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Erik Akre, LB
Matt Belardes, WR
Temeni Brewster, CB
Michael Campana, RB
Alex Castellanos, LB
Taber Cheo, LB
Brad Curtis, QB
SW Oklahoma State
Mike Di Domenico, OL
Andrew Douglas, LB
Michael Frisina, K
Scott Graves, LB
San Diego State
Blake Harrah, DE
Max Little, OL
Lanny Papanikolas, WR
Chris Pierce, RB
Chase Pinesett, LB
Sean Reilly, QB
Matt Reza, DB
Cal Poly SLO
Samuel Tautolo, OC
Steven Watts, OL
Location: PE 505 [map]
Phone: (949) 582-4639
Fax: (949) 347-9328
Head Football Coach
Asst. Football Coach
Asst. Football Coach
Director, Football Operations
The Saddleback College football schedule is set for 2009 and once again, the Gauchos will have a number of games on the schedule that should test their mettle. Saddleback will open the schedule at home against Golden West College on September 5 and will play six games against teams that were ranked in the top-25 in the country at one point during the 2008 season by JCGridiron.com.
Saddleback returns a number of solid players from the 2008 roster, including running back Jai Morris, who rushed for 889 yards and nine touchdowns last season in being named the Co-Offensive-Player-of-the-Year in the National Division Southern Conference. The Gauchos finished 7-4 in 2008 and 5-1 in conference play, falling to El Camino College, 31-28, in the American Bowl. Saddleback finished the 2008 season ranked No. 15 in the nation according to JCGridiron.com (Rivals.com).
Here is a look at the 2009 schedule:
Sept. 5 vs. Golden West
Sept. 12 @ Mt. San Jacinto
Sept. 19 vs. San Bernadino Valley
Sept. 26 @ Mt. San Antonio
Oct. 3 @ Santa Ana
Oct. 10 vs. Palomar
Oct. 17 @ Long Beach City
Oct. 24 vs. Fullerton
Oct. 31 @ Orange Coast
Nov. 14 vs. Grossmont
Saddleback College sophomore wide receiver Nick Hutter and sophomore tight end Nick Groeniger have signed letters of intent recently to continue playing football at four-year colleges, according to the Gauchos football coaching staff.
Hutter, a 5’11” sure-handed possession receiver, has signed with Portland State University. He led the Gauchos in 2008 with 43 receptions for 717 yards and eight touchdowns, earning first-team all-SCFA National Division Southern Conference honors. As a freshman during the 2007 season he had 18 receptions for 190 yards and three touchdowns. He prepped at nearby Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo.
Groeniger, at 6’5” and 250 pounds, has the size and skills to help him succeed at the NCAA Division I level. He has signed a letter of intent to play at Northern Illinois University. During the past season, Groeniger had seven receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He is a product of Aliso Niguel High School in Aliso Viejo.
Both players are exceptional students, as well, earning Scholar-Baller status for maintaining a cumulative grade point average above a 3.00 for all of their coursework since enrolling in college.
Saddleback posted a 7-3 record during their freshmen seasons in 2007 and added a 7-4 record this past season. The Gauchos qualified to play in a post-season bowl game following each of those seasons.
Saddleback now has seven players from this year’s football team committed to four-year colleges next season:
Nick Hutter WR 5’11” 180 Capistrano Valley HS Portland State Univ.
Nick Groeniger TE 6’5” 250 Aliso Niguel HS Northern Illinois Univ.
Jay Wisner WR 6’2” 190 Bozeman (MT) HS Auburn University
Aaron Brown SS 6’2” 220 Puyallup (WA) HS Univ. of Hawaii
Brett Leonard OT 6’5’ 310 Hollister HS Univ. of Hawaii
Daivon Dumas CB 6’2” 180 Aliso Niguel HS Northern Arizona Univ.
Mark Berry LB 6’0” 220 Granite Bay HS Azusa Pacific University
Saddleback College sophomore wide receiver Jay Wisner has committed to Auburn University, assistant coach Kerry Crabb announced today.
