(Walnut, CA) After five years of "road" home games, the Mt. SAC Football team finally debuted its new stadium on the Walnut campus at Hilmer Lodge Stadium Saturday night, September 25.
"This is going to be an amazing facility for many, many years," Mt. SAC Athletic Director Joe Jennum said. "When we looked to build this new facility, we had larger events in our sights, including the Olympic Trials.
"We couldn't have (built this facility) without the administration really making a commitment to programs on campus, including athletics, and putting top-rated facilities in their sites for making it all happen for those programs."
With the last home game taking place on November 4, 2015, the Mounties hosted a home game and defeated No. 7 (CCCSIA Poll) Bakersfield, 45-21.
"It's nice to be home, it's nice to be home," simply said, by longtime Mt. SAC (No. 8) coach Bob Jastrab, about the first home game. "The kids played well and they played excited and had a lot of big plays in the game.
"It was a great game going back and forth and it kind of broke the camels back with that last 94-yard run. What a battle. Every time we play Bakersfield, it's a battle. They have great players and I'm just happy that we came out on top."
Mt. SAC was led by freshman quarterback Alex Flores (22 of 32, 1 Int) with 210 yards and two touchdowns.
"The coaches have put up great game plans all week," Flores said. "I've been truly blessed because coach (Mike) Moschetti (La Mirada HS coach) has prepared me to the full extent, along with coach Cam (Cameron Dean), coach Bobby (Purcell), and coach Bob (Jastrab) of Mt. SAC.
"I loved every single second (of the game and stadium). These back-and-forth battles, that's what truly brings out the team."
Flores' favorite target was sophomore wide receiver Reginald Anderson (5 catches, 82 yards) with two touchdowns, along with eight other receivers
"He (Flores) stepped up big time," said Anderson of Flores. "We stepped up together.
"All of this (new stadium) is amazing. From playing at (Covina) District Field to coming here is amazing. I can't thank the builders enough."
Mt. SAC freshman running back Keoua Kauni (7 carries, 149 yards) scored two TDs.
Breaking in the new stadium on the scoreboard was a 35-yard field goal by freshman kicker Noah Carlton with 8:01 left in the first quarter for the 3-0 lead.
That lead was short-lived, as Bakersfield scored the first touchdown in the new stadium, on an electrifying 100-yard kickoff return and the 7-3 lead.
After Mt. SAC and Bakersfield both failed to move the ball on their next possessions, the Mounties took their second lead of the game on a 9-play, 70-yard scoring drive, culminating with a long touchdown pass
Anderson took the short pass and broke a couple of tackles and sprinted into the end zone for a 45-yard touchdown reception from Flores for the 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
With Bakersfield driving late in the half, Mt. SAC sophomore defensive back Dedric Luton intercepted Bakersfield quarterback Dexter Frampton and ran 11 yards for the score and the 17-7 lead.
The second half started with an offensive explosion for both teams, as four consecutive touchdowns were scored, two by each team in 6:30.
The Renegades took the opening kickoff and drove 60 yards, culminating with a 1-yard touchdown run by wide receiver Isaac Jernagin, to trail, 17-14.
The Mounties answered with a 7-play drive, as Kauni exploded out of the backfield for a 16-yard score and the 24-14 lead.
Bakersfield again answered with a 58-yard scoring pass to close within three points, 24-21.
However, just three plays and 60 yards later on the next Mounties possession, freshman back Nicholas Floyd scored on a 25-yard run for the 10-point, 31-21 lead.
Anderson scored his second TD with 8:59 left in the game for the 38-21 lead.
That was followed by an exclamation point to the game on opening night for the new Hilmer Lodge Stadium, as Kauni took off for a 94-yard touchdown run.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Mounties recorded six sacks in the game and three interceptions, led by two and a half sacks from sophomore defensive lineman Tupu Alualu.
"It was a really big night," Alualu said. "……Not only for the players and coaches but everybody involved with Mt. SAC.
"It is an amazing stadium and we just got the win."
Longtime former assistant coach and academic advisor Evans Roderick also had some thoughts on the new stadium.
"It's always great to see the kids," said Roderick, who had been at the school for 45 years. "I first saw (the original stadium) in 1973 and it served its purpose and we needed a new one. I heard about this stadium going to be built and this is off the charts. It's gorgeous."
And so it goes for the beginning of a new era at Mt. San Antonio College.
Follow Mt. SAC Football on Twitter @mtsacfootball
For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.