Thanks to a wild Saturday night, the 8-0 Reedley College Tiger football team is alone atop the Golden Coast Conference standings.
In Merced, Reedley used five touchdown passes from Randall Johnson to outscore the Merced College Blue Devils 44-28 while in Monterey, the Monterey Peninsula College Lobos broke a three-game losing streak and handed the Hartnell College Panthers their first loss of the season with a 61-33 triumph.
Reedley joins Fullerton and College of the Canyons as the only undefeated teams in California Community College football.
This Saturday afternoon, the Tigers will host Monterey in the final regular season home game at 1 pm at Reedley High's Sal Gonzalez Field. In the Lobos' win over Hartnell, quarterback Christopher Lubinsky passed for four touchdowns and ran for three more.
On Nov. 10, Reedley closes out the regular season in Salinas with a 6pm contest against Hartnell in Rabobank Stadium.
With two wins, Reedley could possibly face Chaffey College in the state's American Division championship game.
Reedley is now 4-0 in Conference play while Hartnell is 4-1 and Monterey is 3-1.
The Tigers took advantage of four Merced turnovers which included two lost fumbles and two pass interceptions. Reedley turned a Raul Montalvo fumble recovery into the game's first score, a 4-yard touchdown run by Johnson. The Tigers increased the lead to 14-0 with one second left in the opening quarter as Johnson connected with Mason Layton for a 19-yard touchdown pass.
The same pair combined for a 56-yard scoring pass midway in the second quarter. That combined with touchdown passes to Daniel Baca and Nicholas Clarke made it 35-0.
But Merced made it interesting by scoring the next 22 points. Within a span of just 57 seconds early in the fourth quarter, Reedley put the game away with another touchdown pass from Johnson to Baca and a safety.
Johnson completed 23 of 33 passes on the night for 267 yards and five touchdowns. The sophomore from Los Angeles also led the Tigers in rushing with 17 carries for 101 yards.
Defensively, Emylle Jones recorded four quarterback sacks and had five tackles.
By Will Goldbeck