Wisner (6’2”, 190) earned second-team all-Southern California Football Association honors for the National Division Southern Conference after catching 40 passes for 786 yards (19.6 yards per catch) and six touchdowns while helping the Gauchos to a 7-4 overall record and a 5-1 mark in conference play. Saddleback was invited to play in the SCFA American Bowl, marking the eighth consecutive season the team has been to a post-season bowl game.
His top two games of the season included eight receptions for 137 yards on September 5th against Golden West College and then seven receptions for 151 yards and three touchdowns on October 18th against Long Beach City College. The three touchdown receptions tied a single-game school record.
As a freshman during the 2007 season, Wisner caught 18 passes for 204 yards (11.3 yards per catch) as the Gauchos finished 7-3 overall, 3-1 in conference play, and participated in the Western State Bowl.
Wisner, who was a Scholar-Baller this season for the Gauchos, is a product of Bozeman High School in Bozeman, Montana, where he was selected to both the all-conference and all-state teams for two years. He is a business major at Saddleback College.
Saddleback College is honored to have three of its sophomore football players receive JC Grid-Wire Academic Honor Roll honors after being nominated for the award by Head Coach Mark McElroy.
Quarterback Brian Shrock has maintained a 3.40 GPA during his collegiate career, including Scholar-Baller status this season. Shrock threw for 1,936 yards this season and had 18 touchdown passes in leading the Gauchos to a 7-4 overall record and a post-season playoff berth in the American Bowl.
Wide receiver Nick Hutter has maintained a 3.90 GPA during his college career and was also a Saddleback Scholar-Baller this season. Hutter led all Gaucho receivers with 43 receptions and eight touchdowns, averaging 71.7 yards per game.
Tight end Nick Groeniger maintained a 3.60 GPA while at Saddleback and was also a Scholar-Baller this season. Groeniger averaged 17.7 yards per reception and caught two touchdown passes.
Saddleback reached a post-season bowl game for the eighth consecutive year under Coach McElroy.
Three members of the 2008 Saddleback Gaucho football team recently gave commitments to 4-year programs as safety Aaron Brown and offensive lineman Brett Leonard committed to the University of Hawaii while corner Daivon Dumas committed to Northern Arizona.
"I verbally committed to Hawaii last week," Brown told JCGridiron.com in mid-December. "It was a good fit for me with the coaches and players. The fans in Hawaii are really supportive of the team. The visit went real well. I went to the Cincinnati game and the following day I went to the banquet and got to meet some of the players."
Brown is 6-foot-1, 210 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash around 4.5 seconds. He is currently rated the No. 53 junior college player in America by Rivals.com and is on track to transfer next May with three years left to play two years of football for the Warriors. He led the Gauchos with 59 tackles during the season, including 15 tackles-for-loss, six sacks, six pass break-ups and four interceptions.
Leonard is 6-foot-5, 310 pounds and rated 3-stars by Rivals.com. He signed a letter of intent during the early signing period and will arrive in Hawaii in January with three years left to play two years of football for the Warriors.
Dumas is 6-foot-2, 170 pounds and rated 3-stars by Rivals.com. He had 40 tackles on the season with a team-leading 12 pass break-ups.
Both Brown and Dumas were first team all-conference selections this past season while Leonard was a second team all-conference selection.
Saddleback ended up being ranked 15th in the first national poll to be finalized this season. The Gauchos (7-4) were the eighth California community college listed in JCGridiron.com Dirty 30 final poll. Butte College of Northern California was the top-ranked team after winning the state championship game to complete a perfect 12-0 record. Mt. San Antonio College, the runner-up in that game, finished third in the poll. Saddleback played Mt. San Antonio midway through the season and had a 20-7 cushion over the Mounties before falling in overtime, 23-20.
El Camino College is listed sixth in the poll with Fullerton following at seventh. Saddleback faced both teams during the season, falling to El Camino by a 31-28 score in the American Bowl after leading 21-0 in the first quarter. The Gauchos also fell to Fullerton, 24-21, after leading 21-3 in the first quarter.
The National Division Southern Conference awards were handed down last week and 13 Saddleback Gauchos made the all-conference lists. Eight Gauchos were named to the first team all-conference list while five made the second team.
