Records fall in marathon flagfest

photo c/o Cliff Robbins
photo c/o Cliff Robbins

The Saddleback football team improved to 6-2 on Saturday night with a 77-24 win against Grossmont College at the Saddleback Stadium.  A number of records fell in a game that lasted 3.5 hours.

The Gauchos scored a record 77 points on Saturday night and set a single-game record with 11 touchdowns.  Running back Emari Demercado set an individual single-game record by rushing for five touchdowns.   Saddleback tied a record with 35 points in a quarter (2nd) and DaQu'an Davis recorded a 98-yard kickoff return in the opening quarter, which ranks eighth all-time.  The 53-point victory tied the sixth most lopsided win in program history.

On any given night, any one of those accomplishments could be the story of the game.  On this night, however, that distinction was left to the officials. The two teams were whistled for a combined 39 penalties, and those were only the ones that were accepted.  Saddleback was penalized 23 times on their own, with 17 of them coming in the opening half when they were flagged for 178 yards in penalties.  The game lasted 3.5 hours, much of which was the players and coaches standing around waiting for officials to come out of a huddle.   It went so long that the scheduled 3.5-hour broadcast on the Gaucho Sports Network was cut off with seven minutes remaining in the game, forcing producers to scramble to get the final minutes back on air.  

In the end, Saddleback dominated from start to finish against Grossmont despite racking up 261 yards worth of yellow flags.  The Gauchos rattled off 42 straight points at one point and the game was well in hand midway through the second quarter. 

Demercado (pictured) scored four touchdowns in the opening half, including three in a row to give the Gauchos a 42-7 lead.  Following a Grossmont score to open the second half, he scored his fifth of the game when he did a tightrope along the sidelines for a 43-yard scamper.  Demercado finished with 160 yards on only 19 carries, averaging 8.4 yards-per-carry.  In addition, he also finished with six catches for 58 yards out of the backfield, giving him 218 yards of total offense.

The offense wasn't the only part of the team putting up big numbers.  Saddleback's defense forced six turnovers, including five interceptions.  Tristan Kafentzis finished with two interceptions, and had a third that was returned 69 yards for a touchdown nullified when Saddleback was whistled for roughing the passer.  Chris Evagues finished with four tackles-for-loss and three sacks.  Christian Rabay had five tackles and a fumble recovery, with yet another interception that was nullified due to a penalty.  The Gauchos harassed and humbled the Griffins all night long, allowing only 289 yards of offense while holding Grossmont quarterbacks to 18-of-43 passing.

The win puts Saddleback at 6-2 for the year and 2-1 in National Division Southern League play.  The Gauchos will look to improve to 7-2 next week they host Palomar College at the stadium.  Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM.