The Laney College football team advanced to its first-ever state championship game with a 24-7 victory over Fresno City College in the Northern California Regional title game that was played Nov. 24 in Oakland.
The second-seeded Eagles (10-2) will play Ventura College (11-1) for the California Community Colleges Athletic Association championship on Saturday, Dec. 8, at Hughes Stadium at Sacramento City College. Game time is 1 p.m.
This is the first time both at-large qualifiers have advanced to the state title game. The second-seeded Pirates upset previously unbeaten Riverside College 31-21 to win the Southern California Regional on Nov. 24.
Laney finished second to College of San Mateo in the National Bay 6 Conference, but shut out the Bulldogs 14-0 in a NorCal Regional semifinal game on Nov. 17 at Cabrillo College in Aptos. That game was scheduled to be played at Laney, but was moved due to poor air quality.
In the game against Fresno, Laney jumped ahead of the Rams 7-0 when quarterback Jordon Brookshire (Cardinal Newman High School-Santa Rosa) scored on a 2-yard run with 1:52 left in the first quarter.
The Eagles went 50 yards in seven plays for the score. Big plays in the drive were a Brookshire 18-yard run to the Fresno 32 and a 10-yard run by John McDonald (Lincoln HS-Stockton) that put the ball on the Rams’ 8-yard line.
After FCC tied the score at 7-7, Laney went ahead for good when Balewa Byrd (John Swett HS) fell on a fumble in the end zone with 2:38 left in the first half. The Eagles led 14-7 at the half.
The Eagles extended the lead to 17-7 with 12:00 left in the third quarter when Isaak Parada (Arroyo HS) kicked a 25-yard field goal. The opportunity came when FCC fumbled a punt and the Eagles took over at the Rams’ 9.
Laney’s final score came when running back Harold Tidwell (Concord HS) capped an 11-play, 65-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run. Big plays on the drive included a 14-yard run by McDonald and a 13-yarder by Brookshire.
The Eagles gained 327 yards in total offense. McDonald had the best individual game—102 yards rushing on 16 carries. Brookshire had 46 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown.
The Laney defense held the Rams to 70 yards rushing and 245 overall. Linebacker Armani Turner-Jenkins (Berkeley HS) finished with 11 tackles (7 solo). Linebacker Jahari Kay (San Leandro) had seven tackles (3 solo) as did Jack Lutz (Granada HS). Turner-Jenkins also had a sack and a tackle-for-loss (DFL). Kay had a half-sack and one TFL; Lutz was credited with one TFL.
In all, the Eagles defense was credited with 10 TFL, good for 67 yards in losses.
NOTES: Ticket prices are as follows:
$12 general admission
$8 general admission (seniors 60+, children 12-under, students, faculty and staff (with ID)
$4 CIF Special
Free: First responders (fire, police, etc.)
THERE WILL BE NO ADVANCE TICKET SALES
TV: Eleven Sports Network [National Broadcast: Direct TV—623 (HD), Verizon FiOS—597 (HD), AT&T U-verse 1665]
ONLINE: BAOSN [http://baosn.tv/]
PARKING: SAC CITY [$10 per vehicle]
By Scott A. Strain, Laney College Sports Information