Running back Jai Morris headlined the awards on offense by earning co-offensive MVP of the division along with Fullerton quarterback Jeff Fleming. The sensational freshman averaged 7.9 yards-per-carry during the season, finishing with 889 yards rushing and nine touchdowns during the regular season. In addition, Morris caught 16 balls out the backfield for 121 yards and another score. Morris finished second in the state in yards-per-carry behind Allan Hancock’s Telvin McMillian and was 14th in the state with 98.8 yards-per-game.
Safety Aaron Brown headlined the Gauchos defensive standouts as he was a unanimous selection on the first team after recording 52 tackles, nine tackles-for-loss, four interceptions and three sacks during the regular season. Brown was joined by corner Daivon Dumas and linebacker Akoni Lasconia on the first team defense while quarterback Brian Shrock, running back Micah Abreu-Laybon, wide receiver Nick Hutter and offensive guard Ryan Meehan also earned first team recognition on offense.
Players making the second team all-conference list included offensive tackle Brett Leonard, wide receiver Jay Wisner, defensive tackle Justin Fesili, linebacker Tyler Bundgard and punter Morris Keseloff.
Saddleback finished the season at 7-4 overall and 5-1 in divisional play. They lost to El Camino College, 31-28, in the American Bowl.
The Saddleback Gauchos fought until the bitter end but came up short in losing to El Camino College on Saturday night at the American Bowl, 31-28. The loss knocks Saddleback out of the Southern California playoffs and ends their season at 7-4 while El Camino (10-1) advances to the semifinals where they will face the winner of College of the Canyons and Antelope Valley.
Saddleback shot out of the gate quickly on Saturday night, scoring three times in the first 11 minutes to take what appeared to be a commanding 21-0 lead. Nick Hutter caught touchdown passes of seven and 24 yards from quarterback Brian Shrock before Jay Wisner ran one in from six yards out as the Gauchos capitalized on a pair of El Camino turnovers in front of a stunned Warrior crowd.
El Camino then kicked its offense into gear, scoring three times in the second quarter, the final tally being a 72-yard quarterback draw by Warrior quarterback James Coy as the teams went into the locker rooms tied at 21.
The defenses took control of things in the third quarter as the lone points of the frame were a 44-yard field goal by El Camino kicker Brian Blumberg. Saddleback had a chance to tie the score early in the fourth quarter but a field goal attempt went wide left and El Camino still held a 24-21 lead with 10:47 remaining on the clock.
Later in the fourth quarter Saddleback appeared to be a good position to get the ball back when they forced El Camino into a 3rd and 14 from their own 28-yard line. The Warriors, however, came up big as Coy found Kembrell Thompkins along the sidelines near the 45, where he broke one tackle and race 72 yards for the score to give El Camino a 31-21 lead with 3:33 remaining on the clock.
Saddleback returned the ensuing kickoff to the 40-yard line and quickly moved down the field deep into Warrior territory. The Gauchos, however, struggled to contain the El Camino defensive front and after two straight sacks were faced with 4th and 24 from the Warrior 31-yard line. Shrock then rolled out to his right and lofted a ball towards the end zone, where wide receiver Jay Wisner made a leaping catch and touchdown to make the score 31-28 with 1:07 remaining on the clock.
With no timeouts remaining, Saddleback then attempted an on-sides kick. Despite getting a picture-perfect hop on the kick, an El Camino player fell on the ball and the Gaucho season was only two kneel-downs from coming to a close.
El Camino outgained the Gauchos 457-249 for the game as Coy finished 22-of-38 for 367 yards passing and three touchdowns. He also led Warriors with 72 yards rushing as the rest of the El Camino running attack was held in check.
Shrock finished 17-for-27 for 199 yards and three touchdowns despite being on the run for most of the game. The Gaucho running game was led by Jai Morris, who finished with 45 yards on 10 carries.
The Saddleback College football team has been invited to play in a post-season bowl game for the eighth consecutive season and will travel to El Camino College in Torrance on Saturday, November 22, to face the Warriors in the American Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
The American Bowl will also serve as one quarterfinal game of the Southern California Regional playoffs. Saddleback (7-3) is the National Division Southern Conference runner-up and seeded fifth in the playoffs. El Camino (9-1) is the National Division Central Conference co-champion and is seeded fourth in the playoffs. El Camino’s only loss of the season was a 26-21 setback at the hands of Mt. San Antonio College. Saddleback also lost to Mt. San Antonio, 23-20 in overtime.
