The Saddleback football team won its fifth straight game on Saturday night with a 32-12 victory over Grossmont College. The Gauchos welcomed home the 1985 national title team with an old-fashion whoopin.
The 1985 team was recognized at halftime as they celebrated the 30-year reunion of the 11-0 squad. The 2015 Gauchos treated them to a blast from the past, dominating Grossmont in every aspect of the game.
The contest started slowly, with both defenses stepping up and the offenses sputtering. Saddleback finally broke through when Johnny Stanton found Remy Wasserbach on a simple slant that Wasserbach turned into a 71-yard touchdown. The Gauchos then converted on a two-point conversion to take an 8-0 and never looked back. Two drives later, Saddleback went 88 yards in 12 plays for a 15-3 lead, capped off by a Myron Buchanan touchdown from five yards out.
The Saddleback defense was the story, allowing just 92 yards of offense to Grossmont over the first 30 minutes. The Gauchos kept it up in the second half, keeping the Griffins out of the end zone until late in the game by putting constant pressure on the quarterback and stifling an offense that came in with one of the better rushing attacks in the region.
Saddleback sacked Grossmont quarterbacks six times as Carlton LaFrance (pictured) and Jeff Holsinger finished with 2.5 sacks apiece. LaFrance was a beast, finishing with eight tackles on the night and consistently spending time in the Griffin backfield.
In addition to the defensive front, the secondary was stellar, covering Grossmont receivers like glue and batting down balls like human flyswatters. Marcus Meredith had another big night, finishing with eight tackles, 1.5 sacks and two pass break-ups. Corner Darryl Wyrick capped off the night with an interception in the corner of the end zone with time winding down on a night where Saddleback defensive backs recorded 11 pass break-ups.
Saddleback's offense eventually wore down the Grossmont defensive unit. After a slow start the Gauchos started picking up bigger chunks of yardage on the ground. Saddleback used six running backs in the game, led by Buchanan. The sophomore from Missouri carried the ball eight times for 38 yards while change-of-pace backs Jojo Binda and Marvin Marshall entered the game later to gash the Griffins for some big gains. Saddleback finished with a 360-254 advantage in total yardage, with a large chunk of the Grossmont yards coming late in the game with mostly fresh jerseys in the game for the Gauchos.
The win was Saddleback's fifth straight, making it the longest winning streak since winning five straight in 2012. It gives the Gauchos a 3-0 record in Southern League play with three games remaining on the schedule.
Saddleback (5-2, 3-0) will travel to Orange Coast College (4-2, 2-0) next Saturday for a 1:00 PM start in Costa Mesa. The Pirates are one of the other hot teams in the conference, winning four straight.