Laney College’s football winning streak reached four in a row after the Eagles dumped San Joaquin Delta College 40-7 on Oct. 14 in Stockton.

Laney College’s football winning streak reached four in a row after the Eagles dumped San Joaquin Delta College 40-7 on Oct. 14 in Stockton.

Running back Ahmari Davis (James Logan HS) rushed for 146 yards on 17 carries and Marcel Dancy (West HS-Oakland) had 83 yards on 15 carries as the Eagles (5-1, 1-0 NVC) piled up 504 yards of total offense. The stout Laney defense allowed the Mustangs only 168 yards.

It was the National Valley Conference opener for both teams. With the victory, Laney moved up to No. 7 in the JC Athletic Bureau coaches poll.

After the Mustangs (1-5, 0-1) took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, Eagles quarterback Noah Suszckiewicz (Berkeley HS) threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Beejay Byrd (John Swett HS) with 4:48 left in the first quarter. Isaak Prada (Arroyo HS) kicked the extra point and the game was tied at 7-7.

But then it was all Laney. Davis scored his first touchdown on a 59-yard run with 12:17 left in the second quarter then added a 10-yard scoring run with 3:25 left as the Eagles drove 98 yards in 13 plays.

Laney led 19-7 at the half.

The Eagles added three more scores in the second half. Suszckiewicz threw a 45-yard TD pass to Robert Stern (DeAnza HS) and Dancy scored on a 1-yard run. Both came in the third quarter.

The Eagles’ final score came when quarterback Andrew Ve’e (Encinal HS) threw one yard to Keith Tracy (Antioch HS) for a touchdown with nine minutes left in the game.

Linebacker Joseph Butler (Houston HS-San Antonio) had his best game statistically with 12 tackles (eight solo), two sacks and five tackles for losses (TFL). Armani Turner-Jenkins (Berkeley HS) was right behind Butler with 11 tackles (eight solo) and three TFL.

The Eagles had four sacks for 27 yards lost.

By Scott Strain

Laney College Sports Information

The Laney College football team continues to pound it on the ground

The Laney College football team continues to pound it on the ground.

The Eagles rushed for 323 yards in a 34-6 grinding of visiting Contra Costa College on Sept. 28 in Oakland.

Laney finished the non-conference portion of its season with a 4-1 record. The Eagles have a bye week Oct. 6-7 and then start National Valley Conference play against San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton on Saturday, Oct. 14.

The Eagles’ next home game is Friday, Oct. 20 against College of the Sequoias.

Ahmari Davis (James Logan HS) rushed for 153 yards on 16 carries and Marcel Dancy (West HS-Oakland) had 21 carries for 136 yards. Each player scored a touchdown.

Laney took the opening kickoff and drove 67 yards in eight plays with Andrew Ve’e (Encinal HS) scoring on a 1-yard run. The Eagles took a 20-6 lead at the half when quarterback Noah Suszckiewicz (Berkeley HS) threw a 36-yard scoring pass to Devond Blair (Bunche HS-Oakland) and Davis went 20 yards for a TD. Both scores came in the second quarter.

Dancy scored on an 11-yard run with 47 seconds left in the third quarter and Zach Zimmerman (Monroe HS-Monroe, Wash.) returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown with 2:23 left in the game.

 Ronnie Van set the Laney record with a 95-yard interception return in in 1968.

Defensively, the Eagles held Contra Costa (0-5) to 208 yards of total offense. The Comets ran 76 plays, but averaged just 2.7 yards on each one.

Cameron Nathan (Antioch HS) had 11 tackles, seven solo.  Joseph Butler (Sam Houston HS-San Antonio) had 9 tackles, 8 solo; and Erin Austin (Heritage HS) had six solo, including three for losses. Jonathan Whittley (Castlemont) had two of Laney’s three sacks; Butler had the other.

By Scott Strain

Laney College Sports Information

The Laney College Eagles continued on their offensive roll, pummeling De Anza College 60-7 on Sept. 22 in Oakland

The Laney College Eagles continued on their offensive roll, pummeling De Anza College 60-7 on Sept. 22 in Oakland.

