The #3 Hornets took a trip down south to LeBard Stadium Saturday night to face off against Orange Coast College and out-dueled the Pirates 46-31 to open Southern Conference-play.
Orange Coast kept the game close in the first half (21-17), but Fullerton pulled away in the second half to win their second consecutive game on the season.
It was a high-scoring affair where the Fullerton offense generated a total of 449 yards with Orange Coast topping that with 482 yards
Fullerton's special teams made all the difference as Prince Shonola and Marnez Ogletree each contributed a pair of 92-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns. The Hornets totaled 246 return yards on the night.
FC quarterback Joey Verhaegh threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns on 18-of-34 passing with one interception.
A 3-yard run by Salesi Eteaki with four minutes into the game gave Fullerton a 7-0 lead but the Pirates came right back to tie the game on a 10-yard TD strike from Whitaker to Hagger.
On the ensuing kickoff, Shonola took advantage finding an opening and went 92 yards to make it 14-7, Hornets.
From there, both teams tightened up the defense. Leading the way for both teams were Jarrot Thomas (10 tackles, seven solo) and Marcus Kirkpatrick (eight tackles, four solo) for the Hornets and Mike Hayden (10 tackles, six solo) and Paul Swanson (nine tackles, six solo, 1.5 TFL) for the Pirates.
The Hornets opened the half with another kickoff return for a TD and scored the next 25 points to make it 46-17 before OCC had a scoring surge of their own that eventually fell short.
Up Next: Fullerton (3-1, 1-0) will host #9 Golden West College on Saturday, October 4th at Shapell Stadium @ 6:00 pm.
*Photos by Matt Brown