The Laney College football team opens its 2018 season on Saturday, Sept. 1, with a road game at Modesto Junior College. Game time is 6 p.m.
The Eagles’ home opener is on Friday, Sept. 7, against American River College of Sacramento. Game time is 6 p.m.
Laney is coming off a stellar 2017 campaign, finishing the season with a 9-2 record, winning the National Valley Conference championship with a 5-0 mark and advancing to the Northern California state semifinals for the first time.
The Eagles have also been promoted to the top (and toughest) conference in Northern California, the National Bay 6 Conference. Besides Laney, the teams in the Bay 6 include rivals City College of San Francisco and Chabot College; Santa Rosa Junior College, College of San Mateo and Diablo Valley College.
The non-conference schedule (the first five games of the season) is also difficult. Besides playing at Modesto and at home to American River College, Laney also has home games against West Hills College (Sept. 21) and Butte College (Sept. 28). The Eagles also have a road game against Feather River College in Quincy (Sept. 15)
The Eagles also finished the 2016 season with a 9-2 record, giving John Beam, now in his seventh year as head coach (15 years overall), an 18-4 mark the last two years.
A handful of Laney players from last season received Division I scholarship offers and the Eagles will have to replace them.
“We have a long way to go,” Beam said, “but we’ve got a lot of young men who are working hard. Whether they mature and stay healthy—that’s the key. It’s always about health.
“Our starters are pretty good, but we have to build more depth. I tell my players: ‘You don’t give up; you battle. You get things done and see what happens.’”
Top returners are: linebacker Cameron Nathan (Antioch High School), linebacker Armani Turner-Jenkins, running back John McDonald (Lincoln HS-Stockton), defensive back Imani Moore (Dublin HS), defensive lineman Jordan Whittley (Castlemont HS), punter Isaak Parada (Arroyo HS), kicker KC Onwuemeka (Hercules HS), defensive back Da’Meak Brandon (La Salle HS-Cincinnati).
Top newcomers are: quarterback Jordon Brookshire (Cardinal Newman HS, SRJC), defensive back Rejzohn Wright (James Logan HS), defensive back Nahshon Wright (James Logan HS), wide receiver Dior Walker (Deer Valley HS), quarterback Junior Diala (American HS), quarterback Ryan Mackey (Rio Vista HS).
By Scott Strain, Laney College Sports Information
Contributor: Eva Hannan, Laney Tower Sports Editor