COD Football struggles to find rhythm, falling in Patriotic Bowl to Huskies, 63-37

COD Football struggles to find rhythm, falling in Patriotic Bowl to Huskies, 63-37

COD (6-5) finished the year hosting the Patriotic Bowl and found themselves in a huge hole early, fighting their way back they took a 37-28 lead midway through the 3rd quarter, then the game went sideways, falling to the Monterey Park East Los Angeles Huskies (9-2), 63-37.

Roadrunners freshman quarterback De'Abrie Smith (Palatka, FL) was named the offensive Player of the Game, throwing 49 passes and completing 31 of them for 324 yards and 2 scores on the evening. His leading target was sophomore wide receiver Reginald Macon (Fort Worth (TX) Boswell) who grabbed 11 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. Both sophomore running back Anthony Ellison (Banning H.S.) and freshman running back Kamone Best (Goldsboro (NC) Eastern Wayne) struggled to get going all night as they both combined to carry the ball only 26 times for 88 yards and two visits to the end zone.

The Huskies would take their opening drive in for a score, taking an early 7-0 lead. On the ensuing drive by Desert, the Huskies would sack Smith, who fumbled the ball and take the rock to the Roadrunners 3 yard line, where after four attempts, made the score 14-0. After a surprise East LA onside kick, moments later they were on top 21-0, leaving the home crowd quiet.

Then Desert woke up. Converting a desperate 4th and 1, they snagged two huge offensive plays culminating in a 32 yard pass from Smith to Ellison to get the Roadrunners onto the board, 21-7.

Then Desert woke up. Converting a desperate 4th and 1, they snagged two huge offensive plays culminating in a 32 yard pass from Smith to Ellison to get the Roadrunners onto the board, 21-7. Immediately after getting their first points on the board the Desert defense forced the Huskies into making their first punt of the game. 

On the ensuing drive, the Roadrunners rumbled down the field on 10 plays and 63 yards, culminating on a 4th down and 17 yards to go, where Smith launched a pass to Macon in the corner of the end zone and after an extra point by freshman kicker Ethan Skarmas (Palm Springs Desert Chapel), the home side got to within seven, 21-14.

On the next drive for the Huskies, sophomore defensive back Corey Dalton (Midlothian (IL) Bremen) would grab his ninth pick of the season, leading to a Desert 34-yard field goal by Skarmas to get the Roadrunners within 11, 28-17.

The Desert defense wasn't done, as they turned a 3rd and 1 yard to go situation, into a 4th and 13, after sophomore strong safety Izaias Jackson (Las Vegas, NV Centennial) and sophomore linebacker Brayden Bailey (St. George, UT Desert Hills) pummeled the Huskies quarterback for a loss of 12 yards.

Just before halftime, Desert would convert a 29-yard field goal into three more points on the scoreboard, with both teams going into the break, with East Los Angeles up, 28-20.

Since Desert won the opening coin toss and decided to defer to the second half, they received the football and made the most of it, as they rolled 83 yards in nine plays, ending with a 2-yard dive into the end zone by Ellison, getting the Roadrunners to within one, 28-27. On the ensuing kickoff, the Huskies fumbled the ball and the Roadrunners recovered, giving the home side the ball on the East Los Angeles 33 yard line. The possession turned into a Skarmas 37-yard field goal, giving Desert the lead, 30-28.

Dalton would strike again on the next drive for the Huskies, as he snagged his 10th interception of the season and moments later Best darted into the end zone on a 20-yard scamper to give Desert something to really cheer about, a 37-28 lead. 

The lead would last 11 seconds as East Los Angeles launched a 75-yard catch-and-run to get back to within 2-points, 37-35. As both teams entered the 4th quarter, Desert was set to punt the ball away, unfortunately, the punt would only go 15 yards, giving the Huskies excellent field position. In three plays, East Los Angeles was back in the end zone, this time with a five-point lead, 42-37.

On the ensuing drive for Desert, the Roadrunners tried to convert a 4th and 1 yard to go from their own 19 yard line, but failed, and the Huskies turned that call into six more points.

While the result isn't what any Roadrunner was looking for, there are some fantastic positives from this past season, including: retaining the "Palms to Pines" trophy, the impressive return of De'Abrie Smith after missing half the season due to injury, the performance of the Desert defense, knocking out an undefeated Southwestern team, then rolling over a pesky Victor Valley team and hosting a Bowl game for the first time in over 22-years. 

Photo by Brian Sylva (COD SID)
Information, Photos & Story provided by COD Sports Information.