Saddleback, El Camino, and College of the Canyons are the only programs to qualify for the post-season playoffs in five of the six seasons that the format has been in place.
“The important thing to realize is that these are college students first who just happen to be playing football at an exceptional level and have found success doing that, as well. I’m sure the El Camino campus is as proud of its student-athletes as we are of our student-athletes at Saddleback. I’m expecting this to be a great game,” Saddleback College president Tod Burnett said. Burnett, in his first semester as president, has been in attendance at several Saddleback football games this season and plans to attend the bowl game.
Saddleback and El Camino are two of the community college athletic programs which have adopted the Scholar-Baller program which educates student-athletes on the importance of a college education and emphasizes academic success through an awards incentive plan.
These two teams have met 23 previous times on the gridiron, including each year for the past 14 seasons. The creation of the new Southern California Football Association (SCFA) caused a break in the regular-season rivalry, but the season’s final rankings created a post-season matchup to keep the rivalry alive. Saddleback leads the overall series against the Warriors, 12-11, but El Camino has won the past two matchups, including a 31-29 semifinal victory during the 2006 playoffs.
Saddleback has been averaging 234 rushing yards per game this season but went to an aerial attack in order to defeat Grossmont, 38-21, in last weekend’s regular-season finale in El Cajon. Quarterbacks Brian Shrock and David Ingram combined to complete 21 of 32 pass attempts for 393 yards and four touchdowns while the running game was limited to 85 net yards.
The Gauchos will try to balance the attack against El Camino. Freshman running back Jai Morris has 889 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, needing 111 rushing yards to reach the 1,000-yard milestone. He has rushed for over 100 yards six times this season.
Shrock has thrown for 1,737 yards and 15 touchdowns this year, needing 263 yards to reach the 2,000-yard mark. And receivers Nick Hutter (39 catches) and Jay Wisner (37 catches) are both close to reaching 40 receptions.
Saddleback head coach Mark McElroy, now in his 10th season, has a career record of 74-35 at the helm of the Gauchos and will be gunning for win number 75.
A berth in the eight-team regional playoffs was on the line Saturday when Saddleback traveled to Grossmont for the regular-season finale. And the Gauchos made sure that the playoff berth belonged to them with a comfortable 38-21 victory over the Griffins.
The Gauchos scored on a 6-yard pass from Brian Shrock to Ricky Pemasa early in the first quarter to give the Gauchos a 7-3 lead. David Ingram came off the bench in the second quarter to throw a pair to touchdown passes to Nick Hutter (25 and 51 yards) and the defense limited Grossmont to a pair of field goals as Saddleback enjoyed a 21-6 halftime lead. The Gauchos would build the lead to 35-13 in the fourth quarter before fumbling the ball away deep inside their own territory, allowing Grossmont to put together a short drive to cut into the lead at 35-21. But the defense held strong the rest of the way and the offense was able to burn up the rest of the clock. Christian Lepore kicked a season-long 47-yard field goal to give Saddleback its final margin of victory.
Shrock ended the game with 260 yards on 16-of-24 passing while Ingram added 133 yards on 5-of-8 passing. Both quarterbacks threw for two touchdowns. Hutter had the sticky fingers for the Gauchos, catching nine passes for 217 yards and both of Ingram's scoring tosses.
Saddleback's kicking game enjoyed its best game of the season. In addition to Lepore's field goal, he also averaged over 62 yards on kickoffs while punter Morris Keseloff averaged 41.8 yards on four punts, including a season-long 67 yard kick. Two punts were stopped inside the Griffin 20-yard line.
The win gave Saddleback second place in the SCFA National Division Southern Conference and an automatic berth in the regional playoffs which start next weekend. A place and opponent will be announced by the bowl selection committee on Sunday (Nov. 16). Check back here for more information.
Saddleback finishes the regular season with a 7-3 overall record and a 5-1 mark in Southern Conference play.
