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first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre But the team’s defense and special teams held down the fort until the offense arrived in the second half of a 42-13 Mission Conference American Division win at Orange Coast College on Saturday night. El Camino (7-1, 3-0) hosts Fullerton (6-2, 2-1) next Saturday in its regular-season finale with the American Division title on the line. El Camino’s defense snagged five interceptions and allowed just 51 yards rushing on 28 carries. Leading the way was sophomore cornerback James Wheeler, who had two interceptions that led directly to El Camino touchdowns. Lamar Chapman and Reggie Foster also had interceptions before Hilton Dawson made it five with a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to give the Warriors a 42-6 lead. Wheeler came down with the first interception of the night late in the second quarter, picking off a pass from Orange Coast quarterback Chris Debowski (16-for-31, 128 yards, one touchdown, five interceptions) on the El Camino 14-yard line and returning it 23 yards to the 37. The Warriors then took just four plays to score their first offensive touchdown. A 24-yard run by Ken Ashley and a 31-yard completion from Boo Jackson to Verran Tucker set up Jackson’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Price, giving El Camino a 14-6 lead with 1:04 left in the first half. JC FOOTBALL: Warriors collect five interceptions, and the offense roars to life in the second half. By Dave Thorpe Staff Writer The El Camino football team’s offense was rusty in the first half against Orange Coast after a two-week layoff because of the Southern California wildfires. Wheeler struck again on Orange Coast’s first possession of the third quarter, intercepting Debowski on the Pirates 32-yard line and returning it to the 1-yard line. El Camino was pushed back to the 23-yard line because of an illegal block penalty, but a 22-yard run by Jackson helped set up his 6-yard touchdown strike to Harry Deberry, giving El Camino a 21-7 lead with 10:28 left in the third quarter. El Camino’s offense was laboring before Wheeler’s interceptions helped give it life. It’s the kind of game Wheeler said he has been looking for after some inconsistent play this season. “I haven’t been playing that well, so I’ve been waiting for a breakout game,” Wheeler said. Wheeler began the season as a starter, but has been sharing time at cornerback in recent games. “It’s great to see him reappear,” El Camino coach John Featherstone said. Wheeler’s interceptions started a stretch where Debowski threw four interceptions in seven pass attempts from late in the second quarter to early in the third quarter. “We have good athletes in the secondary,” Featherstone said. “They got good jumps on the ball and created some important turnovers.” Price was one of the few bright spots for El Camino in the first half. When the Warriors offense struggled to get anything going early and the team fell behind, 6-0, Price returned a punt 48 yards for a touchdown. He fielded the bouncing ball, stepped around the first defender and then streaked down the sideline before cutting inside at the 10-yard line and taking the ball into the end zone. “I finally got a chance to do some things for the team. I’ve been waiting on it,” Price said. “Coach said he needed someone to make a play so I put it on my shoulders.” On El Camino’s next possession after a Wheeler interception, Price caught a touchdown pass from Jackson. “Price has been consistent for us for two years,” Featherstone said. “He got us jump-started tonight.” Jackson finished 15-for-24 for 200 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Corey Surrency had five catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. dave.thorpe@dailybreeze.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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