Warriors Fall to Mount San Antonio in Final Minute

Photo by Dalia Joudi
Photo by Dalia Joudi

TORRANCE, Calif. – For more than 56 minutes, No. 8 El Camino College held a lead in Saturday afternoon's National Division, Central League showdown against visiting Mount San Antonio. But a two-yard touchdown run by Malaki Thompson capped off a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive for the Mounties, giving them the lead with six seconds left and eventually a 43-40 win over the Warriors at Murdock Stadium.

The Warriors (5-2, 1-1) never trailed on Saturday until the final minute as the Mounties (5-2, 1-1) overcame a 13-point, second half deficit with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter including the go-ahead score with six seconds left.

Holding a 37-35 lead, the Warriors drove the ball 81 yards on 13 plays and took up 4:17 of game time, capping off the drive with a 21-yard field goal from freshman Campbell Geddes, his fourth field goal of the game and third of the second half.

But coming up with field goals instead of touchdowns proved costly for the Warriors as Mounties quarterback Zach Rangel threw two of his three touchdowns in the second half to continually chip away at the ECC lead.

After Geddes' final field goal of the game, the Mounties got the ball back with 2:33 left in regulation. After securing one first down, Vandrew Epenesa and Keith Conley Jr. recorded a huge sack on Rangel to put the Mounties back at their own 35 with a 2nd and 17 situation. After an incomplete pass brought third down, the Warriors defense gave up a 16-yard run to Rachaad White to give Mt. SAC a 4th and 1 at midfield.

The Mounties then called a sneak for Rangel and the quarterback picked up the first down at the ECC 45. The biggest play came on second down as Colin Payne broke up a pass intended for Jonathan Schofield, who finished the game with 208 receiving yards and two TDs.

But instead of bringing up another third down, the Warriors were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the Mounties an automatic first down and the ball at the 25 yard line with half a minute left in the game. Rangel then found Sean Bowden for a 23-yard completion, giving the Mounties a first down at the Warriors' two yard line with 10 seconds left. Thompson would cash in the touchdown with six seconds left and the Warriors were unable to score on the ensuing kickoff.

Jerman Gotoy finished the game 23-of-45 for 286 passing yards and two touchdowns for ECC. Raymond Graham and Shawn Prejean combined for 138 yards on 26 carries and Isaiah Jones had his best game of the year with seven catches for 91 yards and a touchdown.

Logan Taylor, John Hubbard-Johnson, Adison Umrarong and Justin Martz all tied for the team lead on defense with seven tackles apiece.

The Warriors will look to bounce back next week with the first of two consecutive road games. They will head to Palomar next week with kickoff set for 6 p.m.