Fullerton, Calif. - The Golden West football team opened the 2019 campaign with 38-33 fall short comeback against the Fullerton College Hornets.
The Rustlers (0-1) pushed down the field in their maiden offensive series with seven plays and 61 yards culminating in a 28-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Jose Arredondo.
Fullerton (1-0) went on to take advantage of the GWC defense getting into the end zone on their second and third possessions to take an early 14-3 lead midway through the first quarter.
With 3 seconds left in the first quarter, the game took a strange turn at Fullerton's 3-yardline as a pass was was tipped, hit a helmet, and caught by Rustler VJ Malo. Malo proceeded to run the ball into the end zone for GWC's first touchdown of the game to cut the lead to 21-10 to end the first quarter. The Hornets were quick to respond to build on their early lead, 28-10.
The Rustlers answered back with a touchdown with 3 minutes left in the half. Quarterback Zach Lewis came in for Nathaniel Espinoza, who was injured during the previous play. Lewis proved worthy throwing the ball in a rope where only his receiver Adam Armstrong could catch it. Armstrong's catch was a fine display of balance, strength, and concentration.
Both teams headed to their respective lockerooms at the half with Fullerton leading 28-17.
The third quarter was relatively quiet with Fullerton putting up 3 points on a 31-yard shot at 8:04.
Dark clouds formed over the Hornets in the fourth quarter as they committed two costly fumbles that seemed to stymie the offense. For the remainder of the game, the Hornets could not get it together as the Rustlers scored two unanswered touchdowns to creep back in the game. Lewis threw a 1-yard TD to Trevor Hobbs and Lewis hit David Atencio in stride for a 60-yard score.
With just over five minutes left in the game, the FC defense stepped up big forcing the surging Rustler offense to punt after three plays. The GWC punt put Fullerton in dangerous territory back on their own 7 yard line. Committing 4 turnovers on the day, one had to wonder if there was another coming. Unfortunately, the Hornets offensive unit remained focused and in control as they ran the clock down to the final seconds. With 4 seconds left on fourth down, Fullertons quarterback took the ball from under center from the 22 and ran backwards through the back of the end zone for a safety as the final second ran off the clock. Fullerton held on for a 38-33 non-conference win.
NEXT: Golden West will host San Diego Mesa on Saturday, September 14 with a 1pm kickoff.