Homecoming spoiled in a 32-14 conference loss to Chaffey College


Raymond Lima, freshman defensive lineman, comes in for the tackle against Chaffey College quarterback Levi Plante, during Saturday’s game at Redondo Union. The Warriors lost 34-12 against Chaffey. Photo credit: Jackie Romano

Homecoming, Halloween and football came together on a crisp Saturday night in Redondo Beach, California. El Camino freshman kicker Nathan Hierlihy lined up for a field goal, but as soon as the ball was snapped, a Chaffey defender raced in from the left side, dove and blocked the kick.

EC had two field goal attempts blocked in the fourth quarter and Chaffey College added a score with 36 seconds remaining in the game to give the Warriors a 32-14 conference loss at Redondo Union High School on Saturday.

The Warriors needed a win to stay in playoff contention. The defeat drops EC to 3-5 on the season and 2-2 in the National Central conference.

“Chaffey outplayed us in every phase of the game,” Coach John Featherstone said. “I thought our kids were ready. Unfortunately we played one of our worst games, at a time that is crucial for us to win.”

On offense, the Warriors got off to a sluggish start, punting the ball away on its first four possessions of the game. Chaffey led 17-0 in the second quarter after quarterback Levi J. Plant broke loose for a 75-yard touchdown run.

Sophomore quarterback Jorge Hernandez plunged into the end zone from a yard out to trim the lead, 17-7. Chaffey kicker Gerson Moreira added a 27-yard field goal to give the Panthers a 20-7 lead at halftime.

The Warriors defense had trouble containing the Panthers ground game as running back James Noble rushed for 155 yards on 16 carries. Chaffey tallied 527 yards of total offense.

“We are one team, we lose as a team,” freshman linebacker Deadre Brewer said. “We made overly aggressive mistakes and shot ourselves in the foot.”

Hernandez opened the second half with a 65-yard strike to freshman wide receiver William Morehand, cutting the Panthers lead, 20-14. On the next possession, with the offense pinned back in its end zone, Hernandez fumbled the snap, broke a tackle and was finally brought down for the Panthers safety.

The Panthers added a 19-yard field goal and the Warriors offense went stagnant in the fourth quarter, giving Chaffey the conference win.

Hernandez finished with 233 yards passing and a touchdown.

“It was definitely a game we should have won, but we came out slow in the first quarter,” sophomore defensive lineman Austin Vaimili said. “We made too many small mistakes. It’s a game that we have to learn from; all we can do now is watch film and bounce back next week.”

EC continues conference play at Mt. San Antonio College Nov. 7. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.