Wed, Oct 31 2012 12:47 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The Southwestern College Jaguars took a huge step toward claiming the 2012 American Division Mountain Conference championship this past Saturday after defeating the Mt. San Jacinto Eagles, 21-7, at Olympian High School.
Both teams had entered the high profile contest with unbeaten 4-0 conference records. The Eagles were 7-0 overall; the Jaguars were 6-1.
“Defense and special teams dominated the first half with our offense struggling for consistency,” SWC head coach Ed Carberry said.
However, that changed in the second half when sophomore quarterback Brett Nelson (St. Francis/Pasadena) connected with receiver Vernon Johnson (Brewer/Ft. Worth) on a 39-yard touchdown pass.
Southwestern took a 14-7 lead and, in Carberry’s words, “never looked back.”
With two games remaining in regular season play, the Jaguars can secure a share of the conference championship with a victory this Saturday against Victor Valley College.
Kick-off is 6 p.m. at Olympian High School.
A win over Victor Valley will secure a bowl bid for SWC.
The Jaguars close out regular season play Nov. 10 at Chaffey.
“Our goals are directly in front of us — conference champions and bowl champions — so we are all focused like a laser on Victor Valley,” Carberry said. “It was a great win (over Mt. San Jacinto), but as we said to the players ... ‘Well, we are 7-1 but what have we accomplished?”
Carberry added: ‘They all responded ‘Nothing’ ...”
Freshman quarterback Frank Foster helped ignite the struggling SWC offense in the second quarter by driving the team down field for its only score of the first half.
Foster had missed the last two games due to an injury, but responded by capping the 63-yard drive on a one-yard keeper.
SWC had trailed 7-0 on a nine-yard scoring pass by Eagles’ QB Tim Morovick to Dalton Huckle.
Johnson had five catches in the game for 81 yards. He has scored at least one touchdown in all eight games this season and tied the school record for most touchdowns in one season at 14 (matching SWC Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Lugo).
Johnson is averaging 114 yards per game; Nelson is averaging 227 passing yards per game.
The Jaguars passed for 226 yards and rushed for 118 yards while the Eagles passed for 179 yards and rushed for just 60 yards.
Nelson was intercepted twice but Morovick was picked three times.
Southwestern’s third-down efficiency was 50 percent; MSJ’s third-down efficiency was just 28 percent.
Carberry noted the combination of sophomore offensive tackle Nick Fehoko (Chula Vista) and freshman running back Rashad Ridley (San Diego) set the pace in the second half. Ridley rushed 10 times for 62 yards behind the blocking of Fehoko and the remainder of the Southwestern line.
Charles Westbrook (Coronado) put the Jaguars up by two scores when he capped an 81-yard scoring drive on a three-yard run with 9:41 left in the game.
“That forced them to throw the ball, which was not their strong suit,” the SWC coach said.
Carberry noted that Mt. San Jacinto came into the game with the conference rushing in tow, with Superiorr Reid averaging more than 150 yards per game.
Southwestern had the answer for Reid: defense. Reid collected just 12 yards on 18 carries.
“Our two defensive ends (Morse’s Carlos Murano and Chula Vista’s Mike Molina) dominated the edge of the line of scrimmage, which forced the Eagles lateral for most of the night,” Carberry said.
Carberry said Molina “dominated every man in front of him, ‘rag dolling’ them, throwing them off and making the tackle.”
Sophomore Donte Haddock (Eastlake) and freshman Daniel Castro (Sweetwater) also had picks.
Freshman linebacker Khaalid Abdullah (Mt. Miguel) led the victors with eight tackles while Kyle Doton (Otay Ranch) recorded a three-yard sack. Carberry noted both players were instrumental in stopping the MSJ running game.
The Jags’ big victory would not have been complete without outstanding performances on special teams.
Sophomore punter Nate Drum (Bonita Vista) led the charge by averaging 40.8 yards on five punts, including a pair he dropped inside the 10-yard line.
“Drum’s job was to negate the Eagles’ conference leading return man (Michael Harrison) who was averaging 26 yards a return,” Carberry said. “He was held to one eight-yard return.”
Carberry noted great coverage throughout the game was provided by the Jag’s wide receiver WR crew: Vernon Johnson, Robin Johnson (Eastlake), Bryant Mitchell (Mt. Miguel) and Jordan Jacobs (Coronado).
Carberry noted that Haddock opened the game with an open-field tackle on the first kick-off of the game and then blocked his second kick in two weeks when he blocked an Eagles’ field goal attempt.
Jovan Gonzales (Olympian) made all three extra-point conversions and, in Carberry’s words, provided “great placement on kick-offs.”
Jacobs had five catches for 31 yards while Mitchell caught two passes for 27 yards. Westbrook had two catches for 26 yards and rushed 16 times for 34 yards.
•Southwestern 5-0, 7-1
•Mt. San Jacinto 4-1, 7-1
•San Bernardino 4-1, 5-3
•East Los Angeles 2-3, 5-3
•San Diego Mesa 2-3, 3-5
•Chaffey 2-3, 3-5
•Victor Valley 1-4, 2-6
•El Camino-Compton Center 0-5, 0-8
SWC Players of the Week
Offensive: Nick Fehoko (Chula Vista)
Defensive: Khaalid Abdullah (Mt. Miguel)/Donte Haddock (Eastlake)/Carlos Murano (Morse)
Special teams: Nate Drum (Bonita Vista)
Big stick: Kellon DeLaRosa (Bonita Vista)
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