Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Hornets keep the key

With five minutes left in the game, Santa Ana was able to get down to the Hornet five yard line for a first and goal, trailing 20-14. The Hornets defense stood tall keeping the Dons out of the end zone and preserved the win and kept the key with Fullerton.

Since scoring in the first quarter, nothing was going right for the Hornets who saw their lead turn into a deficit midway through the third quarter.

In front of the 1965 National Championship team, who was honored at halftime, the defense stepped up and initiated the comeback.

Hornets linebacker Jakob McCarthy forced and recovered a fumble near midfield with 3:30 left in the third quarter. The Hornets used a big fourth down conversion to keep the drive alive. Eventually, the Hornets were able to open the fourth quarter with a 22-yard field goal from kicker Tavis Guerra to pull the deficit to 14-10.

The first play from scrimmage after the kickoff proved to be the difference. Hornets defensive tackle Daleon Palm fought through his block and forced a Santa Ana fumble. McCarthy scooped up the loose ball and took it in for the go ahead score.

McCarthy was named Defensive MVP of the Key to the County Game for his efforts.

Fullerton linebacker and Key Game Defensive MVP Jakob McCarthy returns fumble for a touchdown against Santa Ana College Saturday at Shapell Stadium Photo credit: Patrick Quirk


In a tight game, the Fullerton defense didn’t let up. On the next Santa Ana series D’Angelo Ross was able to read Don’s quarterback eyes and intercept a pass.

D'Angelo Ross #3 return
Key to the County game MVP #3 D’Angelo Ross returns interception against Santa Ana College Saturday at Shapell Stadium Photo credit: Patrick Quirk


Ross was named Key to the County Game MVP with six total tackles, one interception, one fumble recovery and three pass breakups.

“We dropped into cover two, I dropped back and he threw it right to me, so I had to make a play,” said Ross. “It’s great because [defensive backs] don’t get recognized that much, and we got the win.”

The Ross interception capped off three forced turnovers in as many possessions for the Hornets defense, which led to 13 points.

“We gave them a few different coverages, made our adjustments and made plays,” said defensive coordinator Brian Crooks. “We lost a lot of guys to injuries and guys came in and stepped up for the team.”

Fullerton struck first midway through the first quarter when Phillip Butler ran it in from seven yards out to take a 7-0 lead. Santa Ana responded right before with a 16-yard pass from Dons quarterback Jason Habash to receiver Matthew Williams. The halftime score was 7-7.

Philip Butler Key game
Fullerton running back #33 Phillip Butler runs the ball in game against Santa Ana College Saturday at Shapell Stadium Photo credit: Patrick Quirk


The Hornets lost starting quarterback Trey Tinsley on the first drive of the game but were led to victory behind backup Tanner Hodges. Defensive leader and middle linebacker Thomas Cletcher was also lost in the first quarter.

“I am happy that we won but disappointed with how the team played during some spans of the game,” said head coach Tim Byrnes. “We need to watch the film, get some guys healthy, go down to [Grossmont] and hopefully get a win.”

Fullerton improves it’s record to 4-3 and 1-2 in conference, while Santa Ana drops to 1-5 and 0-2 in conference. The Hornets take to the road and head south to Grossmont College, 2-4, on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. The Hornets next home game will be Saturday, Oct. 31 at 12:30 p.m. at Shapell Stadium, where they will take on Saddleback College.


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