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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Hornets fail to overcome sluggish start, lose to Mt. SAC

For the second straight game, the Fullerton College football team got off to a rocky start but failed to overcome it this time with a loss of 34-10 against Mt. San Antonio College on Saturday night.

The Mounties (2-0) dominated the time of possession and their defense did not allow a single conversion on third down through the first five attempts. Hornets (1-1) ultimately ended the night 3 for 11 on third downs.

“We’re a young team and we’re going to get better,” head coach, Tim Byrnes said. “We dropped too many balls and we didn’t execute our routes.”

Despite the offensive woes in the first half, Byrnes gave credit to their adversaries who were able to come out victorious by more than three touchdowns.

“That was a good football team we faced,” Byrnes said. “They had a better football team than us tonight.”

It did not get any easier for the Hornet defense as cornerback Marnez Ogletree left the game early in the third quarter with an unknown injury.

Ogletree was a difference maker on special teams as he was able to return three kicks for 116 yards, including a 67-yarder that set up a three-play 35-yard touchdown drive to conclude the second quarter.

Despite Ogletree’s ability as a playmaker, Byrnes said the team was fine because of the depth in that area of the squad.

Byrnes noted that punter Casey Eyman did well as he was able to pin the Mounties deep inside the 20-yard line twice on his six attempts to go alongside a 37.3 yard average during the game.

“Our special teams played well tonight but we just didn’t play very well on offense and we struggled on third downs on defense,” Byrnes said.

Early in the third quarter, the Mounties took advantage of the Hornets defensive back’s absence and quickly finished off the nine-play 63-yard drive with a passing touchdown to wide receiver Antoine Anderson to take a 24-7 lead.

Fullerton committed nine penalties for 100 yards which stalled multiple drives and contributed to the offense scoring only three points in the second half.

“I thought we did a good job but we just missed a few assignments, me included, and we let a game we could have won slip away,” said Hornet quarterback, Joey Verhaegh.

The passing game did not take too many deep shots down the field and it showed in the box score as both passers combined for 5.3 yards per pass attempt.

Big plays in the passing offense tonight were scarce as the ball traveled farther than 15 yards on only three of the 22 Fullerton pass completions.

The main beneficiary of those short throws was Hornet tight end Tim Holt as he hauled in four catches for 38 yards and a touchdown to go along with it.

“We had a gameplan that I thought we sticked to pretty well and the defense moved back, adjusting the gameplan a little bit so I guess it was part of both [gameplan and taking what the defense allowed],” Verhaegh said.

That second quarter score to Holt ended up being the Hornets sole touchdown of the night.

“I thought Joey had a great game and I think he made one mistake late by trying to throw the ball away,” Byrnes said.

Verhaegh made his first crucial mistake of the night when he threw a pick to defensive lineman Lolani Fa’Aloua. Fa’Aloua had himself a big night as he was all over the field, totaling four tackles, one sack and an interception.

Mt. San Antonio was able to put the game out of reach with less than eight minutes remaining, when their linebacker Aaron Parham intercepted a two-handed pass and returned it for a touchdown to stretch the lead to 24 in the fourth quarter, thwarting the Hornets comeback attempt.

Verhaegh was benched after the critical turnover and backup quarterback Jordan Ramey entered the game to finish the contest.

“Jordan got some experience which is good but he did a good job,” Byrnes said.

Ramey completed only two of four passes for 17 yards, but he made his impact felt with his legs, running around in the pocket and creating something out of nothing.

When Ramey wasn’t being sacked, he was able to carry the ball four times for 25 yards, extending drives with his dual-threat ability.

Ramey was arguably the team’s most effective rusher as the running backs mustered only 50 rushing yards on 12 attempts. This starkly contrasts the Hornets 159-yard effort one week ago against the Ventura Pirates.

This week, Byrnes will emphasize limiting the team’s mistakes in practice as they prepare to take on the undefeated Cerritos Falcons. The Hornets were able to handily take care of the Falcons last September with a 38-14 victory.

Byrnes said the team will bounce back after tonight’s performance and Verhaegh expects to do so with a victory.

Fullerton will play their first afternoon game next Saturday against the Falcons (2-0) at Shapell Memorial Stadium in Yorba Linda at 12:30 p.m.

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