SANTA MONICA – The El Camino College soccer team hadn’t played a game in almost two years and it was evident at the start of the season opener against Santa Monica College on Saturday.
The ECC put the ball on the ground three times in the first quarter, allowing the host Corsairs to score 14 points in the first quarter to take an early lead.
The Warriors (1-0) pulled it together, however, scoring 45 points in a row, led by former North Torrance running back Stephen Bradford (144 yards, two TDs) in a 52-14 win.
ECC won a total of 623 yards of offensive and defense forced six turnovers.
“It was the first game in two years,” said ECC coach Gifford Lindheim. “It’s a brand new soccer team. It took us a minute to figure things out, and we had four sales in the first half of the year. It took us a while to find ourselves. Give credit to Santa Monica. They were ready to play and took advantage of our mistakes early on.
“As soon as we got a foothold, I thought we were in good shape. We have a really talented group this year. (Quarterback) Mehki (Jordan) did a good job today. We are also very enthusiastic about him. “
The last game ECC played was November 19, 2019, a 54-45 win over San Diego Mesa in the Patriotic Bowl.
After 14-7 with less than four minutes of play in the first quarter, the Warriors put down a good drive, walking 70 yards in 13 games that ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Jordan to Dion Moore.
After the Warriors Santa Monica defense had stopped at the next possession, the offense struck quickly, thanks to Robert Hightower (Leuzinger), who scored with a 1-yard run to 21:14 lead.
It looked like this was the pre-halftime score, but the El Camino defense held Santa Monica deep in their own territory, forcing a punt from near the Corsairs end zone, giving the Warriors the ball on the Santa Monica brought the 47-yard line. In the first game after the punt, Jordan Moore found again for a 47-yard touchdown pass, which extended the lead to 28:14 with 23 seconds remaining in the half.
“It feels really good to be able to play football again. It’s my favorite thing to do. It’s great to be with my boys again and to have the family atmosphere here, ”said Jordan, who completed 15 of 22 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns. “We have a lot of weapons on the offensive, a lot of guys who can run the ball and some really good receivers. We were just trying to implement the things we were working on and we did that today. “
In the second half, El Camino rolled on when Bradford broke off runs of 7 and then 8 yards to help the Warriors get into Santa Monica Territory at the 44-yard line. Bradford then broke the Corsairs line and started on the right sideline for a 44-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 35:14. The warriors were never challenged again.
“I ground two years and waited to play this game. It felt great to play again. We played a good game on the offensive. We just have to correct our mistakes, ”said Bradford. “My goal this season is to break the El Camino rushing record. I try to get 100 yards or more in every game. “
Next week, El Camino is heading to Bakersfield against Ventura ahead of his home opener in two weeks.