El Camino College Union

Football team overcomes mistakes to win in Beach Bowl

2017+Beach+Bowl+Champs.+Photo+credit%3A+Jeremy+Taylor
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Football team overcomes mistakes to win in Beach Bowl

2017 Beach Bowl Champs. Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

2017 Beach Bowl Champs. Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

2017 Beach Bowl Champs. Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

2017 Beach Bowl Champs. Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

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It was a quiet practice for El Camino and Palomar, but both teams knew what was on the line.

It was the sophomores’ last game in that respective uniform, so this game had more meaning for some players than most.

El Camino was chosen to host the 2017 Beach Bowl, and after a tough loss at Long Beach to end the regular season, this last game is exactly what the Warriors and their sophomore players needed.

On the other side, the Palomar Comets were chosen to play EC in the Beach Bowl.

The team ended its season on a high note with a 17-14 victory against Grossmont College, and the Comets planned to put the cherry on top of their season with a bowl victory.

In the Beach Bowl, the Warriors fumbled seven times, five lost, but their offensive power propelled them to a 28-21 victory over the Comets on Saturday, Nov. 18.

The first quarter was filled with defensive stops and one of five lost fumbles for the Warriors. Both offenses were stagnant until the Warriors’ Shahman Moore intercepted a pass from Palomar quarterback Matt Romero.

Moore’s intercepted led to the first score of the game and the quarter as sophomore running back Okalani Taufahema-Langi ran into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown.

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Okalani Taufahema-Langi scores the games first touchdown. Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

The Warriors fumbled twice in the second quarter, but due to strong defensive play, Palomar could only capitalize on a fumble by freshman Hunter Williams that led to a touchdown by Palomar freshman Devin Nilson.

The Warriors began to kick it into high gear after the Comets tied the game. Freshman quarterback Aaron Thomas strung two good throws for 13 yards each, and freshman Jacobi Hardy put together two runs, the second one leading to a four-yard touchdown.

Due to an injury, Thomas came out of the game for Cole Klayman, who was taken out at the start of the second quarter.

Klayman came back into the game guns blazing, only throwing three times in a series to score against Palomar, the third pass being a 22-yard touchdown to freshman Trevon Clark.

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Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

The third quarter belonged to both defenses, with each team standing tall coming out of the break.

Palomar went into the fourth quarter with sophomore Currie Thompson scoring within the first three minutes of the last quarter. Palomar was only down 14-21 at that point with a lot of time left.

The next play, Klayman connected with Clark again and the way the Warriors defense way playing, a 74-yard touchdown seemed to be the exclamation point.

Palomar’s Isaiah Aguero responded two minutes later following two big plays for 34 yards and 24 yards.

It was all defense after that, the Warriors stood tall all game and they did when their team needed it most.

Sophomore Shawn Richard got the final sack on Romero and the Warriors won the game.

It was pure jubilation as the Warriors players rushed onto the field.

Offensive, defensive and overall MVP awards were handed out after the game.

Comets sophomore Chandler Waccholtz won defensive player of the game for his 14 tackles.

Offensive MVP belonged to Stephon Robinson, who after this game is EC’s all-time receiver for a single season. Robinson now hold the record for most receiving yards in a single season for EC.

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Overall MVP Stephon Robinson Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

Klayman won overall MVP after going 14-for-24 with 265 passing yards. He stayed humble even after the big victory and earning the MVP award.

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Offensive MVP Cole Klayman Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

“I’m glad we got the win, I could really care less about this,” Klayman said. “Obviously it’s a nice honor to receive something like that but I didn’t think I played very well.”

Despite the rough victory, the win as a win and running backs and special teams coach Cordell Landers was thankful for being on staff, as well as for his team’s performance.

“I thank coach (Tim) Kaub and coach Gifford for bringing me on last minute in the season,” Landers said. “Our kids came out and fought strong and the result was us winning the bowl game.”

EC head coach Gifford Lindheim was honored for his work this season with a cold Gatorade bath.

“It’s always sweet,” Lindheim said. “It means you’ve done something right.”

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2017 Beach Bowl Champs. Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

The Warriors finished their season 6-5 and the Comets finished their season 5-6, the Warriors got go out on top while on home turf.

“(Playing my last game at Murdock Stadium) felt (kind of) sad but it felt great that we finally got to go out with a W,” sophomore Mike Mason said.

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Football team overcomes mistakes to win in Beach Bowl