It was the fourth time in Eagles’ football history that the team has scored 60 or more points in a game.

The victory moved Laney up five spots to ninth in the JC Athletic Bureau of California Community College poll.

Ahmari Davis (16, carries, 77 yards) scored three touchdowns and Marcel Dancy (10 carries, 131 yards) scored twice as Laney piled up 300 yards on the ground. The Eagles gained 481 yards of total offense.

Laney took the lead on its opening drive, driving 64 yards in 10 plays and finished when Noah Suszckiewicz threw a 12-yard scoring pass to Keith Tracy with 11:53 left.

Dancy caped off the Eagles’ second series when he bolted 65 yards for a score to make it 12-0.

Laney scored three times in the second quarter to put the game away. Quarterback Andrew Ve’e ran 4 yards for one score, Suszckiewcz threw 27 yards to Devond Blair Jr., for another, and Dancy ran 4 yards to cap off the 39-7 halftime lead.

The Eagles scored three more times in the second half, with Davis scoring on runs of 9 and 11 yards and Kendall Prater going 1 yard for the final touchdown.

Defensively, Laney held De Anza to 186 yards and just 22 yards rushing. The Eagles had four sacks, resulting in 18 yards in losses. Leo Rodriguez was credited with 1.5 sacks; Vili Paea one; Cameron Nathan one; and Jordan Whittley had a half.

Zach Zimmerman recovered fumble and Erin Austin blocked a punt.

Laney’s next game is at home against Contra Costa College on Friday, Sept. 29. The Eagles defeated the Comets 21-20 in 2016 and are 5-0 against the San Pablo team.

Game time is 7 p.m.

NOTES: Laney’s other 60+ point games:

Nov. 11, 1965—Laney 60, Gavilan College 0

Oct. 24, 2008—Laney 66, Los Medanos College 17

Nov. 15, 2013—Laney 68, Sacramento City College 0

By Scott A. Strain

Laney College Sports Information

The Laney College Eagles football team continues to roll on both offense and defense.

The Laney College Eagles football team continues to roll on both offense and defense.

The Eagles’ latest victim: The Feather River Golden Eagles, who were blasted by Laney 47-13 on Sept. 18 in Quincy.

For the Laney fans who made the four-plus hour trip up a winding Highway 70, they were treated to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter when quarterback Noah Suszckiewicz (Berkeley High School) threw touchdown passes of 50 yards to Keith Tracy (Antioch HS) and 31 yards t o Ronald Thomas (San Leandro HS).

The Eagles extended the lead to 20-0 when Ahmari Davis (12 carries, 68 yards, James Logan HS) scored on a 3-yard run with 12:29 left in the second quarter. Marcel Dancy (12 carries, 94 yards, West HS-Oakland) scored on a 3-yard run with 2:40 left in the first half.

Laney led 27-13 at the half.

The second half was all Eagles. Armani Turner-Jenkins (Berkeley HS) picked off a pass and raced 35 yards for a touchdown just 15 seconds into the third quarter.

Laney made it 40-13 when quarterback Andrew Ve’e (Encinal HS) threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Devond Blair, Jr. (Bunche HS-Oakland) with 5:11 left in the third quarter. Dancy capped off the Eagles’ scoring when he ran 34 yards for a touchdown with 3:22 remaining in the third period.

Suszckiewicz completed 9 of 16 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns as Laney rolled up 451 yards in total offense.

The Laney defense was sterling, especially in the second half when it held Feather River scoreless. Imani Moore (Dublin HS) led the effort with six solo tackles and two assists. Armani-Turner, besides his interception, had three solo tackles and four assists.

Joseph Butler (Sam Houston HS, San Antonio) and Cameron Nathan (Antioch HS) each had two solo tackles and three assists. The Eagles intercepted three passes—Turner-Jenkins, Da’Meak Brandon (La Salle HS-Cincinnati) and Zach Zimmerman (Monroe HS-Monroe, WA). Thomas was also credited with a blocked punt.

