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WEEK SEVEN FOOTBALL – Cerritos anxious for beginning of 605 League action as losing streak goes to three games

One of the bright moments in Cerritos High’s 35-6 loss to Segerstrom High last Friday night was junior wide receiver Alex Martinez (left) catching a 20-yard pass from senior quarterback David Sagun on fourth and 20 from the Segerstrom 45-yard line. It came on the ninth play of the game and was the only catch Martinez would get. Cerritos lost 35-6 to fall to 2-5 on the season as 605 League began on Oct. 14 with Cerritos going to Pioneer High. PHOTO BY ARMANDO VARGAS, Contributing photographer.

 

 

October 11, 2021

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

 

Chalk it up to a strong non-league schedule, chalk it up to a lack of depth beyond its starters or chalk it up to injuries. Nonetheless, the 2021 Cerritos High football season hasn’t gone the way that head coach Brad Carter had hoped for, coming off an abbreviated 3-1 season last spring.

Yes, Carter admitted that depth has been an issue, especially with senior quarterback David Sagun, who broke a knuckle the day before the team’s Sept. 2 game against Portola High and hasn’t played until last Friday night. With Sagun back in the lineup and senior running back Connor DeFrain back at full strength for the first time all season, Cerritos was still outmanned against Segerstrom High in a 35-6 loss. In fact, Carter said this has been the healthiest his team has been all season.

Cerritos has lost three straight games and five of its last six after a 24-14 opening season win against Buena Park High. Since then, the Dons have mustered 27 points and have been shutout three times. Against the Jaguars, it looked as if Cerritos would score on its opening possession, starting at its 35-yard line and moving all the way to the Segerstrom 18-yard line. But on third and three, Sagun was sacked by Mokey Leuma for an 11-yard loss and was incomplete on a fourth down pass attempt. Segerstrom would take that opportunity to drive back the other way and score on a two-yard run from Noble Acosta. Segerstrom would score touchdowns on its next four possessions of the half to hold a commanding 35-0 at halftime.

“It was good to see us moving the ball,” Carter said. “I know we’re trying to find some rhythm on offense. We just have to find a way to finish [drives]. That was kind of the theme. We had some movement, but really didn’t finish enough drives. But it was good to see us move the ball for sure.”

Down 7-0, the Dons still were able to move the ball into Jaguars territory, getting to the 25 yard line within the first minute of the second quarter. However, sophomore Moises Mendoza had his 41-yard field goal attempt blocked and Cerritos wouldn’t have another scoring opportunity until the fourth quarter. In fact, after running 18 plays for 70 yards in the first quarter, the Segerstrom defense stymied the Dons in the second quarter, who ran 13 plays for negative 13 yards.

“On the second possession, I thought we had a touchdown in the end zone, but we weren’t able to make the play,” Carter said. “But again, we had some guys for the first time back tonight in a while. So, they had to get their rhythm. We’re trying to clean some stuff up front. But it was nice to see some positive plays offensively. Even though only six points is not what we want, we’re getting it, which is exciting.”

While Cerritos missed scoring opportunities in the first half, the main reason why Segerstrom was able to rack up over 330 yards in the first half can be attributed to the sloppy tackling. In the second quarter, the Jags scored on a seven-play, 92-yard drive, followed by a three-play, 91-yard drive. With the score 21-0, Sagun was picked off by Erik Martinez at the Cerritos 42-yard line and two plays later, Frankie Gonzalez tossed a 33-yard touchdown pass to Alijah Sadler. The half ended with Julian Diaz going in from three yards out with 14 seconds left.

“The tackling…unfortunately we’re a little thin on ‘D’,” Carter said. “We’re short on numbers; a couple of guys went down early, and then we’re putting guys [in] who are trying their best but just not as athletic as the guys they’re going up against. The effort is there. They’re a little undermanned, I thought defensively tonight.”

Cerritos would gain 28 yards on 14 plays in the third quarter and avoided a shutout when DeFrain cashed in from four yards out nearly five minutes into the fourth quarter. DeFrain, who has been hampered all season with hamstring issues, gained 81 yards on 19 carries while Sagun completed seven of 16 passes for 39 yards. Defensively, senior linebacker Diego Rodriguez had four tackles while senior linebacker Manoj Cowgill and senior defensive back Grant Fueston each added three and a half tackles.

“It was a pretty tough non-league schedule for us, I’ll be honest,” Carter said. “All five teams we lost to are pretty strong programs. I know Segerstrom only had one win before we played them. But they played some really good teams and that’s a pretty solid football team. I know we learned a ton from these teams. I know our record is not that great right now, but I know the lessons have been learned. I’m looking forward to the rest of our league season for sure.”

Now the fun begins for Cerritos and the other three teams of the 605 League as all four will play their remaining three games against each other. All four league teams have a combined record of 5-21 and with no chance of anyone finishing the regular season with a winning record, there shouldn’t be any at-large teams. With that said, finishing in the top two spots, which gets you an automatic playoff berth, is paramount and it began on Oct. 14 with the Dons visiting Pioneer High. The Titans (1-5) have been shutout in two of their last three games, including last Friday’s 35-0 contest at Montclair High. Before that, Pioneer blanked Compton Centennial High 14-0 and overall, has scored 52 points this season. In the abbreviated spring season, the Dons knocked off the Titans 35-6 for their first win over Pioneer as a member of the 605 League. This will be the first of two road games remaining in the regular season.

“We’re going to take it one game at a time,” Carter said. “I know our kids are excited about starting league and every league opponent is trying to win. Everybody is going to be prepared to win league games. I know we’re going to do our best to prepare and I know we’re going to be excited to play league games.”

 

 

 

 

 

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