Saddleback rolled up 615 yards of offense against an Orange Coast team which was limiting opponents to just 282 yards of offense per game as the Gauchos posted a 48-38 victory in their final home game of the season. The 615 yards of offense ties a school record set in 1996 against, ironically, Orange Coast College. This year's team actually had 616 yards of offense before Gaucho quarterback Brian Shrock took a knee for a 1-yard loss with 24 seconds remaining to run out the clock.
The defenses were the heralded squads of both teams coming into the contest. But it was the offensive units which provided the entertainment with their cat-and-mouse scoring exchanges. Orange Coast got on the scoreboard first, taking advantage of a Jai Morris fumble at midfield and converting it into a touchdown five plays later. But Saddleback answered back when Ricky Pemasa found the endzone on a 1-yard plunge followed by an 11-yard scoring pass from Shrock to Nick Hutter to give Saddleback a 14-7 lead. Christian Lepore added a 25-yard field goal early in the second quarter to give Saddleback a 17-7 lead and Lepore would add a 32-yard field goal with 46 seconds remaining to seal the victory for the Gauchos (6-3 overall, 4-1 in conference).
The Pirates would tied the score at 17-17 with 2:54 remaining in the first half before Saddleback put together a 7-play, 75-yard drive which culminated in a 3-yard touchdown run by Morris to put Saddleback up 24-17 at halftime. Orange Coast would tie the score at 24-24 midway through the third quarter on a 5-play, 75-yard drive of its own. Morris added a 2-yard run
late in the third quarter to put Saddleback up 31-24 but Orange Coast finished off the quarter by scoring on a 20-yard pass play to knot the score at 31's.
The Gauchos opened the fourth quarter with a fake field goal attempt that resulted in a touchdown when Cameron Chadwick tossed the ball to Pemasa who ran 24 yards for the score. But OCC answered just five minutes later on an 80-yard pass from quarterback Taylor Hughes to Cameron Hall which knotted the score again at 38's with 7:12 to play. Saddleback would take the lead just two plays later as Pemasa broke off a 22-yard run to get the ball into Pirate territory and Morris lugged it 39 yards on the next play to put Saddleback up 45-38. Orange Coast took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 48 yards, getting to the Saddleback 35-yard line. But Gaucho defensive back Jeremy Rodenburg intercepted Hughes to end the Pirate threat. Saddleback was able to burn about 2:30 off the clock before Lepore's second field goal put the game out of reach. Orange Coast's last minute drive was stopped on the second play from scrimmage when J.R. Griffin intercepted Hughes.
Saddleback will have a week off before wrapping up the regular-season schedule at Grossmont on November 15.
No one doubted it would be a close matchup when #5 ranked Saddleback visited #4 ranked Fullerton on Saturday night (Oct. 25) in the Fullerton District Stadium. But to think Saddleback would lose the time-of-possession battle and four turnovers would have taken a stretch of the imagination. Yet, that's what happened as Fullerton edged Saddleback 24-21.
Fullerton had the ball for nearly 10 more minutes than Saddleback (35 to 25) during the game, but that wouldn't have made much of a difference had it not been for the Gaucho turnovers. Saddleback stepped out to a 21-3 lead over Fullerton in the first quarter and it looked like this game might turn into a rout as Jai Morris caught an 18-yard scoring pass from Brian Shrock to get the Gauchos on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter. After allowing a 42-yard field goal to the Hornets, Saddleback answered back when Matt Garcia returned a punt 54 yards for a touchdown and Morris added a 71-yard touchdown run on the last play of the first quarter. But Fullerton cut its deficit to 21-10 by halftime.
Despite Morris' 122 rushing yards on 11 carries, Fullerton was able to shut down the rest of Saddleback's rushing attack. The Gauchos could not convert any second-half points as Morris fumbled twice (recovering one of his fumbles) and an errant snap caused another fumble which Fullerton recovered. Add in two passes that Shrock had intercepted and a trio of Saddleback personal fouls late in the game which allowed Fullerton to keep it's final scoring drive alive and you have the recipe for disaster.
