In the fall of 1960, Orange County was a mildly populated area filled with orange groves and strawberry patches. The Los Angeles Angels had just completed their first major league season, and the President of the United States was Dwight D. Eisenhower.
And, Cerritos College trounced Fullerton, 33-0, the last time a Falcon team beat the Hornets.
Until Saturday night.
After a 25-year wait, Cerritos finally defeated Fullerton again. And they did it almost as convincingly as the 1960 victory, winning by a score of 24-0.
Following the game, Cerritos Coach Frank Mazzotta was swarmed with friends, family and alumni offering congratulations. Mazzotta yelled to one patron, “And we kicked their butts. That’s what’s so fun about it.”
But when a reporter asked him if it surprised him to beat the Hornets so convincingly, Mazzotta said, “Oh, I wouldn’t say we did it convincingly. We knew how tough their defense was going in. We told the kids they’ve got be able to be patient (offensively).”
The Fullerton defense was indeed much stronger than the final score would seem to indicate. The Falcons relied heavily upon the big play and four Hornet turnovers in the game.
Cerritos took a 7-0 lead when Anthony Drawhorn returned Fullerton’s first punt 72 yards for a touchdown. In the second period, Cerritos defensive back Mark Lopez intercepted a Mike Zorn pass and returned it to the Fullerton 37. That set up a 37-yard field goal by Claudio Balboa at 11:38, to make the score 10-0 at the half.
However, Cerritos was by no means dominant throughout the game, especially during the first half. It earned only four first downs and had only one drive that lasted more than four plays. The Falcons totaled minus 15 yards rushing and 43 yards in total offense in the first half. By comparison, the Hornets had 121 yards.
The major difference, which set the tempo of the game in the first half, was field position. Six of Fullerton’s first-half possessions were inside its 20-yard line, and it never penetrated farther than the Cerritos 42.
“Defense was definitely the key for us tonight,” Mazzotta said. “How else could we get great field position like we did during the first half?”
In particular, he noted the outstanding play of Falcon defensive linemen John Pukini, Jim Kavanugh and Jim Zoetewey.
During the second half, Cerritos continued its outstanding defensive play, and again scored thanks to a big play and a Fullerton mishap.
In the third period, Falcon quarterback Tony Locy connected with receiver Sal Gonzales on a 67-yard touchdown pass. Then, in the fourth quarter, Rick Castillo intercepted another Zorn pass to set up another score. Three plays later, Scott Baumgartner caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Locy, to make the score 24-0.
Saturday’s contest was Fullerton’s worst defeat since 1978, when Santa Ana scored a 48-21 victory. It was only the third time it has been shut out since 1963. Fullerton was last blanked Oct. 7, 1980, by Pasadena, 7-0. Before that it was shut out by El Camino, 12-0.
Fullerton threatened to spoil the shutout twice during the third period.
The Hornets took over at 13:18 of the third quarter when Jeff Mahlstede recovered a Cerritos fumble at the Falcon 23. After the ensuing drive stalled at the 15, kicker Dan Chlebowski attempted a 32-yard field goal, but it sailed wide right.
On its next possession, Fullerton again started out with excellent field position. A poor Cerritos punt gave the Hornets the ball on the Falcon 41, from where they drove to the 13. Chlebowski came on for another field goal try, but this time the 29-yarder was wide left.
Saddleback 27, Orange Coast 15--Jason Schmid threw for one touchdown and ran for another to lead the Gauchos to their 45th consecutive home victory.
Orange Coast’s Tom Cortez kicked a school-record 50-yard field goal and also had one of 46 yards, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Pirates from falling to 0-2-1.
Saddleback (3-0) is at Riverside City College Saturday.
Taft 31, Golden West 10--Taft running back Bruce Williams’ 87-yard run to the 3-yard line set up a touchdown run by Williams that would break open a close, 14-10 Pac-9 game in the third quarter. Taft improved its overall record to 2-0 and conference record to 1-0, while Golden West fell to 0-2-1 and 0-1. Golden West hosts Pasadena Saturday night.
Riverside 35, Rancho Santiago 21--The Dons fell from the ranks of the undefeated by dropping this Mission Conference game at Santa Ana Stadium. The Dons were ranked 20th in the nation and fifth in the Southland going into the game.