In a hard-fought physical game, the Hornets lost a heartbreaker to visiting Southwestern College Saturday night 33-30 in double overtime.
Ranked No. 12 by the CCCAA Coaches Poll, Fullerton was eager to hit the field after taking down Santa Ana last week 59-13. No. 21 Southwestern also came off a big win last week with a 41-17 win over Victor Valley College. FC and SWC have met only 6 times, but the Jaguars won their second game in a series that now stands at 4-2. The first meeting between the two teams came in 1962, a 14-0 Fullerton victory.
Fullerton scored the first touchdown of the game in their second offensive series on an impressive 42-yard scamper by Brandon Rankins.
The Hornets made it 10-0 at 6:16 in the first quarter on a 24-yard chip shot by Alec Fonseca. The play that set up the field goal up was a 58-yard catch and run from Cooper Callis to Kashan Griffin who caught a 15 yard pass, slipped a tackle, and took it down the sideline.
Southwestern answered back with a hard earned 11-play drive scoring that ended with a 1-yard plunge by the quarterback Joshua Owen with 43 seconds left in the first quarter.
Battling back and forth on the gridiron though most of the second quarter, the Jags took the lead at the 3:51 mark when Owen led the offense on another long 10-play drive that resulted in a 13-yard touchdown pass to wideout Matthew Linton. Going into the halftime break, Southwestern owned a 14-10 lead over Fullerton.
SWC struck again at 9:56 in the third quarter on a grinding 12-play drive that saw Dino Del Fierro hit a field goal from 24 yards out.
Once again, both teams continued to slug it out leaving everything they had on the field, until the clock hit 6:18 in the fourth quarter. Owen struck again tossing a 27-yard strike to Davion Johnson giving the Jags a 24-10 lead with mere minutes on the board.
Fullerton went for the onside kick with 3:13 left on the clock and knabbed the ball on the Southwestern 48 yardline. With a few minutes to work with, the Hornets took advantage of the SWC defense scoring a TD on fourth and two. Running back Lucky Avinger willed his body breaking tackles for a beautiful 29-yard touchdown. Fonseca hit the PAT to tie the game up at 24-24 with 1:32 left in regulation.
The Jaguars ran the ball letting the clock run out and the game went into overtime.
FC won the toss and deferred to Southwestern giving them to opportunity to score first from the 25 yardline. After eight plays, Del Fierro hit a 35-yard field goal to go up 27-24.
Fullerton came out of their first OT with a field goal to knot it up at 27 when Fonseca nailed a 24-yard shot.
The Hornets took over in the second overtime hitting a 39-yard field goal to go up 30-27.
With both teams sucking wind in this thriller, Southwestern won the game on a laser-beam pass from Owen to Terry Wright in an exciting game that lasted three hours and thirty-three minutes.
Up Next: The No. 12 Hornets (2-2 overall) will travel north up the 101 Freeway to No. 8 Ventura College on Saturday, October 5th. Kickoff is at 6:00 pm.
*Photos by Jim McCormack