The Saddleback football team improved to 2-1 on the season with a 30-19 victory over East Los Angeles College on Saturday night inside the Saddleback Stadium. The Bobcats scored 30 straight points in the second half in turning the tables on the Huskies.
Saddleback looked out of sorts in the opening half, committing 10 penalties and struggling to find anything on offense. East Los Angeles took advantage of it, scoring 19 first half points in taking a 19-0 lead into the locker room.
Saddleback collected themselves in the locker room and came out with a different mindset for the second half. The Bobcats inserted DJ Ralph into the game at quarterback, and instantly things turned for the batter. Following a muffed punt by East Los Angeles, the Bobcats started from the Husky three yard-line and punched it in on the first play when Ralph (pictured) kept the ball on a read option and ran it in for the first Bobcat points of the game. Saddleback then lined up for a two-point conversion and Ralph found Brian Patterson all alone to cut the deficit to 19-8.
Things went from bad to worse for East Los Angeles on the ensuing kickoff when Anthony Felton coughed up the ball at the ELAC 27 and Darius Maxwell jumped on it for Saddleback. Four plays later, Saddleback cashed in when Ralph found Yasir Berry for a 15-yard touchdown and the Bobcats were back in business. Saddleback again went for a two-point conversion and Ralph ran it in to cut the deficit to 19-16.
The teams then traded a handful of empty possessions and East Los Angeles carried a 19-16 lead into the fourth quarter. The Bobcats took over the ball at their own 9-yard line with 12:15 left in the game. Three plays later, Ralph found Jeremy Cooper alone along the sidelines and Cooper streaked 79 yards for a touchdown to put Saddleback in front for the first time.
Saddleback's defense was a force in the second half, bottling up the East Los Angeles offense and forcing the Husky quarterback into a number of tough passes. The Bobcats finally cashed in late in the fourth quarter when Angelo Rooks picked off Rudy Garcia and returned it 50 yards for the final score of the game.
Saddleback finished with 225 yards of offense in the game, 150 of which came in the second half. Ralph finished 9-of-16 for 132 yards and two touchdown passes while Cooper finished with four catches for 97 yards and a score.
Saddleback's defensive line was a force in the second half. The Bobcats finished with seven tackles-for-loss while Timothy Jones led the team with five tackles on the night. The secondary had a number of big plays on passing plays as Jayce Hunter, Korvin Feagins, Steven Gushiken, Juan Lua and Kyle Thomas all had key pass break-ups down the stretch.
Saddleback is now 2-1 on the season. The Bobcats will host Ventura College next Saturday. The two teams are scheduled to start at 6:00 PM.