In a marquee showdown this past Friday night between two of Northern California’s top junior college football programs, Laney College scored the final 28 points of the game against visiting American River to overcome a one-point deficit after the first quarter and roll to the 41-14 victory.
A 56-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Cruz to Nate Thomas gave ARC a 14-13 lead with 27 seconds left in the first quarter, but it was all Eagles from there, as a pair of short touchdown runs in the second quarter from quarterback Jordon Brookshire gave Laney a 27-14 halftime advantage and they continued to dominate play in the second half. The Eagles finished the night with a whopping 547 yards of total offense, while holding American River to just 213 total yards.
Brookshire, who was a league MVP at Cardinal Newman in Santa Rosa before sitting out last season, controlled the game with his arm and legs for Laney. The dual-threat signal-caller completed 17-of-23 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 46 yards and two scores. His effort was complemented by a big night on the ground from John McDonald, who ran for 122 yards and one touchdown each rushing and receiving.
“It always feel good to win, especially against a strong opponent, but that game is over now and we just need to be ready for the next one and take it one step at a time,” Brookshire said. “Even with my own performance, there were mistakes that I made, things for me to improve on and correct before the next game.”
McDonald’s 20-yard scoring run in the first quarter capped an opening statement by the Laney offense, a nine-play, 90-yard drive on the first possession of the game. After American River tied the game on a one-yard touchdown pass from Cruz to Logan Paulson, the Eagles regained the advantage on a 29-yard pass from Brookshire to Jared Smart (Dublin HS), who had eight catches for 153 yards.
Dior Walker (Deer Valley-Antioch) also had a big night receiving for Laney, with four catches for 70 yards. Linebacker Cameron Nathan (Antioch) led the defense with eight tackles, while Jahari Kay (San Leandro) made his presence felt with four tackles, including a tackle for a loss, and a sack. Armani Turner-Jenkins (Berkeley) had five total tackles, while Derrick Quesada (John Swett) rounded out a strong performance by the linebackers with another four tackles, including a tackle for a loss.
Laney improved to 2-0 with the win, while ARC fell to 1-1.