Fullerton, which couldn't convert its final drive a week earlier against College of the Canyons, appeared in trouble again against Saddleback. Faced with a pair of critical fourth down plays, the Hornets converted both to keep the drive alive but the clock ticking inside two minutes. With 1:02 remaining in the game, quarterback Jeff Fleming found Dameron Fooks open in the back of the endzone for a nine yard scoring pass to give Fullerton its first lead of the game, 24-21. Saddleback's final drive ended with an interception.
Morris finished with 188 total yards of offense for the Gauchos (122 rushing, 43 receiving, 23 kick returns) and Micah Abreu-Laybon added 121 yards (52 rushing, 57 receiving, 12 kick returns). Jon Loynes was credited with nine tackles on defense along with an interception while Jason Young posted eight tackles, including three for lost yardage, and Aaron Brown had seven tackles, a sack, and an interception.
Saddleback will host Orange Coast College on Saturday, November 1, at 6:00 p.m. in the campus stadium.
Saddleback took control of the SCFA National Division's Southern Conference with a 63-44 victory over Long Beach City College on Saturday night at home on the Saddleback campus.
Freshman free safety Cameron Chadwick started the scoring barrage for the Gauchos (5-2, 3-0) as he intercepted a pass and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown to tie the score 7-7. After that, it was the Brian Shrock Show as the sophomore quarterback completed 22 of his 26 pass attempts for 356 and six touchdowns. Three of those touchdown passes went to wide receiver Jay Wisner who caught seven passes for 151 yards on the night. The other three scoring passes went to wide receiver Nick Hutter who had seven total catches for 112 yards. The Gauchos held a 35-17 lead at halftime.
The Gauchos will travel to Fullerton to face the Hornets (5-1, 2-0) next Saturday for a 6:00 p.m. kickoff.
Saddleback scored midway through the first quarter and then added 10 points in the second quarter to jump out to a 17-0 lead and then held on in the waning moments to hand host Palomar a 24-21 defeat. The win improved the Gauchos' record to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in conference play while Palomar (4-2, 0-2) lost its second game in a row and second in conference.
Micah Abreu-Laybon got the Gauchos on the scoreboard early with a 29-yard scoring run just over six minutes into the game. Quarterback Brian Shrock found receiver Lamont Enyard open for a 25-yard scoring pass on just the second play of the second quarter, and kicker Christian Lepore booted a 26-yard field goal with 1:18 showing on the clock before halftime as Saddleback appeared to be cruising to another big win. But Palomar put together a short drive, helped by a Saddleback personal foul and a 27-yard scramble by the Comets' quarterback, to score a touchdown with just 16 seconds on the clock to cut the lead back to 10 points, 17-7.
The Gauchos opened the second half at their own 15-yard line but moved quickly upfield. Jai Morris had a 50-yard run before being caught from behind at the Palomar 1-yard line. Morris fumbled the ball and after much debate among the officials it was ruled a touchback for Palomar, halting Saddleback's scoring drive. An angry Gaucho defense forced a quick three-and-out and Palomar hurt itself with a 25-yard punt to midfield. The Gauchos took advantage with a 54-yard drive capped by Ricky Pemasa's 2-yard plunge for the touchdown and a 24-7 lead.
Palomar scored on its first possession of the fourth quarter then received great field position around midfield when Saddleback's next three drives netted just two yards and ended with two short punts and a failed run on fourth down. The Comets turned the short field into a touchdown to draw closer at 24-21 with under four minutes to play.
Palomar got the ball back with 2:46 to play but a short run and two incomplete passes forced the Comets into a fourth-and-nine situation. Quarterback Matt Christian was then sacked by Saddleback linebacker Mark Berry for a 12-yard loss to end the Comets' threat. It was Berry's third sack of the afternoon.
Morris ended up with 158 rushing yards on 18 carries for about one-half of Saddleback's 312 rushing yards. Shrock added 157 passing yards on an 11-for-20 day. Saddleback's defense was led by safety Aaron Brown's 13 tackles (10 solo), including three tackles for lost yardage, two quarterback hurries, a pass break up, an interception, and he also forced a fumble. Berry finished the day with 10 tackles including three sacks and he also forced a fumble.
Saddleback returns home on Saturday, October 18, to host Long Beach City College (3-2, 0-1) starting at 6:00 pm in the campus stadium.