The Eagles’ ‘D’ held Feather River to 263 yards of total offense with just 74 coming in the second half.

Laney’s next game is Friday, Sept. 22, when it plays host to DeAnza College. It is Laney Alumni Night.

By Scott Strain

Laney College Sports Information

Eagles open season at CCSF on Saturday, Sept. 2

Is the third time a charm for the Laney College football team?

The Eagles open their season on Saturday, Sept. 2, at City College of San Francisco and are looking to defeat the Rams for a third consecutive time. Game time is 1 p.m.

Last season, en route to a, 9-2 finish Laney, for the first (and only) time, defeated CCSF twice in one season. The Eagles stunned the Rams 18-13 in Oakland on Sept. 2, and then knocked them off again on their home field, 49-35, on Dec. 3 in the San Francisco Community College Bowl.

“Wining lets everybody know they can be beat. (Beating them twice) took a little luster off them,” Laney head coach John Beam said. “They can be beat. The coaches are confident, the players are confident and our fans are confident.”

It was a fitting end to a fine season. Question is: Can Laney do it again in a hostile environment against a team thirsting for revenge?

The answer is yes, probably. Despite losing six players to Division I schools, the Eagles return both quarterbacks from last season and the top two running backs from an offense that led the state in rushing yards per game.

Quarterback Noah Suszckiewicz threw for 257 yards and four touchdowns in the bowl victory over CCSF and Andrew Ve’e provided a dual threat at QB with his running and passing ability.

“He has really matured and is throwing the ball very well,” Beam said of Suszckiewicz. “Andrew has really been steady.” Both quarterbacks could see action against CCSF.

In 2016, Suszckiewicz completed 65 of 166 passes for 1,076 yards and nine touchdowns. Ve’e was 53 for 99, 778 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Also returning are running backs Marcel Dancy (162 carries, 961 yards, four touchdowns) and Ahmari Davis (95-684, seven touchdowns). 

The top return receiver is Devond Blair Jr. (12 receptions, 232 yards, two touchdowns). Beam is evaluating a group of talented freshmen to fill the other spots. Jared Smart (5-11, 170) from Dublin High School and Angelo Garrett (5-9, 155) from McClymonds are two of the prospects.

Returning linebacker Joe Butler (6-foot-4, 215) leads the defense. Butler made the game-saving interception in the end zone in the first CCSF game.  Erin Austin (6-3, 280, Heritage HS) anchors the defensive line. “He is as good as anybody in Northern California,” Beam said of Austin.

Defensive back Je’Vari Anderson (6-0, 220, De La Salle) comes from a wining program and is a “tremendous player,” Beam said.

“But this is community college football and you worry about depth, injuries and how life experiences affect players.”

NOTES—Laney is ranked 12th in the preseason JC Athletic Bureau poll, CCSF is 10th…The Eagles play three of the Top 25 schools: CCSF (10th), Butte (3rd) and Modesto Junior College (11th), the latter two at home…the last time Laney defeated CCSF two years in a row was in 1984-1985.

By Scott Strain

Laney College Sports Information

2017 Track & Field Recap

 The Laney Women’s Track and Field team capped off an amazing post-season scoring 62 points to achieve a 4th place finish at the California JC State Championship. With just 5 young ladies, the eagles maximized their talents across nine events in which everyone scored and medaled at the two-day meet. Most notable was the jumping-hurdling duo of Nia Vance and Brittany Brown. Vance was the highest scoring member of the team with 22.5 points, while Brown scored 20.75 points and brought home a record 5 medals, the most in program history.
     All this was sparked the week prior when the Lady Eagle’s "fantastic five" finished Runner-up at the NorCal Championships. Just to put into perspective how great an achievement this was, the winning team had 35 ladies competing compared to Laney's five.
     This year every member of the team saw new personal best in all their events and each one has been offered multiple FULL scholarships. Some interested schools include UNLV, UC Davis, Univ. of Kansas, Univ. of New Mexico, Univ. of Central Florida, Louisiana Tech, SF State, and Arizona State, just to name a few.

