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Mesa outmatched by undefeated Fullerton

Quarterback+James+Odom+rushes+for+a+first+quarter+touchdown+vs+Fullerton.
Nicole Noel
Quarterback James Odom rushes for a first quarter touchdown vs Fullerton.

In a rare Thursday night game, the Olympian football team looked to bounce back after last week’s tough loss to Saddleback college. Their opponent, the Fullerton Hornets had other ideas and came into San Diego Mesa looking to hold on to their undefeated record.

The Olympians got to work right away and were led by quarterback James Odom. The opening drive saw multiple penalties on both sides, but was capped with a nifty 17-yard tuck-and-run by Odom to give the Olympians an early 7-0 lead. In a bruising first quarter that included an injury stoppage both teams failed to get anything going offensively. It was the Hornets special teams that would create a spark by blocking a punt by Ryan Harris in the closing minutes of the first quarter. Setting the Fullerton offense up with great field position. 

Mesa’s defense had other ideas. Combined with great coverage by the Mesa secondary and a sack by Jonathan Robles (his first of the year), the Olympians turned away the Hornet offense empty-handed. Odom seemed to be clicking with his receivers, completing three straight passes, but for minimal gain. After a short rushing loss, the Hornets held tough and sacked the quarterback on a crucial third-and-12, forcing Mesa to punt. Fullerton would respond quickly as quarterback Brandon Nunez completed a deep pass to wide receiver Leland Smith for 38-yards, setting the Hornets up with a first and goal. A costly penalty of 12-men on the field by the Mesa defense gave the Hornets a first down from the 5-yard line. Nunez struck immediately, completing a pass to wide receiver Fox Haugen for the game-tying touchdown. 

After a three and out by the Mesa offense, the defense stepped up in a big way. The secondary was smothering the Fullerton aerial attack early in the game, and was capped with an incredible interception by Jordan Dwyer, his fourth of the season. Neither offense could find an opening in this tough back-and-forth battle, sending both teams to the locker room, tied 7-7 at halftime.

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It was a beautiful night in San Diego and the Mesa faithful had high hopes for the Olympian team who were right there, competing with the top-ranked Fullerton team. Unfortunately for Mesa they started their first drive with an interception by wide receiver Jordin Young, his only passing attempt of the game. Fullerton would respond with a huge pass-and-catch of 50 yards and a touchdown, to take the lead early in the third quarter. Mesa failed to respond, giving up another sack, and were forced to punt. Fullerton marched down the field with a balanced attack of run and pass plays, overwhelming the Mesa defense. Even with the Mesa defense on its heels, they held tough when it mattered, holding the offense four times in the redzone. The Hornets settled for a field goal, increasing their lead, 17-7. 

The Olympians were not out of it yet and the offense had a few tricks up their sleeve. The Mesa quarterback was having a hard time finding an opening until he connected with wide receiver Jordin Young for a huge 52-yard touchdown strike that sent the crowd and the sideline into a frenzy. Young would finish the day with 69 yards on three catches, a TD, 78-yards in kick returns, and one interception. The elation from the Mesa sideline was short-lived as the Fullerton offense came storming back with consecutive passes and after a short run, a 18-yard strike for a touchdown, the third on day for Hornet QB Nunez. He finished the day with 252 yards passing, three TDs, and one interception.

Unwilling to quit and showing tremendous resolve the Mesa offense trotted back onto the field down 27-14. Unfortunately for the Olympians, the Hornet defense only allows an average of 11.4 points per game to opposing teams this season. The defense showed that strength, forcing Odom to fumble, and crushed any hopes of a Mesa comeback.

The coaching staff for Mesa showed incredible trust in Odom, who led the team with toughness and grit. He finished the day: 20-37 passing attempts, 225 yards passing, one TD, and one rushing TD.

Fullerton is ranked #4 in Junior College Associated Press and California Community College Sports Information Association ranking poll, and is the leader of the Southern Conference. San Diego Mesa is ranked #20 and will play again Oct. 21 vs. Mt. San Jacinto where they look to break their losing streak. The Olympians are 3-3 so far this season

 

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About the Contributor
David J. Bohnet
David J. Bohnet, Features/Sports Editor
David J. Bohnet is proud to be a part of the Mesa Press as the Features and Sports Editor. He hopes to shed light on important news and happenings around Mesa College and San Diego through his writing and photography.  He has a BFA from the University of Utahs' Actors Training program and is looking toward a masters in Journalism and Media Studies. David is hoping to feature the arts, sports, and entertainment with the occasional opinion piece. Stay tuned!
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