The combination of Fullerton College’s impressive defense and Orange Coast’s struggling offense provided Fullerton with a 37-3 victory Saturday night in a Mission Conference game in front of 2,000 fans in Fullerton District Stadium.
Fullerton’s defense came into the game allowing an average of 227 yards per contest to lead the 16-team conference. The Hornets limited OCC to 83 total yards. The Pirates’ offense, slowed because of several injuries along the line, was averaging only 228 yards a game.
Fullerton held OCC to 7 first downs--only 1 of which came in the first half. OCC got 4 first downs on its final drive, which ended with a 27-yard field goal by Kevin McKelvie with no time left.
OCC had 28 rushing attempts, but gained only 5 yards. Fullerton recovered 5 fumbles and had 1 interception.
OCC’s defense, also one of the best units in the conference, had allowed only 229 yards a game before Saturday night. But the defense spent too much time on the field.
The Pirates did stop Fullerton running back Jeff Andrews, who came into the game leading the state in rushing with 915 yards. He was held to a season-low 62 yards in 20 carries and didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
The victory sets up a showdown between Fullerton (7-0 overall and 6-0 in conference play) and Rancho Santiago (6-0-1, 5-0-1) next Saturday at Fullerton. Both are 2-0 in conference Central Division play. Rancho Santiago defeated Golden West, 28-7, Saturday.
“You have to be pleased with the way the defense played again,” Fullerton Coach Hal Sherbeck said. “It sure makes it nice when the defense gets the turnovers and stops the other team so much. It makes it all come down to next week. That is the biggest game of the year. They (Rancho Santiago) have things going well over there. . . . But we are playing well also.”
OCC lost for the third consecutive time and is 3-4 and 2-4. The Pirates (0-2 in the Central Division) play host to Riverside next Saturday.
Fullerton had opened a 17-0 lead by halftime, then got 2 scoring passes from backup quarterback Paul Rodriquez in the third quarter. He completed the first to running back Ray Pallares for 11 yards with 6:22 left. The second went for 14 yards to wide receiver Nick-John Haiduc with 9 seconds left in the quarter. Haiduc had 5 catches for 115 yards.
Kirk Hainline accounted for Fullerton’s final 6 points with fourth-quarter field goals. He connected on kicks of 35 and 48 yards. He also had a 38-yard field goal late in the first half.
Fullerton scored on its first two drives in the first quarter and let its defense to the rest. OCC was held to 25 total yards and 1 first down--that coming on a penalty--in the first half.
OCC quarterback Mike Crowe was 3 for 11 in the half with his longest pass completion going for 6 yards. Fullerton had 211 total yards in the half and 315 in the game.
The Pirates were only in Fullerton territory once in the first half when they reached the Hornet 48 after a punt.
OCC then put Travin Lui in at quarterback to run the option but he fumbled on the first play. Fullerton’s Mahe Liavaa recovered at the OCC 45.
After taking the opening kickoff, Fullerton drove 69 yards and scored on a 4-yard run by Andrews to take a 7-0 lead with 9:16 left in the first quarter.
Victor Williams completed a 9-yard scoring pass to Haiduc with 3:51 left in the quarter. Williams and Haiduc combined for a 50-yard pass play to get the ball to the OCC 11 on the drive.
Williams, the top-ranked community college passer in Orange County, was 10 of 17 for 161 yards and 1 touchdown with 1 interception. Rodriguez was 2 of 5 for 24 yards and 2 touchdowns.