Lady Eagles Results from Northern California Championships:

Nor-Cal Team Runner-ups

4x100m - 2nd, 46.77

100m - 2nd, Kayla Dickerson 12.02

100mh - 1st Nia Vance 13.97; 2nd, Brittany Brown 14.13

400m - 3rd, Mariama Hilburn 55.48

800m - 1st, Bibiana Enriquez 2:17.24 (Personal Record)

200m - 5th, Mariama Hilburn 24.64; 6th, Kayla Dickerson 24.66 (Personal Record)

4x400m - 2nd, 3:52.24 (Season Best)

Long Jump - 1st, Nia Vance 18'3"; 2nd, Brittany Brown 18'2"

Triple Jump - 1st, Brittany Brown 39'2"; 2nd, Nia Vance 38'1"

Lady Eagles Results from State Championships:

4th Place Team Overall

4x100m- 3rd, 46.23 (U.S.#10, Season Best and fastest time at Laney in 4 years)

100mh- 2nd, Nia Vance 13.91 (Personal Record, U.S. #6); 3rd, Brittany Brown 14.01 (PR, U.S. #8)

400m- 6th, Mariama Hilburn 55.41

100m- 4th, Kayla Dickerson 12.01

800m- 5th, Bibiana Enriquez 2:17.52

200m- 9th, Mariama Hilburn 25.01

4x400m- 4th, 3:52.58

Long Jump- 2nd, Nia Vance- 18’10”; 5th, Brittany Brown- 18’ .5”

Triple Jump- 2nd, Brittany Brown-40’ 6” (U.S. #7); 4th, Nia Vance- 39’7”

End of an era

Greg Smith, the respected athletic trainer for the Laney Eagles’ athletic teams for over 37 years, will be retiring on July 31. He will be missed by students and faculty alike.

At the 2017 Spring Sports Awards Banquet Athletic Director John Beam called Smith up to be recognized for his work over the years and presented him with an Eagles letterman jacket.

Smith was a baseball player at Pinole Valley high school before going on to play ball for Contra Costa College and later went to Cal, where he majored in chemistry.

As an athlete Smith had been around athletic trainers and had received treatment for an ankle injury. Smith was struggling with his major, so he decided to weigh his options, and he switched his major from chemistry to physical education.

“I knew what I wanted to do. These trainers didn’t have any grease under their nails and they were wearing the latest athletic gear,” he said.

He started his career with Peralta in 1980 at the College of Alameda, but would also cover games at both Merritt and Laney. As funding for sports programs at COA became shakier, he began to work full-time at Laney in 1986.

“Working with young people, you feel like you’re about their age”

Greg Smith, Laney Eagles’ athletic trainer

His job title was athletic trainer and equipment manager. At that time there was no certification required to be an athletic trainer. Smith could see the future was going to be about rehabbing injured athletes. He got certified as an athletic trainer.

Over the years he has helped countless athletes. He works with all of the sports at Laney. When asked what sport he liked to work with the best, he replied, “That’s too tough a question. I like being a ‘team’ player for each sport as it’s in season.”
Laney Head Baseball Coach Francisco Zapata remembered being worked on by Smith when he played baseball here in the mid-80s and broke his arm.

Smith says that he always enjoyed working at Laney because the students kept him feeling young.

“Working with young people, you feel like you’re about their age,” he said.

Smith is retiring as the Athletic Trainer/Equipment Manager, but he will still be around campus teaching Health Ed, First Aid and CPR.

Back in play: Laney again potential stadium site

Laney’s collective sigh of relief was cut short last week. The college is not out of the clear yet, as it appears that the Oakland A’s are still eyeing Peralta land.

The East Bay Times reported on May 16 that the “Laney College site” was still one of three sites being considered for a new A’s stadium.

The other two were still Howard Terminal near Jack London Square, and the current Oakland Coliseum location.

