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Bucs-Gauchos tonight

September 18, 1999

Tony Altobelli

COSTA MESA - On paper, it looked like Mt. San Antonio College

football team had its way with Saddleback's group last week.

That's why the game is played on the field and not on paper. On the

field, where it counts, Saddleback came from behind to knock off the

nationally-ranked Mounties on the road, 26-23.

For Coach Mark McElroy, he became the first Gaucho head coach to win

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his Saddleback coaching debut.

Five Mt. SAC turnovers, a four-minute offensive explosion and a stingy

fourth-quarter defense preserved the win for Saddleback, which will duel

Orange Coast College tonight at 7 at OCC.

Before that four-minute span in the third quarter, Mt. SAC was

leading, 15-7, and in control of the game.

All of a sudden, a 62-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Adam

Hoover to Chris Weinrauch, a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, resulting in

an 8-yard TD from Hoover to Brandon Runk and a 41-yard interception

return for a touchdown by Chad Harris, and Saddleback had a 26-15 lead.

After giving up 20 third-quarter points to Mt. SAC and clinging to a

26-23 lead, the Gaucho defense, led by Harris and linebacker Tii

Anderson, kept the Mounties off the scoreboard the entire fourth quarter

to preserve the win.

Despite the win against Mt. SAC, the Gauchos allowed 437 yards of

total offense, including 263 on the ground.

In addition, Saddleback was last in the Mission Conference in passing

offense and passing defense, so look for the Pirates to try to take

advantage.

Like Saddleback, the defense of OCC also made the big play when it was

needed and Jared Flint and the offense showed signs it can take over a

game following the Pirates' 31-24 win over Fullerton.

Pirate Coach Mike Taylor sees similarities between last week's game

and tonight's game.

"I see this game coming down to the end, like our game with

Fullerton," Taylor said. "Just like any game, if we keep our mistakes

down to a minimum and we stay disciplined against Saddleback's Fly-T

offense, it should be close." Saddleback is coming off a 2-8 season

last year, including an 0-5 mark against OCC's Mission Conference,

Northern Division.

This year's Gauchos group is similar to that of OCC's, freshman-heavy

and inexperienced.

The Gauchos lead the series, 14-9, and have played OCC each season

since 1976.

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