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COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOOTBALL : Nightmarish Second Half Costly to Fullerton

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

Fullerton, hoping to put away the memory of its worst season ever, instead got a painful reminder Saturday.

The Hornets allowed 31 consecutive points in the second half and lost to Cerritos, 31-24, in a Mission Conference game at Cerritos.

The game was similar to the Hornets’ 29-28 season-ending loss to Rancho Santiago in 1992. Fullerton led, 28-0, going into the fourth quarter.

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This time, Fullerton (1-2) capitalized on three Cerritos fumbles to build a first-half lead.

A fumble and an interception set up 10 of Cerritos’ second-half points. Cerritos’ Damion Watson helped set up the game-winning touchdown with a 29-yard punt return.

The play gave the Falcons a first down at the Fullerton 25 with 1 minute 57 seconds left.

Five plays later, Louie Major scored on an eight-yard run up the middle to put Cerritos ahead, 31-24, with 12 seconds left.

The Falcons tied it, 24-24, three minutes earlier on Dione Tyler’s one-yard run. Tyler had 183 yards in 26 carries.

His longest touchdown run was 61 yards with 13 seconds left in the third quarter.

That cut the Fullerton lead to 24-10 and changed the momentum.

Things were really going Cerritos’ way when on the first play of the next series, quarterback Josh Nelson fumbled the snap, and Cerritos recovered at the Hornet 13.

Two plays later, Larry Haney completed an eight-yard scoring pass to Craig Allen to cut the lead to, 24-17, with 14:46 left.

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Fullerton got as deep as the Cerritos 31 in the second half.

Nelson completed a 29-yard to James Hartford, who was wide open up the middle, to put Fullerton ahead, 24-0, with about three minutes left in the first half. Nelson had completed a 36-yard scoring pass to Vince Wilson on fourth down earlier in the game.

Matt Finch took a fake punt 51 yards up the middle and Chris Prater kicked a 44-yard field goal to account for Fullerton’s other points.

In other Mission Conference games:

Saddleback 34, Grossmont 26--Saddleback (2-1) scored two touchdowns 16 seconds apart in the third quarter to rally from a 10-point, second-half deficit at Grossmont.

Josh Ireland scored on a one-yard run with 4 minutes 40 seconds left in the third quarter to cut Grossmont’s lead to 23-20.

Two plays later, Saddleback defensive back Malcolm King picked up a fumble and returned it 53 yards for a Gauchos touchdown and a 27-23 lead.

Golden West 35, Southwestern 24--The Rustlers scored 28 consecutive points to rally from a 17-7 second-quarter deficit. Vance Senteno threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Cal Daniels to put Golden West ahead to stay.

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Senteno rushed for 62 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead Golden West (2-1). Southwestern is 2-2.

Mt. San Antonio 49, Rancho Santiago 31--Leonard Green of Mt. San Antonio (4-0) scored four touchdowns, three while rushing for 72 yards and one more while catching five passes for 121 yards.

Rancho Santiago (1-1-1) led, 10-0, at the end of the first quarter and 24-21 with 5:43 left in the third quarter after Mike Castleberry returned a missed field goal 97 yards.

But Mt. San Antonio scored 28 consecutive points to put the game away.

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