Eagles 22 - Ayala 17

FULLERTON, CA., September 8, 2000 – The Eagles opened their 12th varsity season with an exciting 22-17 win over the Ayala Bulldogs before approximately 3,000 fans at Cal State Fullerton. After falling behind 17-0 with 4:28 left in the third quarter, the Eagle offense, led by senior captains Tyler Thompson and Matt Dlugolecki, exploded for 22 unanswered points to end their three game losing streak and win their opening game of the season for the fifth straight year and ninth time in 12 tries. The Eagles' recovery from a 17-point deficit was their largest come from behind victory ever eclipsing the 14-0 deficit against Woodbridge in 1992. The Bulldog's, ranked second in Division II, featured a wing-based running attack led by FB Eric Stormon (15 carries for 87 yards and a Td) and exploited the Eagles early on by controlling the clock for nearly 17 of the first 24 minutes and grinding out first downs in route to a 10-0 halftime lead. At the half the Eagles had run only 14 plays and were outgained 202 to 61. After forcing a Bulldog punt on the first series of the second half, Dlugolecki tried to force a pass that was picked off at the Eagle 23. Three plays later Charlie Douglass hit TE Chuck Asiodu with a 16-yard touchdown pass and a seeming insurmountable 17-0 lead. From there the Eagles showed new life. Taking over on their own 20 they marched 80 yards on only four plays set up by sophomore Ashton White's 31-yard run and a nine-yard run by Thompson which set up a 46-yard Td pass from Dlugolecki to Thompson to close the margin to 17-7 with under 3:00 minutes left in the quarter. After forcing the Bulldogs to go three-and-out, Dlugolecki hit Ryan Whelan for 15 yards and found Thompson again, this time for 43 yards, to set up a first down at the Bulldog 8. Two plays later Thompson took it over from three yards out on the last play of the third quarter to close the gap to 17-13. A sack by Alex Huston on the ensuing series forced Ayala to punt from their own 12 where the Eagles promptly went on a eight-play 55-yard drive in leas than four minutes capped by Tim Clark's sensational 21-yard TD catch and run to take the lead for good at 19-17 with 6:19 to play. Chad Brazee's recovery of a Bulldog fumble at the Ayala 26 with 5:01 remaining set up Curtis Cooper's 42-yard field goal to complete the scoring. Ayala's last hope was erased when White made a leaping interception at the Eagle 39 with 2:53 left to seal the victory. Thompson was selected Offensive Player of the Game for his 83 yards rushing, career-high 100 yards receiving on only three catches and two touchdowns. Dlugolecki (13 of 19 for 190 yards and two Tds) and Spencer Hollison (five decleaters) also had strong games offensively. Senior LB Matt Vogel led the defense with 10 tackles and also averaged 35 yards per punt while Huston (nine tackles and Defensive Player of the Game) and Brazee (six tackles and Defensive Lineman of the Game) in particular stood out.

By Adrian Peters
Sports Information Director