later, Jensen scored his second rushing TD of the game from a yard out (Lewis PAT good).
The Hornets went into the locker room at halftime with a healthy 20-7 lead, but everyone on the field and in the crowd felt that the Pirates were not going down without a fight.
The third quarter was all Ventura scoring 14 unanswered points. In their first drive of the second half, Domann struck again delivering a pass to Stevie Houston for a 6-yard TD (Continente PAT good). With just over four minutes left in the quarter VC hit pay dirt on a 14-yard run by Hayden Nease to take their first lead of the game at 21-20 (Continente PAT good).
In the fourth quarter, VC added to their lead after taking advantage of a Fullerton fumble on the FC 14 yard line. Domann punched the ball in from the 3-yards out putting the Pirates up 28-20 at 12:14.
Needing a score to stay in a game with the clock ticking down fast, Fullerton systematically drove the ball down the field. Jensen delivered on a 7-yard strike to receiver Dennis Houston at 7:28. The two-point conversion, to tie the game up, was sniffed out by the Pirate defense.
The Hornets were still down 28-26 and needed a big stop against a rolling Ventura offensive unit. They got it with 3:39 left in the game. On their own 32-yardline, Fullerton worked some of their come-from-behind magic scoring in three plays. Jaire Moore rushed up the middle and sprang loose for a 48-yard touchdown (Lewis PAT good) putting FC up 33-28.
With 2:59 left on the clock, the Pirates still had plenty of time to get the ball across the goal line. Domann led the team all the way to the Fullerton 28-yardline. The Hornets then provided a great deal of chaos forcing Domann's throws into incompletions. With one shot left on fourth down, FC's Shane Darsow ended the threat sacking the QB.
The Hornets got the ball back with 1:11 and then went into victory formation running the clock down for their 24th straight victory.
Up Next: The Hornets (5-0) will head down to Palomar College for the season's first conference game on Saturday, October 6th. Kickoff will be at 6:00 pm.
*Photo by Jim McCormack