Allan Hancock vs East Los Angeles

Hancock quarterback Jimmy Kelleher hands off to Damon Whitmill, Jr. during the game against East L.A. in Santa Maria on Sept. 9. 

Peter Klein, Contributor

Through its first three games, the Hancock College football team has shown a balanced offense.

The Bulldogs (2-1) also have a two-game winning streak. They will try to extend that at Santa Ana (1-2). Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. at Santa Ana's Eddie West Field.

Hancock will try to beat a Metro League member for the third straight time, having defeated East Los Angeles 21-13 Sept. 9 and Pasadena 37-26 last Saturday.

Veteran Hancock coach Kris Dutra has said in the past that, ideally, the traditionally run-oriented Bulldogs (they were fourth in the state in rushing last year) would have a balanced offense.

So far, at least in terms of yardage, the Hancock attack has been about as balanced as an attack can get. The Bulldogs average 168 yards a game rushing and 166 a game passing.

A balanced attack is not exactly how Santa Ana rolls. The Dons average 306 yards a game through the air and 75 yards a game on the ground.

Santa Ana's defense has ranged from really good (in a 17-14 win over Citrus) to really awful (in losses of 77-28 to Fullerton and 52-44 to Victor Valley).

It's not often that the Bulldogs have a league passing leader, but Hancock sophomore Jimmy Kelleher, at 166 yards a game, leads the league in passing.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder from Levittown, New York has completed less than 50 percent of his passes on the yearand has thrown two touchdown passes and three interceptions.

However, those stats are skewed because of a rough season opener for Kelleher against Bakersfield. He threw for all of 42 yards, with no touchdowns and two picks.

Kelleher has shown he has a strong arm. Sometimes it's been too strong - he's overthrown some open receivers. However, he's also hit some in full stride for big gainers or touchdowns and has completed some passes in tight coverage windows. He has a strong efficiency rating of 98.2.

He can move. Kelleher is among  one of the leading rushers in a a democratic Hancock rushing attack. Vetravious Gamble, at 32 yards a game, is the leading Hancock rusher.

One thing that's handicapped Kelleher is that some of his big-play receivers haven't been able to play all the time. Andre Hallmon had three catches for 80 yards against East L.A. That's the only game he's played in. Michael Ferraro is the team's all-purpose average yardage leader, thanks to his seven catches for a total of 104 yards against Pasadena - the only game he's played in.  

The Bulldogs average 3.8 yards a carry, below their usual output but decent. Hancock's defense has yielded opponents a miserable 2.3 yards per rush.

Meanwhile, sophomore Santa Ana quarterback Conner Miller has already thrown for 818 yards this season. He has tossed five touchdown passes and three interceptions.

Last week Pasadena couldn't overcome five interceptions by the Hancock defense, including one that Mystikal Wilson ran 30 yards for the last touchdown.

Hancock's defense has had a decent pass rush at times. The unit has 12 quarterback sacks this year. Linebacker Basiru Jobe has four of those and end Osa Okomaru, the team's sacks leader last year, has three.

Freshman defensive back Domanic Chapa has been strong in pass coverage for the Bulldogs so far this year.

If the Bulldogs can't get Miller, or whoever Santa Ana's quarterback happens to be, on the ground, Chapa and the other Hancock defensive backs figure to have to deal with Devon Jackson, who averages 146 yards a game in receptions and 23 yards per catch.

Brandon Quinones is a solid secondary receiver for the Dons. He averages 56 yards a game in receptions.

Steady sophomore Deven Boston, at 213 yards on the year and 4.5 yards per carry, is Santa Ana's rushing leader.

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Sports Reporter