The third-ranked Southwestern College Jaguars football team remained undefeated in American Division Mountain Conference play after defeating East Los Angeles, 35-10, last Saturday (Oct. 5) at Olympian High School.
Luis Perez threw three touchdown passes (one each to Cedrick Agyeman, Cameron Lee and Khari Kimbrough) and also scored one rushing touchdown to lead the Jaguars (4-1). Daniel Castro also scored on an 80-yard interception return for SWC.
Southwestern led 29-3 at halftime after exploding for 22 unanswered points, including 20 points in the second quarter.
Perez passed for 248 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
DeSean Waters had six catches for 51 yards while Lee caught four aerials for 68 yards, including one touchdown.
Kimbrough had one catch for 34 yards while Agyeman had three catches for 21 yards. Agyeman also rushed 11 times for 65 yards.
The Jags defense recorded two picks and recovered two fumbles (one each by Jeremy Burgos and Ray Clapper) while also amassing six sacks.
At midseason, the Jaguars were ranked eighth among the state’s JC men’s teams. However, much of that has to do with Southwestern racing against four-year programs in large invitationals.
SWC, braced by a bevy of top state-level talent from the high school ranks, stepped off the season Sept. 6 by winning the team title at the Rio Hondo Invitational; the Jags finished 10th in the Stanford Invitational on Sept. 28.
The Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship meet is scheduled Nov. 1 in Mission Bay, followed by the Southern California regional championship meet Nov. 8 in Santa Clarita and the state championship meet Nov. 23 in Fresno.
Coach Duro Agbede is hoping to have his team back at top strength by the time post-season competition starts. Injuries have hampered the team’s performance in the middle of the season.
Steven Lepe (Monte Vista), George Martinez (Sweetwater) and Castle Park grads Daniel Vazquez and Miguel Lopez — all high school state meet qualifiers last year as seniors — have led the Jaguars on the course this season.
All four finished in that order — first through fourth — to push SWC to the top of the team standings at the Rio Hondo Invitational.
However, Vazquez has since been sidelined by an injury.
Southwestern’s depth, however, has been its blessing. The Jags finished second overall at the Brubaker Invitational on Oct. 11. Lopez placed fifth among individuals on the four-mile course in 20:44, followed by Lepe (seventh, 20:47) and Martinez (13th, 21:05).
“The best challenges (for the No. 1 runner on the team) have been between Steven, George and Miguel,” Agbede said. “We will need to get Daniel back to have a strong pack of four (front-runners) to win the conference championship and hopefully make a statement at the state championship.”
Lepe, Lopez and Martinez were the team’s top finishers at the 8K Stanford Invitational while Martinez, Lepe and Lopez finished in that order two weeks earlier at the 8K UC Riverside Invitational.
Martinez finished second among individuals at last year’s San Diego Section Division I finals while Lepe was second among Division III racers; Lopez and Vaquez were members of Castle Park’s runner-up team qualifier in Division III. Vazquez was fourth among Division III individuals – five seconds behind Lepe.
Southwestern looks to have secured a fourth-place finish in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference regular season standings after defeating visiting Miramar College, 14-12, on Oct. 9. The Jags have compiled two conference victories this season — both against Miramar.
The two teams expect to square off in a one-game playoff game during the PCAC championship playoffs Nov. 8-9 at Miramar College, with the winner facing the No. 1-seeded team in the ensuing semifinals.
Semifinal winners advance to meet in the PCAC championship game while the semifinal losers meet in the third-place game.
Southwestern defeated San Diego Mesa to finish third in last year's conference championship tournament.
The Jags dropped a 15-9 decision to the Olympians in their latest PCAC match-up on Oct. 16; Southwestern hosts Grossmont Oct. 23 at 3:15 p.m. in the final regular season PCAC contest.
At 12-2, Grossmont is currently ranked eighth among Southern California teams.
At the onset of the season, SWC coach Jorge Ortega had high hopes for his team.
"I think if everyone who was eligible to come back came back, with the recruits we had coming in from the local South Bay high school teams, that we could have made a run at the championship this year," Ortega said. "But we only had three returners come back. It wasn't that they transferred to other JCs; other things happened in their lives to make playing water polo less important. I thought we had some genuine momentum coming into this year, but it just didn't work out that way for us."
The Jags can still play the upset card in the upcoming PCAC championship tournament and Ortega feels if his team plays its best game at full strength that anything is possible.
"Don't count us out completely," he said optimistically.
Hilltop High grad Nick Howard has been the team's impact player among new recruits and expects to play with the Jaguars next year as well. Howard tops the SWC leader board with 59 goals, 27 assists and 67 steals.
Mar Vista alum Justin Patacsil ranks first on the team with 62 goals while contributing eight assists and 22 steals.
Hilltop grad Stuart Sokil has accumulated 17 goals, 17 assists and 51 steals this season.
Eastlake alum Rhett Pitcock has amassed 210 goalie saves.
The Jags (2-5 in conference, 4-13 overall) will compete in the Santa Monica and Saddleback tournaments prior to the PCAC championships.