MONTEREY PARK - The East Los Angeles College football team is in sole possession of first place in the Mountain Conference and just one victory away from clinching at least a tie for its first conference title in 37 years.
ELAC (5-3 overall, 3-0 in conference) can secure at least a share of the title by defeating Compton College (0-8, 0-3) Saturday night at home. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.
The Huskies moved a step closer to the elusive championship by defeating Victor Valley College, 24-7, Saturday afternoon in Victorville in a battle of previously conference unbeatens.
"This team has really come together and has worked hard to overcome a 0-3 start,"
ELAC coach Lynn Cain said. "We need to continue to work hard to improve and grow as a team."
Cain played on the Huskies' 1974 Southern California Conference championship team that later went on to win the state title. He was named the state player of the year before going on to play at USC and in the NFL.
Behind the hard running of tailback Preston Oliver and the precision passing of quarterback Aaron Cantu, a freshman and Schurr High grad, the Huskies were able to overcome Victor Valley and the hot desert temperatures to win their fourth consecutive game.
Oliver, a freshman from Marshall High, rushed for 175 yards on 28 carries. He's gone over the 100-yard rushing each of the last three games, gaining 467 yards during the span.
Cantu was equally impressive with 228 passing yards and three touchdowns. He completed 17 of 28 passes with no interceptions.
Wide receiver Carlos Arredondo, also a Schurr High product and Cantu's favorite target two years ago, had another big game for the Huskies, as well. The sophomore caught six passes for 77 yards and a touchdown.
Late in the first quarter, the Huskies started an 80-yard drive that last 15 plays and ended with a five-yard touchdown reception by Rene Flores.
The Huskies broke a 7-7 tie in the third quarter with Chris Clark scoring on a 45-yard touchdown catch. The Huskies then added a 36-yard
field goal to take a 17-7 lead.
Arredondo's five-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter sealed the victory.