Football Defeats Merced, Undefeated Monterey Next

Football Defeats Merced, Undefeated Monterey Next

Two undefeated teams in conference play will meet in Monterey Saturday night for first place in the American -- Golden Coast Conference when the 7-1 Reedley College Tigers face the 8-0 Monterey Peninsula College Lobos.

Both Reedley and Monterey are 4-0 in conference play.

The 6 pm contest will also probably decide which team will face unbeaten Foothill College for the Northern California American Division championship. Yes, that's the same game that Reedley lost last season to end a shot at a perfect season.

Last Saturday afternoon in Reedley, the Tigers erased a 14-7 deficit to record a 49-14 victory over the Merced College Blue Devils. Later that night, MPC went on the road to Salinas and came home with a 38-28 victory over the Hartnell College Panthers. That win improved MPC to 8-0 in 2019. Foothill and Monterey are two of six remaining undefeated teams in the state.

In Monterey, the Tiger defense will need to stop quarterback Hunter Raquet, who was with Fresno State before returning to the coast last March. Raquet threw for 258 yards and four touchdowns in the win over Hartnell.

Saturday was a day for big plays for head coach Eric Marty's squad. The Tigers broke a 14-14 tie by scoring the game's last 35 points and shutting out the Blue Devils over the last three quarters.

After taking a lead for good on a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown by Jesus Garcia (Washington Union) early in the second quarter, the Tigers broke the contest open by scoring 14 points in just 14 seconds.

First, Jamon Chambers (Tacoma, WA) broke free for an 80-yard touchdown run to make it 28-14 Reedley with just under eight minutes left in the first half. On the blue devil second play from scrimmage on the next drive, Keenan Fyles (Compton) scooped up a Merced fumble and sped 27 yards front for another Tiger touchdown.

Elijah Hawkins (Los Angeles) ran for two scores in the first 30 minutes on runs of 31 and 22 yards. also finding the end zone in the first half was Andy Pierre-Antoine (North Miami, FA), who caught an 84-yard touchdown pass from Drew Zaubi (Crestwood, KY).

The Tigers outgained the Blue Devils 464-318 (Reedley had 266 net passing yards) even though Merced ran 24 more plays than the Tigers.

"Offensively, it was one of the few games that we had to get it rolling a little bit, while our defense sorted things out," said Coach Marty after the game. "Obviously, once they did, they played lights out. I thought we had a great week of preparation. We knew that Merced was better than their record and they were. We showed up ready to play to get the opportunity to go to Monterey to play for first place in the conference."

Going into the Merced game, the Tigers were ranked third in the NorCal American Division poll, 20th in the state (three spots ahead of MPC) in the California Community College Sports Information Association poll and in 25th in the JC Athletic Bureau poll, one spot behind the Lobos.



By: Will Goldbeck

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