Football team advances to playoffs


El Camino vs Riverside football game at El Camino College, Saturday, Sept. 1. Photo credit: Mari Inagaki

Trailing by two touchdowns to start the fourth quarter of the last game of the regular season, El Camino seemed doomed.

Destined to once again watch as another team claimed the league title, one that EC had last claimed in 2008, the Warriors needed a miracle.

With a lead of 20-7 and 12:06 left on the clock, Cerritos quarterback, Isaiah Bravo, dropped back and unleashed a pass that would change the course of both teams’ seasons.

Instead of the pass making it to Bravo’s intended receiver, it was intercepted by Warriors freshman linebacker, Quinn Perry, and returned for a 36-yard touchdown.

“I think at that point, we all thought that we were going to win the game,” EC head coach, Gifford Lindheim said.

The confidence that the Warriors felt was certainly justified.

After getting a stop on the Falcons next drive, the Warriors put together a 20-play, 96-yard touchdown drive that was capped off by a Sean Davenport 1-yard touchdown run, to win the game, 21-20, advancing the Warriors to the playoffs.

“We have been down by big deficits before,” EC quarterback, Aaron Thomas said. “We knew that if we had done it once, we could do it again.”

Although the game ended with lots of scoring, the same cannot be said for the first half of the game.

David Walker had a 3-yard touchdown run for the Falcons (6-4) in the first quarter, but that was the only scoring before halftime for either team.

After a 94-yard touchdown pass from Bravo to receiver Jamal Tate gave the Falcons a 14-0 lead, the Warriors (8-2) answered with a Jeff Hansen 1-yard touchdown run to cut the score to 14-7.

Cerritos would add another Bravo touchdown pass, this one to Jovohn Tucker for 13-yards to give the Falcons the 20-7 lead that they would eventually blow.

“We knew that if we came together as a team mentally and physically, that we would get back Into it, and that’s exactly what happened.” EC cornerback, Isaiah Lemos said.

The Warriors came through when it mattered most, much like they have all season.

After losing their first two games of the season, EC buckled down just before league play and has lost just one game since.

Even though they have trailed in every game this season, except one, El Camino has continued to grind out wins.

“We’re very resilient, we believe in ourselves, and we fight hard,” Lindheim said. “We’re still searching for better execution and I don’t think we’ve played our best game yet.”

Up next for EC is a re-match from earlier in the season, as the Warriors will head out on the road to take on the Riverside City College Tigers on Saturday Nov. 17, at 6 p.m.

“They’re one of the best, if not the best team in Southern California right now, but we’ve been through a lot of battles and we’re battle tested,” Lindheim said. “We need to play the way that were capable of playing, because I still feel like that elusive great game is ahead of us.”

The Warriors will definitely need to be at the top of their game.

The Tigers (10-0) have won every game they have played this season by double digits, and have won every home game by at least 21 points.

Riverside won the previous matchup, 34-7, back on September 1, and EC has payback on their minds.

“This is a big revenge game for us, for sure,” Lemos said. “We want to prove that we’re a better team than we were earlier this season.”