Football team wins fourth straight over San Diego Mesa


Squaring off against its first conference opponent of the year proved to be a tough test for El Camino on Saturday, Oct. 13, as the Warriors narrowly beat the Olympians, 51-44.

Facing a touchdown deficit in the final minutes of the game, the Warriors, 4-2 overall, 1-0 in conference, saw themselves in the same situation they were in exactly five weeks ago in Bakersfield.

They failed then and left with the loss, and haven’t lost a game since.

So they seem to be learning from their early season mistakes.

“We’re growing as a football team, and you can see that from week to week,” head coach Gifford Lindheim said. “Maybe we weren’t ready (in Bakersfield), as a group, to finish the job. But since then, the work that we have done has prepared us for that moment.”

Part of the football teams preparation for each week involves getting all three quarterbacks reps, Lindheim said.

The team has rotated between freshman Grant Ferrauilo and sophomore Aaron Thomas at the quarterback spot all season, but in this one it was Thomas who lead the team to the comeback victory after Ferrauilo struggled with turnovers.

“The thing about our offense is its not just one guy out there making all the plays,” Thomas said, choosing to defer the spotlight to his teammates. “Our offensive line blocked great out there and made things easy for me.”

As the game started, it looked to be a defensive battle as El Camino came up with a huge goal line stand on the Olympians (3-3 overall, 0-1 conference) second drive of the game.

San Diego Mesa would recover, as Kevin Levesque and Dejon Smith each caught touchdown passes from Jake Dunninway for the lead, 13-0.

After a 19-yard touchdown pass from Ferrauilo to Kishawn Berry for the Warriors, the Olympians would add a field goal before the half and go up 16-7.

That would turn out to be the last field goal of the game, as the offenses would go on to score a combined 10 touchdowns in the second half.

“It just shows the potential we have as an offense,” Thomas said. “That we can score every time we get the ball.”

EC racked up 6 touchdowns in the second half, including three to sophomore wide receiver Trevon Clark who finished the night with 10 catches for 151-yards.

“Trevon had one of his best games,” Thomas said. “He’s the type of receiver to where if i throw it up, he’s going to come down with it nine out of ten times.”

Just as the Olympians failed to control Clark, the Warriors failed to stop San Diego Mesa’s top receiver, Dejon Smith.

Smith caught 10 passes for 162-yards and two scores as the teams traded blows.

After Clark started the second half with a 13-yard touchdown, San Diego Mesa answered with an 80-yard drive that culminated in an 36-yard touchdown reception by Austin Rumbo from Dunninway.

Berry added his second touchdown of the day. The Olympians would counter when Brendan Torrance intercepted Ferrauilo’s pass and took it 75-yards for a touchdown. Ferrauilo would throw another interception on the ensuing drive, and with his team trailing 30-21, coach Lindheim decided it was time to call Aaron Thomas’ number.

“I’m always trying to be prepared,” Thomas said. “I just knew that we needed to push the tempo with our offensive line and clean up some silly penalties and mistakes.”

Thomas would immediately reward coach Gifford in a big way, leading four straight touchdown drives to end the game.

The offense had the benefit of great field position a few times in the fourth quarter.

Most notably from an second interception by cornerback Isaiah Lemos, that set the Warriors up at the Olympians 28-yard line with two minutes left in the third quarter.

“A lot of people try to test the short corner,” Lemos said. “Our defense had to make a lot of adjustments because their recievers kept finding holes.”

The defensive adjustments seemed to only temporarily slow the Olympians, however, as Dunninway found Smith for one touchdown, and then ran his own score in from 17-yards out to give San Diego Mesa a 44-36 lead with eight minutes to go.

The Warriors would not flinch, marching down the field on a five minute drive that saw Jonah Tavai plunge in from one yard out for his second touchdown of the day.

After a quick three and out by the Warriors defense, El Camino went down the field yet again and scored on an 18-yard pass from Thomas to Clark to win the game.

“We have a good group of guys who are committed to the process, and I think the results from this game were because of the hard work they have done,” Lindheim said. “Its a hard road trip to go all the way down to San Diego, and we’re gonna have to be road warriors again this week (at Mt. San Antonio).”

The Warriors take on Mt. San Antonio on the road this Saturday, Oct. 20. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.