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Fullerton College to Face Saddleback in PONY Bowl

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

Fullerton College accepted a bid Sunday to play undefeated Saddleback in the fifth PONY Bowl, Saturday, Dec. 7 at 1 o’clock in LeBard Stadium, Bill Otta, Saddleback assistant athletic director, announced.

This will be the third time in four years that the Hornets will play the Gauchos, who accepted their invitation Thursday, in the annual postseason game. Fullerton (7-2) defeated Saddleback (10-0), in the 1982 PONY Bowl, 38-6, and last year, 13-10.

There are several factors that could make the 1985 PONY Bowl the most lucrative of them all, according to Otta.

“We feel this will be the premier community college bowl game in the state this year,” Otta, a member of the bowl’s selection committee, said. “Saddleback has a chance to win the national championship, Fullerton is on a winning streak and we’ll have two weeks from the end of the regular season until the bowl game to promote it.

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“If the weather is good, we’d hope we could get a crowd of between 6,000 and 8,000.”

Mission Conference champion Saddleback, which was ranked No. 3 in the nation and No. 1 in the Southland in last week’s polls, completed the second undefeated regular season in school history Saturday night with a 39-32, come-from-behind win over Rancho Santiago.

Fullerton, ranked 10th and second last week, has one more regular-season game remaining, this Saturday night’s Pac-9 Conference finale at Long Beach City. One reason Hal Sherbeck, Fullerton coach, waited until Sunday to accept the PONY Bowl bid was the fact he wanted his team to avoid a letdown in Saturday night’s game against Mt. San Antonio.

The Hornets did avoid a letdown, defeating the Mounties for their sixth straight win, 33-19. But whether they’ll be able to against Long Beach and clinch the Pac-9 title, Sherbeck isn’t so sure.

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“I really wish that you could wait until the end of the season to accept a bowl bid, but the circumstances don’t permit that,” he said. “We’ll just have to do everything we can this week to avoid a bad effect accepting the invitation might have on us when we play Long Beach.

“But we are excited about the opportunity to play in a bowl game. It’s what you work for all year.”

The PONY Bowl is one of two Southern California community college bowls where the matchups are determined. Grossmont will play Southwestern Friday, Dec. 6 at San Diego City in the National Football Foundation and Hall of Bowl.

The matchups for the Dec. 7 Shrine Potato Bowl in Bakersfield’s Memorial Stadium and the Dec. 7 San Fernando Valley Bowl at Los Angels Pierce College have still not been announced.

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