Olympians Football Falls to El Camino

Ian Caffarel, Staff Writer

Mesa offensive lineman Jalen Booth best summarized the game against El Camino with his postgame sideline reaction: “This sucked!” His teammate, fellow offensive lineman Nathaniel Hines, replied, “Dude, watch it.” But Booth was still adamant: “This sucks!” The entire football team, players and coaches alike, were all upset over losing a winnable game against El Camino, 51-44.


The story of the game is best told in the form of one costly mistake after another, with missed scoring opportunities, multiple turnovers and penalties, including several unsportsmanlike conduct fouls against the defense, especially in the least opportune times for them to occur. In all, Mesa committed 16 penalties that cost the team 126 yards.


In the first quarter, after a touchdown pass on the game’s first play from scrimmage was called back, both of the  teams’ first two opening drives yielded no points. After Mesa got the ball in Warriors’ territory, quarterback Jake Dunninway threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kevin Levesque for the game’s first points. Mesa recovered a fumble in El Camino territory on the Warriors’ next possession, but failed to score on fourth-and-goal, handing the ball back to the warriors early in the second quarter. The Warriors, backed up deep in their own territory, had to punt out of their own end zone, giving the ball back to the Olympians who had good field position; they took advantage of it when Dunninway completed his second score of the afternoon, this one to wide receiver Dejon Smith, to take a 13-0 lead (with a failed extra point) with 13 minutes in the half. Each team turned the ball over on their next drive, with the Warriors getting on the board with their quarterback Grant Ferrauilo completing a 19-yard pass to Kishawn Berry to make the score 13-7. Dunninway led the team on a drive that used up more than three minutes of the clock, but stalled in the red zone, and the Olympians had to settle for a 31-yard field goal from Justin Kaplan, making the score 16-7 going into the half.


El Camino received the kickoff to open the second half, and Ferrauilo shortly thereafter found receiver Trevon Clark from 12 yards out to leave the Warriors down by just two points. Mesa’s lead seesawed between nine and two points at least three times in the quarter, with Dunninway and then Warriors quarterback Aaron Thomas leading touchdown drives, as well as Mesa defensive back Brendan Torrance having a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown. After a Dunninway interception in his own territory, Thomas led the team–aided by a defensive facemask penalty–to their first lead of the game with Jonah Tavai taking it in from three yards out, then Tavai completing a two-point pass to Sean Prejean to make the lead 36-30.


In the fourth quarter, Dunninway found Smith again to take a one-point lead. Following an interception, Dunninway led Mesa on another scoring drive, completing a 44-yard pass to Smith on third-and-eight to set up a 17-yard quarterback sneak from Dunninway to put Mesa up by eight points with eight minutes remaining. El Camino then responded with a five-minute drive, aided by several detrimental Mesa penalties, that concluded with Tavai’s second score of the game, along with Raymond Graham rushing the two-point try in to tie the game. Mesa had one final shot to win the game, but the drive stalled at their own 30, and they elected to punt with 1:48 remaining. El Camino took the ball, and Thomas threw his second touchdown of the day–for Trevon Clark’s third touchdown of the day–to take a seven-point lead with 14 seconds to go. El Camino’s defense then subdued Mesa’s final desperation plays.


After the game, head coach Gary Watkins said, “I know you’re all upset. Come in on Monday upset, and be ready.”


Jake Dunninway completed 30 of 44 pass attempts for 464 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. Alex Lemon was Mesa’s leading rusher with five carries for 12 yards, and Dejon Smith caught 10 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns. 

The Olympians hit the road for their next two games, at Cerritos on Oct. 20, and at Fullerton on Oct. 27, before coming home to face Mt. San Antonio on Nov. 3. (As of the time of publishing, Mesa had lost to Cerritos, 50-21.)