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WEEK TWO FOOTBALL: Lightell, Cerritos blast Bolsa Grande, set offensive records in rare scoring spree

By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter


GARDEN GROVE-When you have won eight games since 2011 and have had a long history of futility (152-285 overall in its 46-year history with 12 winning seasons), it’s hard to get excited when something unusual happens to your football program. But Cerritos High had plenty to make people smile and talk about during its 68-27 thumping of Bolsa Grande High last Friday night.

The Dons set several school records on the offensive side of the ball, including most points scored in a game. That performance was coming off a 63-point outburst the previous week against Firebaugh High. And in the three games this season, Cerritos (2-1) has scored 164 points, the most in a three-game span since 1999 when that team put together 138 points in three straight weeks against Brethren Christian High, Bassett High and Gahr High. Already, the Dons have scored 23 more points than they did in 2017. In fact, since 1999, Cerritos has reached the 50-point plateau six times.

“Tonight’s game…if you look at the details, last week, even though we put up [63] points and only gave up eight, I was not happy with our performance because there were a lot of details that we missed,” said Cerritos head coach Barry Thomas. “You can’t beat good teams missing your details. So, we hit our details tonight and guys stayed on their assignments.”

But there was more to the game than the final score as junior quarterback Nick Lightell, in his first varsity start, threw for 431 yards and a school record seven touchdowns. Lightell, who didn’t know he was starting until the Tuesday prior to the game, completed his first seven passes for 210 yards and four touchdowns. He ended the contest 13 of 20 and all touchdown passes were at least 31 yards. He said he wasn’t nervous when he found out he was starting, but started to feel that way right before the opening kickoff.

“I had a lot of nerves, but I just had to try to keep them down and throw the ball the way I threw it in practice and not worry about it too much,” Lightell said.

“Nick Lightell is on fire and stayed on fire,” Thomas said. “That’s good. Like I said, details, recognizing coverage, pre-snap, post-snap, and then hitting the right guy. And then even if you make the right read, you still have to throw the ball and complete it.”

The Dons quick-paced offense was on the field for 6:46 in the first half and scored on all nine drives in the half, as the led 61-20 at the break. The first four drives took a combined nine plays and lasted 1:52. Lightell threw first quarter touchdowns to senior wide receivers Tye Anderson (31 yards on a screen pass) and Malachi Santa Anna (59 yards) and junior wide receiver Jayden Alderete (32 and 60 yards) while Anderson added a one-yard run on the last play of the stanza.

“It was very fun to do that,” Lightell said of the quarter. “I surprised myself and I just went with it, tried not to change anything and it worked out.”

In the second quarter, already up 34-6, Anderson rumbled for a 73-yard score, followed by 51 and 44-yard scoring strikes from Lightell to sophomore wide receiver Chaz Sanchez. The half ended with Anderson tacking on a 10-yard run as he had amassed 165 yards on nine carries in the first half. He would finish with 163 yards on 13 touches and has scored 10 touchdowns on the ground thus far.

“Tye’s style; I have no idea what it is after seeing what he did tonight,” Thomas said. “He made a lot of people miss. Normally, he’s just kind of a one cut back. Tonight, I feel he took a leap forward. So, that bodes well for us. He’s always a tough tackle., but some of the things he did tonight were just amazing.”

The second half would see Lightell add a 72-yard score to Alderete in the third quarter while the Matadors had a fourth quarter tally. In all, the Dons piled up 610 yards in 40 offensive plays. On defense, sophomore lineman Jace Ramirez had 10 tackles and two and a half sacks while junior lineman Sam Agregado and sophomore lineman William Reed (two sacks) each added eight tackles. The Dons also had four interceptions by four different players, three in the first half.

“I hope this is who we are because this is unchartered territory for this school,” Thomas said. “A lot of these seniors haven’t seen this. So, if we can stay to taking care of our details, then this can be who we are. But it’s up to the kids.”

Cerritos will travel to Adelanto High tonight to face a team that is 3-0 and has outscored its foes 146-48. This will be the first meeting between the two schools and Cerritos will be seeking its first three-win season since 2010 and its first 3-1 start since 2003 when Dusan Ancich guided the Dons to a 6-4 mark, the last time the program would celebrate a winning season. Thomas is hoping his team isn’t on too much of a high after the performance against Bolsa Grande.

“I hope not,” Thomas said. “Adelanto is for real; they are for real. We have to get to the drawing board and figure out what we’re going to do against them.”

“It means a lot to me, especially [because] I finally got to prove what I can do,” Lightell said of braking the touchdown record. “It means a lot to this program. We’ve been struggling, but we’re trying to turn that around and [tonight] definitely helped.”