Posted: Sep 01, 2018
Huntington Beach, Calif. - Golden West charged back from a halftime deficit but fell just short to Fullerton 30-27 in the season opener Saturday on campus.
There were two major story lines coming into Saturday afternoons game; quarterback Beau Kalbacher and linebacker David Aldapa returning from injury and will the Rustlers' defense hold Fullerton to less than 50 points. Safe to say, both headlines came to fruition. Kalbacher and Aldapa made a sizeable impact on the game. Kalbacher passed for 4 touchdowns and Aldapa was in on 4 tackles. Fullerton was held to 30 points by the Rustler defense, which is tremendous considering the Hornets have scored 55 and 59 points against the last two seasons.
Fullerton got the scoring started with a 2-yard run by dynamic running back Infant Eckford. He would finish with an astounding 115 yards rushing. After that, Kalbacher took the game into his hands connecting with Ben Ratzlaff for two consecutive touchdowns of 28 and 10 yards. The two connected a third time in the fourth quarter and it seems these two will be this seasons primary pass-catch tandem.
Once it seemed like Golden West was on a roll, leave it to Fullerton to ruin the party as the Hornets stormed back to score 16 unanswered points before halftime. First, running back Devin Moore punched in an 8-yard score, then Quarterback Zach Smith, one of three used, hit Robert Downs from 41 yards away and finally, Corey Lewis knocked a 37-yard field goal.
When the teams returned from the locker room, Fullerton decided it was not finished. Primary quarterback Gresch Jensen found Jawaun Johnson over the middle and sprinted 88 yards to put the game out of reach… or so Fullerton thought.
Kalbacher put the team on his back and lead two scoring drives to put the Rustlers within three points. He first hit Ratzlaff in the endzone for the third time, a 32-yard strike, and then found local product David Atencio (Edison) from 29 yards away. Atencio would be targeted again for the two-point conversion, which was successful. Now the Rustlers are within three with just under 15 minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately, this would be it for the scoring and Golden West would suffer yet another loss at the hands of Fullerton. Even though the result did not go the Rustlers' way, there were plenty of positives to take from the game. Kalbacher showed his premier throwing ability with 26 completions on 321 yards. The receiving core took the top off the defense thanks in part to Ratzlaff's 86 yards, Shshi Penn's 78 yards, including a 41-yard completion, and Atencio's 68 yards.
Golden West will look to capitalize off this game next week in San Diego against SD Mesa. One week from then will be the next home game, which is against West L.A. at 1 p.m. on campus.
Written by: Kyle Infante, PA Announcer