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The Hornet

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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet


The nation’s second-ranked Fullerton College football team overcame four turnovers to beat the Riverside Tigers, 23-14, in the Southern California Football Assocaition championship game. Riverside finished the season 10-2, with both losses coming to Fullerton despite causing the Hornets to turn the ball over ten times in the two games.

The game was close throughout, and FC took over with 8:23 remaining in the fourth quarter and a 17-14 lead. The Hornets knew that they needed to score and they needed to run time off of the clock. They did both.

The Hornets (12-0) drove the ball down with a 12-play, 84-yard drive that took 6:28 off of the clock. Ryan Byrd carried the ball five times for 32 yards on the drive. He was the one who capped off the drive with a 9-yard touchdown run to ice the game. Overall, Byrd carried the ball 19 times for 103 yards and a touchdown.


“That drive was huge for us,” said Fullerton head coach, Tim Byrnes. “Not only did we score, but we ran a lot of time off of the clock and put ourselves in a good position.”

After the score, FC held a 9-point lead, but the Tigers still had 1:48 to try to get something going. They drove down all the way to the Fullerton 34-yard line, in 30 seconds.

Riverside quarterback Skyler Howard dropped back to pass, and threw a ball over the middle. It was tipped by his receiver, floated in the air and was intercepted by Hornet linebacker Shawn Stephens.

“Our defense was spectacular today,” said quarterback Jose Escobar. “We had a couple freshman step up for us in big situations. Shawn’s pick was huge.”

Escobar was named the game’s MVP, despite missing almost a quarter of the game with a hand injury.

“I know that I broke something in there,” he said. “I am not exactly sure what the injury is. But, as soon as I went down, I told my guys that I would be back. I had no doubt,” siad Escobar.


Escobar finished the game with 328 yards and a touchdown on 19 of 27 passing. Despite the effort he was not entirely happy with his performance.

“I turned the ball over twice,” he added. “I need to take better care of the ball going forward.”

His touchdown came at a huge time for the Hornets. Riverside had scored late in the third quarter to take a 14-10 lead. The Hornets took over and the offense had been struggling.

Just three plays later, Escobar dropped back and hit Ryan Longoria down the sideline for a 71-yard touchdown, to swing momentum back to the Hornets.

Riverside also got stellar play out of their quarterback, Skyler Howard. He completed 23-36 passes for 225 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also ran for 64 yards on 15 carries.

With the win, the Hornets will advance to take on Butte College, at Butte, on December 24 with the state and possibly national championship on the line.

“We do not know too much about them,” Byrnes said. “All I know is that my guys will be ready to play and that will be one heck of a football game.

Butte’s record stands at 11-0 and they remain the only other undefeated team in the state. . Butte beat Fresno Saturday.

Both teams are ranked in the top five nationally and the game could potentially also be for the NJCFA National Championship as well.

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