Brandon Edwards threw three first-half touchdowns on Saturday night and SBCC went on to defeat East L.A. 45-13 in its final non-conference football game in Monterey Park.
The Vaqueros (2-1) forced five takeaways, including interceptions by Jacob Girgle, Bradley Sloan, and Khaliel Ahmed Shegog. Brandon Nicastro and Ezra Taylor made fumble recoveries.
Edwards, a freshman from Seattle, completed 17-of-25 passes for 183 yards with one interception. In the first half, he was 13-18 for 142 yards and three TDs as the Vaqueros built a 28-13 lead. Edwards completed 68 percent of his passes on Saturday and he’s No. 6 in the state at 63.3 percent for the year.
“Our offensive line bought me just enough time to throw some passes and our wide receivers got open,” said Edwards. “Give credit to our defense, they did great also. We lost some key guys but other guys stepped up and filled their spots.”
Three Vaquero defensive starters went down with injuries in the first half—safety Zach Arnell, linebacker Jake Pettit, and Sloan, a cornerback. Sloan was carted off the field with eight minutes to go in the second quarter.
“I think the offense rose up and did what it had to do,” said eighth-year Vaquero coach Craig Moropoulos. “It starts with being able to capitalize on opportunities and I thought they did a good job.
“Our defense is solid, but we took some hits tonight, some that could be very, very painful. We lost Brad Sloan, Pettit, and Arnell. Sloan is having surgery so he’ll be out a while. When that happens, you have to have guys step up and I thought we did a great job of that in the second half.”
SBCC took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter when Edwards tossed a screen pass to Cedric Cooper and he turned on the jets to complete a 65-yard touchdown.
Sloan intercepted a pass at the Husky 35 and returned it to their 20. Three plays later, Edwards hit Brenden Lewis for his first catch and first TD, a leaping 9-yard reception with a defender all over him. That gave the Vaqueros a 14-0 lead with 9:35 to go in the second quarter.
The Vaqueros collected 18 first downs and were 5-5 in red-zone scoring chances.
Will Randolph returned the kickoff 59 yards, setting up East L.A. at the Vaqueros’ 35. Quarterback Michael Ladino scored on fourth-and-goal from the 1 on a sneak and the Huskies notched their first points of the year to trail 14-7.
SBCC came right back with a 65-yard march, capped by a 3-yard TD run from Orion Prescott to extend the lead to 21-7 with 1:45 left in the first half. Two plays later, Nicastro forced a fumble and Taylor recovered for the Vaqueros at the East L.A. 10. On second down, Edwards hit tight end Will Allen for a 5-yard TD and a 28-7 lead.
It took the Huskies just two plays to cover 85 yards on a 48-yard run by Randolph and a 37-yard pass from Ladino to Joshua Taylor. The PAT snap was mishandled and the Vaqueros led 28-13 at intermission.
SBCC drove 64 yards after the second-half kickoff and stretched the lead to 35-13 on an 8-yard run by Prescott. He led the Vaqueros with 48 yards on 11 carries. Blake Levin’s 37-yard field goal on the second-to-last play of the third period extended the lead to 25 points.
Elijah King, the state leader in receptions with 26 in three games, caught five passes for 45 yards. The Vaqueros drove 66 yards early in the fourth quarter and King capped the drive by grabbing a 38-yard TD toss from Keiston Smith for the final TD with 11:30 to play.
The Vaqueros will play their first two American Pacific League games at home, starting with West L.A. on Saturday at 1 p.m.
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