No. 16 Warriors Hold Off No. 5 Mounties in League Opener

No. 16 Warriors Hold Off No. 5 Mounties in League Opener

TORRANCE, Calif. --- No. 16 El Camino College opened National Central League play with an impressive 30-24 victory over No. 5 Mount San Antonio on Saturday night on Featherstone Field at Murdock Stadium.

The Warriors (4-2, 1-0) recorded their third straight victory with another impressive effort. The offense scored four touchdowns and the defense recorded five takeaways, five sacks and held the Mounties to just seven points in the second half to secure the victory.

Dylan Guerra was 13-for-18 for 168 yards and a touchdown and Dion Moore was all over the field for the offense, securing four catches for 87 yards and also went 2-for-2 with his arm for 43 yards and two touchdowns, including a 37-yard strike to Cameron Johnson in the second quarter to put ECC up 24-10.

On defense, the Warriors were all over Mounties (3-1, 0-1) quarterback Alex Flores as they sacked him five times, recorded three hurries and picked him off three times. Lando Brown was the main thorn in Flores' side, dropping him three times behind the line of scrimmage. Justin Sanchez and Josiah Sagale recorded the other two sacks for the defense.

Brown anchored the defense with 10 total tackles including five for a loss while also forcing a fumble. Kekoa Carroll, Maximus Ahoia and Jonathan Johnson all recorded an interception for the Warriors as well to help score the win.

The bulk of each team's scoring came in the second quarter when the Warriors outscored the Mounties 21-14 in the period to take a 24-17 lead into halftime.

But the second half was a sharp contrast as the teams combined for 13 points in the final two periods. The Warriors scored a TD in the third quarter while the Mounties did not score until there was 1:57 left in regulation.

Trailing 30-17, the Mounties blocked a punt and took over possession on the Warriors' 8 yard line. They'd punch in the score on a nine-yard TD pass from Flores to Reginald Anderson to cut the Warriors lead to six.

The Mounties would try an onside kick but the attempt bounced out of bounds, seemingly sealing the victory for ECC. But the Warriors were unable to fully run out the clock and gave the Mounties back the ball at their own 15 with 43 seconds left.

The comeback attempt was thwarted quickly by the Warriors defense though as Maximus Ahoia picked off Flores on the first play of the drive to seal the win.

Prior to Saturday, the Warriors had lost 10 of the last 11 matchups with Mt. SAC. The Warriors' last win over the Mounties came in 2018, snapping a nine-game losing streak at that point. Prior to that win, the Warriors had last beaten the Mounties on Sept. 22, 2007. This week's win is also ECC's first home win over the Mounties since Sept. 24, 2005. The Warriors now hold an 11-8 record at home against Mt. SAC but still trail the overall series with a record of 19-20 dating back to their first meeting in 1965.

The Warriors will now hit the road and look to make it 2-0 in league play as they take on longtime rival Cerritos in the annual Milk-Can Game. The Falcons currently possess the Milk-Can Trophy after winning the last meeting between the teams, 42-40, on Nov. 16, 2019 at Murdock Stadium. The teams first met in 1962 and the Warriors hold a 25-14-2 overall record against the Falcons but have lost six of the last seven meetings dating back to 2009.

Kickoff for Saturday's game is set for 6 p.m. Fans are allowed to attend but are required to wear masks.