The Fullerton College Hornets are once again the CCCAA State and National Champions! Playing at the state capital's Charles C. Hughes Stadium, the Hornets remained unbeaten (13-0) in defeating College of San Mateo 16-12 in a wild one on Saturday.
In its 101st season, the Hornet football program won their first back-to-back state title, their fifth overall. The last team to win back-to-back titles was Mt. San Antonio College (2009 and 2010). Only one college has won three titles in a row in City College of San Francisco (1999, 2000, and 2001).
The 13-0 unblemished season breaks another school record for most victories in a season. FC is currently riding a 19-0 win-streak that dates back to October 22, 2016 (lost to Saddleback 30-27). They are also 15-0 at home dating back to November 21, 2015 (lost to Chaffey 42-24).
On the first play of the game, the Bulldogs punched Fullerton in the mouth with a 12-yard run up the middle by Cameron Taylor. The Hornets punched back killing their drive, however on FC's first offensive play, CSM scored two points on a safety (sack by Dorrzel Hicks).
Fullerton got on the board at the end of the first quarter after a long drive led by quarterback Johnny Feauto. Feauto hit Markus Grossman on an 11-yard slant in the middle of the end zone. FC led 7-2.
CSM's Justin Watts knocked in a 36-yard field goal at 13:45 in the second quarter. By the end of the half, the two championship teams went back to their respective locker rooms with a baseball score of 7-5.
The Hornets returned the safety favor at 12:54 in the third quarter when QB Miles Kendrick was flagged with intentional grounding in the end zone. Fullerton went up 9-5. It was CSM's first offensive play of the second half.
With just over 6 minutes left to go in the game, the Bulldogs delivered a blow to Fullerton's defense scoring on a 63-yard bomb from Line Latu to a wide open Rajae Johnson.
Playing from behind in the fourth quarter for the first time this season, the Hornets drove the ball down the field and attempted a 36-yard field goal and missed. A bad snap forced the holder to place the ball in an awkward spot and when the ball was kicked it sailed wide right.
It was looking very grim for Fullerton with less than 3 minutes left in the game, until Jacob Jones jumped in front of a Kendrick pass for a pick. Fullerton was looking good on the CSM 28 yard line, but then FC turned the ball over on an interception by the Bulldog's Evan Johnson.
Two minutes remained in the game, and the desperate Hornets looked to get the ball back. And they did. After a quick three and out, the Bulldogs punted from their 14 yard line. Ready for the most important return of his life, All-Conference return specialist Justin Manyweather took the ball from his own 40-yardline and broke off a 59 yard dash to the CSM 1-yardline. On the very next play running back Gerald Hulett took a giant leap into the end zone putting the Hornets up 16-12 after Antonio Estrada's extra point went through the uprights.
With 47 seconds left in the game, Fullerton's defense did their job and held strong with three sacks ending the Bulldog threat. It was a wild ending to an amazing game with Fullerton holding on for their fifth title.
"It was a heck of a game that featured two of the best teams in the state, and we were fortunate enough to pull this one out. My hat goes off to the CSM players and coaching staff for their excellent sportsmanship and superb play today", Hornet Head Coach Tim Byrnes.
In over 100 years of football, Fullerton has played in nine state championship games and has won five. Only two Hornet head coaches have won the title in Hal Sherbeck (3) and Tim Byrnes (2).
MVP OF THE GAME – Cody Darrow (LB, Fullerton College)
OFFENSIVE MVP - Line Latu (WR, College of San Mateo)
DEFENSIVE MVP - Dorzell Hicks (LB, College of San Mateo)
FULLERTON COLLEGE FOOTBALL STATE/NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
*1965 - Jr. Rose Bowl National Champions - W, 20-15 over Henderson, Texas at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA - Head Coach Hal Sherbeck
*1967 - State & National Champions - W, 41-0 over American River College at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, CA - Head Coach Hal Sherbeck
1969 - State Runner-up - L, 28-9 to Fresno City College at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, CA - Head Coach Hal Sherbeck
1970 - State Runner-up - L, 24-21 to College of the Sequoias at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, CA - Head Coach Hal Sherbeck
*1983 - State & National Champions - W, 28-7 over Taft College at Memorial Stadium in Bakersfield, CA - Head Coach Hal Sherbeck
1988 - State Runner-up - L, 30-24 to Bakersfield College at Memorial Stadium in Bakersfield, CA - Head Coach Hal Sherbeck
2013 - State Runner-up - L, 28-13 to Butte College at Cowan Sports Complex in Butte, CA - Head Coach Tim Byrnes
*2016 - State & National Champions - W, 29-27 over American River College at Nathan Shapell Stadium in Yorba Linda, CA - Head Coach Tim Byrnes
*2017 - State & National Champions - W, 29-27 over College of San Mateo at Charles C. Hughes Stadium - Head Coach Tim Byrnes
JCGridiron.com once again gave Fullerton the nod as the National Champs! Click here for the story.
JC Football also tabs Fullerton as the National Champs! Click here for the story.
A few of the records that the 2017 Hornets broke:
Season Wins – 13
Total Offense – 7,236
Points per Game Average – 57.4
Most Points Game – 79
Most Points Half – 50
Most Points Quarter - 36
Most TDs Game – 11
Largest Margin of Victory – 69
Most Passing Yards Season - 3,826
Most Net Yards Rushing Season - 3,410
*Photos by Matt Brown