OAKLAND, Calif. — With their 40-35 defeat of the Ventura College Pirates (11-1), the Laney College Eagles(10-2) are the CCCAA Champions.
A wild game that started off looking as though the Eagles would pull away early came down to the final play. With five seconds left, the Eagles needed one more stop to secure their place in history. Instead of one final heave towards the endzone, Ventura quarterback Brock Domann elected to try and run it in from around the Eagles’ 30-yard line. He was stopped short of the goal line, and the ballgame was over.
The final stop of the game came down to the defense, but it was the offense that proved to be a relentless force throughout the entire game. The Eagles offense gained a total of 415 yards, including a monsterous 288 on the ground. Eagles running back John McDonald was responsible for a whopping 217 of those yards on 38 carries.
“They’re my o-line, man. They told me to go behind them.” McDonald said in a postgame interview on Eleven Sports Network. “It’s emotional to me man because I worked so hard, we all worked so hard. This is my o-line, I couldn’t do nothing without my o-line.”
McDonald wasn’t lying, the Eagle offensive line dominated the Pirate defensive front from start to finish.
Eagles’ quarterback Jordan Brookshire also had a day to remember, accounting for five total touchdowns (three passing and two rushing). Brookshire threw two of his three touchdown passes to wide receiver Angelo Garrett, who tallied four catches for 36 yards.
Eagles wide receiver Balewa “BJ” Byrd got the party started with a blocked punt early in the first quarter, which lead to a 9-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Brookshire to receiver Quintus Hall Jr. On the following possession, defensive tackle Jordan Whittley stopped Pirate running back Jordan Duckett in the endzone for a safety to make it 9-0, Eagles. Brookshire would rack up two more scores in the first (one through the air and one on the ground) to make it 23-0 after a quarter of play.
The Pirates would come storming back in the second, as they scored 14 unanswered points to close the gap within 9. Kicker Isaak Parada connected on a 29-yard field goal to give the Eagles a 26-14 lead at the half.
The second half would feature two very long touchdown drives in total for the Eagles, which proved to be pivotal given the Pirates’ offense was clicking. The Pirates inched within one score three times in the second half, but the Eagles answered the call every time with touchdown drives of their own that took lots of time off the clock.
The Pirates had one final shot to take the lead with under two minutes remaining, but were stopped short of the endzone on the last play of the game.
The Eagles victory in the 2018 CCCAA State Championship was the first in their school’s history, although they won a ‘mythical’ state championship against rival City College of San Francisco back in 1966.
It was the first CCCAA State Championship for head coach John Beam, who also won the CCCAA Coach of the Year award. Coach Beam also won state high school coach of the year and national regional coach of the year as a head coach at Skyline.
The victory is also categorized as the first ‘mythical’ national championship in school history since the winner of the CCCAA State Championship game is declared the winner of the national championship.
Since California has more community colleges playing football than the entire country combined, the winner of the CCCAA State Championship is also declared the national champions. With 68 teams, California has the majority of the nation’s junior and community college football teams. The slightly smaller National JC Athletic Association has a total of 65 teams. Teams that are a part of the CCCAA aren’t permitted to play any team outside of the state of California.