MONTEREY PARK — East Los Angeles College, who has the toughest community college football schedule in the nation, defeated Orange Coast College 25-14 and recorded its first win in the National Division.
The Huskies schedule includes six ranked teams in the Nation’s Top-25 (Football America JUCO) Poll and seven in the State’s Top-16 (CCCSIA Football).
The Huskies put freshman quarterback Miguel Aguero (Schurr HS) to the test and he came through throwing for 222 yards (16-of-28) and one touchdown. “It was everyone around me especially the “O” line making my job look easy and receivers doing their thing making catches,” said Aguero. “I would like to thank the QBs who push me and teach me things every day—Rudy Garcia, Paul Herrera and Phil Tran.”
Orange Coast, a strong favorite, who barely lost to powerhouse and nationally ranked Ventura College last week, was held to 261 yards in total offense by the Husky defense. ELAC amassed 375 yards, outgaining OCC 147-49 on the ground.
OCC scored a touchdown with 05:56 remaining in the first quarter. Freshman tight end Isaiah Alonzo (Mater Dei HS) caught an 8-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Pete Mitchell.
The Huskies scored with 1:06 left in the half from sophomore running back David Allen’s (Maranatha HS) 1-yard run. It was an 80-yard / 15 play drive for the Huskies. ELAC wasted three first half scoring opportunities with two missed field goals and a touchdown nullified from a penalty.
ELAC, a stronger second half team for two straight weeks, outgained OCC in total yardage the final two quarters 284-109. The Huskies had three unanswered scores in the third, beginning with a safety from a tackle by freshman Carlos Alvarez (Rosemead HS). ELAC led 9-7 at the 11:53 mark.
The Huskies scored a field goal with 5:27 left in the period, a 40-yarder from freshman kicker Juan Rangel (Mendez HS). Two minutes later, ELAC increased its lead to 19-7 on an Aguero 51-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Tredious Thomas (Huntington Park HS).
After an OCC fourth quarter touchdown, ELAC responded with a 7-play, 60-yard TD drive capped off by sophomore RB Cannan Chandler’s (Grace Brethren HS) 3-yard run to end the scoring 25-14.
In its opening season game last Saturday, ELAC from the National Division Northern League, lost a non-conference game 56-21 to No. 15-statewide ranked Cerritos College of the National Division Southern League who has a first-year head coach in Dean Grosfeld. The Huskies hadn’t played Cerritos in 10 years.
ELAC garnered 401 yards against Cerritos that included 321 yards in passing from two sophomore quarterbacks, Phillip Tran who completed 16 of 25 throws with 1 touchdown and Paul Herrera who was 5-of-9, 127 yards with a 70-yard touchdown pass.
“We were a powerhouse in the lower division American Conference playing a powerhouse (this year) from the upper division National Conference,” said freshman linebacker Carlos Alvarez (Rosemead HS). “We are playing stronger, tougher teams and will adjust and be better prepared next week.”
ELAC defeated OCC last year 31-22 but that was 372 days ago and this is an improved team with a mission, winning a National Northern League Championship and getting to a bowl game playing against some of the nation’s top teams.
The Huskies get a break from National Conference competition as they travel to meet former American Conference Metro League opponent Compton College (0-2), a longtime rival next Saturday at 6 p.m. at Compton.
(Tadzio Garcia, East L.A. Athletics)