FOOTBALL: Turnovers hurt Dons.
Freshman Hayden Gavett entered Saturday’s game against the Grossmont College Griffins looking to become the starter in Head Coach Geoff Jones’ two-quarterback system.
He played that role well in the first quarter. And then the offensive line unraveled as the second half approached, leaving Gavett too drained to finish the game.
Gavett threw four interceptions and was sacked three times as the defense failed to protect a 17-point cushion entering the third quarter, leading to a 34-31 loss that snapped the team’s two-game winning streak.
“They were just blitzing a lot. That Salanoa guy was the problem,” Offensive Lineman Joe Torres said.
He was referring to Griffins freshman Cy Salanoa, the burly linebacker who led the hunt for Gavett, and was responsible for exposing the Dons’ injury-depleted line that gave up
The breaking point came in the third quarter, when Gavett threw an interception to Linebacker Samson Toale. Desperate to make up for his mistake, Gavett chased Toale for 95 yards before tackling him at the 5-yard line. He spent the rest of the game resting on one knee while chugging on a bottle of water.
“He looked real tired after that chase,” Head Coach Geoff Jones said.
He tapped freshman Quarterback Beau Perry to try and bring the Dons back. Perry threw for 22 yards and
Receiver Kyle Morris caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Gavett in the second half, giving the Dons a 24-7 lead.
Up to that point, the Griffins had only scored once, on a 14-yard pass from Quarterback Chris Bonner to Receiver Shawn Edwards in the first quarter.
“I had a couple guys on me and I just juked them and made it to the end zone,” Edwards said.
After a quarter and a half of futility, Edwards caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Bonner, jumpstarting a 31-point barrage that left the Dons confused. The offensive coordinators were tinkering with the line, mixing and matching from a platter of out-of-position reserves.
Despite being double-teamed much of the game receiver Joshua Webb scored twice on three receptions.
The Dons play Long Beach City College Saturday at 1 p.m. at Eddie West Field. It is Homecoming for Santa Ana College.