An article published in Oakland Magazine May 10 stated that the Oakland A’s were not only still looking at Peralta-owned land, but that it had become their preferred site for the new ballpark.

On May 7, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff told KTVU she believed that the A’s had narrowed down the stadium locations to either “one near Laney College or one near Jack London Square.”

A’s President Dave Kaval did not respond to requests for comment on the recent reports.

In an email to the Tower, Peralta Chancellor Jowel Laguerre said that he knew as much as the Times on the subject, and seemed skeptical about prospects to build a stadium on Peralta land.

“No formal request has been made for Peralta-owned land,” Laguerre said in an email to the Tower. “It looks like the A’s have a lot of investigation to do before being in a position to make any such request.”

Laguerre did, however, tell the East Bay Times that “nothing is impossible,” and that the area between Peralta’s district offices and the Embarcadero was “crying for something good to happen.”

Oakland Magazine reported that the proposed stadium could be built where the Peralta district offices currently reside, rather than Laney’s football fields—as was previously reported.

But as Machine Technology instructor Peter Brown said, the hypothetical stadium raises a very real question: “Where are people going to park?”

The impacts would be the result of thousands of people walking between Lake Merritt BART station and Laney campus for more than 80 home games per season—plus special events

Although reports state that the A’s are looking at the Peralta district offices, Brown said there is barely enough room for a stadium on that land, much less a parking lot.

“They’re going to park on Laney land. There’s no way around it,” he said.

Brown found it unsurprising that the A’s are seriously considering the area for a new stadium, considering the importance large franchises like Major League Baseball place on community colleges populated by mostly low-income students.

“My judgment on how Laney is valued is real clear: We’ve got a bunch of broke-ass students, we got a bunch of broke-ass teachers and we’re clearly not important enough to fix the campus,” Brown said sarcastically.

While many of Laney’s faculty are shooting sideways glances at the A’s, Faculty Senate President Donald Moore is, so far, unconcerned.

According to Moore, a friend on the Oakland City Council has assured him that both the council and the mayor are still pushing for the Howard Terminal site.

“The mayor supports the Howard site. So [the Laney College site] is a no-starter unless the city decides to check somewhere else out,” he said.

Moore also stated that he had no interest in any of Laney College’s land being sold to the A’s, and that even a ballpark at the Peralta District Offices site would bring numerous negative impacts to the Laney campus.

The impacts would be the result of thousands of people walking between Lake Merritt BART station and Laney campus for more than 80 home games per season—plus special events—as discussed by former Laney Athletics Director Stan Peters.

During his time as athletics director, Peters led multiple campaigns against the sale of Laney land to various would-be buyers such as Kaiser Hospital.

And he hasn’t changed his position on the subject.

“I still fail to see what this will do for the academic environment at Laney.”

Signed: Courtenay Brown

Laney athlete celebrates SF State admission with signing ceremony in gym

Laney’s star shooting guard Courtenay Brown signed a letter of intent to attend San Francisco State University in the fall. The signing ceremony was held in the Laney College gym on April 26. Her coach, family, and friends were there to congratulate her.

She accepted a full scholarship to the university where she plans to major in kinesiology. She will be a shooting guard for SFSU’s basketball team, the Gators, who play in the NCAA division II.

After she graduates from SFSU Brown wants to become either an athletic trainer or work in rehabilitating athletes after injuries.

Brown lived in Stockton and attended Weston Ranch High School, but during her junior year, she went to Encinal High School in Alameda where she helped their basketball team into the playoffs. For her senior year she returned to Stockton to live with her father Anthony Brown.

Although Brown was recruited by Humbolt State University out of high school, she decided to attend a community college to play basketball. She didn’t want to attend Humboldt State University, but she did want a basketball scholarship to finance her education.

Her sister, Jordan Brown, who lived in Alameda, had played for Laney, so Brown was familiar with the school.

Brown shows her lighter side at the signing ceremony in the Laney College gym.

Brown has been a starter on the team since she came in as a red shirt in 2014. “I had a much larger role [this year],” she said.

