Dons lose big in key to county game

FOOTBALL: Santa Ana vs. Fullerton.
GAME DATE: November 10, 2012.

The Fullerton College Hornets extended its winning streak to six years in the Key to the County Game with a 57-23 win over the Dons Nov. 10, at Eddie West Field.

“Every year one our goals is to keep that key,” Fullerton Head Coach Tim Byrnes said.

With a miniscule two-point lead and less than a minute left in the first half, the Dons (7-3, 4-2 in conference) elected to squib kick following a go-ahead Hayden Gavett 26-yard pass to wide receiver Josh Webb.

“They do a really good job on kick return,” Head Coach Geoff Jones said. “And we wanted to nullify that.”

Kicker Dillan Freiberg booted a high but shallow ball that landed in Fullerton sophomore Jamison Sterns’ hands at the Hornets’ 40-yard line, about 35-yards shorter than Freiberg’s average kickoff. Sterns blasted past the SAC special teams and into the end zone.

In less than 10 seconds of game time the Dons’ lead evaporated.

“The kick ended up going right to the guy,” Jones said. “We kind of missed.”

On the opening drive of the second half Dons’ quarterback Beau Perry threw a pass intercepted by Fullerton defensive back Corey Ferguson, setting up a six-play, 58-yard drive capped off by a Conor Bednarski 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Ryan Longoria.

Perry subbed for Gavett, who was taken out of the game with concussion symptoms.

After SAC turned the ball over on downs and Fullerton (6-4, 5-1) gave it back on a fumble, the Dons once again held possession.

Perry rifled a pass toward a Don near the sideline, but again a Hornet buzzed in for the pick.

Defensive back Alex Bernstein intercepted the pass and took it 21-yards for the touchdown, putting Fullerton up by 20 points.

“There were a few miscommunications,” Perry said. “But that is on me, I threw the ball.”

The Dons only score of the second half came on the ensuing possession.

On third down and 13, Perry threw a short pass to Webb on a screen. Webb turned the play into a 63-yard touchdown, but the Dons still trailed by two possessions.

The Hornets’ attack continued on unfazed.

Following an incomplete Bednarski pass, on the next FCC possession, running back Lavorrie Johnson ripped the Dons’ defense for a 75-yard touchdown run.

“I know for a fact that if I get into the secondary nobody can catch me in a foot race,” Johnson said.

The game marked the 90th meeting between the two teams, and the 67th consecutive since 1945.