This season Brown averaged 18 points per game overall and 21.3 in the conference.

Approximately three games into the Bay Valley Conference basketball season, the number of players on the Laney College Eagles basketball team was greatly reduced. Due to injuries and eligibility issues, the squad went from 12 to five players.

When asked if this created a difficult situation for her, Brown replied that it didn’t because all five of the remaining players had to dedicate themselves “a little more to playing harder.”

She explained that without the ability to switch out players to rest, ”I never had to tell anyone to play harder because we already were.” Although the team was playing hard, Brown admitted that anyone fouling out would have been a big problem.

Fortunately, the team was able to avoid this fate until the last game of its season, the championship game against Solano.

Laney College Baseball

A 22-win season

The Laney College Baseball team finished their 2016-17 season with a 22-18 record overall, good for a second-place tie in the Bay Valley Conference with a 13-8 mark along with Los Medanos College and Napa Valley College.
At left, Laney College center fielder Mark Johnson waits for his turn at bat during the Eagles’ 13-4 victory over Solano College on April 27.

Brown voted BVC MVP, first team all-state

Laney College sophomore guard Courtney Brown was selected as the Bay Valley Conference MVP and to the first team of the California Community College all-state squad. Brown led the Eagles to a 17-11 overall record and a second-place finish in the BVC (11-3). Brown had an 18.0 scoring average for the season and scored 19 points in a 73-53 NorCal playoff loss at City College of San Francisco on Feb. 24.

Marshall football should get help in mid-year signing period

After its most difficult season in nearly a decade, it became clear Marshall needed immediate, athletic help at many positions.

As the mid-year junior-college signing period begins Wednesday, such help may be on the way. The Thundering Herd is expected sign as many as four juco standouts to binding letters of intent.

Two of those played in the California juco circuit, one is a Florida native who played in Iowa and the other is a Georgia native who played in Kansas.

To hear their juco coaches talk — they’re biased, of course — they just might be playmakers the MU programs need.

Armani Levias stands out in that group because of stature, at the least. He is a big tight end from Laney College in Oakland, California, who was once a pocket-passing prospect in high school.

That was when he was 215 pounds.

“He’s a difference-maker because he’s 6-5, 250 pounds and can move,” said Laney coach John Beam. “He’s got really good hands — most of his catches are for touchdowns because when we get in the red zone, he creates a lot of mismatches. And he’s learning to become a physical blocker.”

Levias hails from of Pittsburg, California, not far east from Oakland. He would follow the footsteps of Laney alums Chuck Walker and Troy Evans, both Herd wide receivers.

In the Fresno area, Artis Johnson wasn’t cheated out of playing time at Reedley College. He played strong safety, but did so much more.

His coach says he won’t sign Wednesday, but expects the Texas native to do so later in the period, which lasts through Jan. 17. Johnson redshirted after an injury his first season, so he would have two years to play two at Marshall.

“He was our strong safety, outside linebacker and also our ‘wildcat’ quarterback,” said coach Eric Marty. “He returned kicks, he did it all.

“He’s 6-1, 210 or 215 and looks the part. He’s explosive and changes directions well. He’s going to bring a lot of versatility as far as the ability to play field safety, or roll down into that outside linebacker position. He’s one of the best athletes on our team.”

The Herd could be picking up a quick slot receiver in Marcel Williams. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound native of Bunnell, Florida, played at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa City, Iowa.

His 2016 season was cut short by an injury to his thumb, for which he had surgery. His coach, Jesse Montalto, expects Williams to be full-go next month.

“He’s a very good football player, smart player. He actually played both ways for us a freshman,” Montalto said. “But he’s explosive. He’s as fast a kid as you’ll find at this level. He ran good times this summer; I think he ran as low as a 4.41 [40-yard dash].”

The fourth reported juco commitment is cornerback Kereon Merrell, a native of Vienna, Georgia, who played at Dodge City Community College in Kansas. It is not clear when he will sign.

Those who sign this week are expected to begin classes at Marshall in January and participate in spring practice.