Ahmari Davis

Ahmari Davis is Good, Young Talent for Lobo Football

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Lobo football fans might hear the name Ahmari Davis a lot in 2018. The talented running back will experience his first season in Lobos cherry and silver. "Ahmari Davis is as talented as any back we have if you just put the ball in his hands and say run with the ball," said UNM head football coach Bob Davie. "That's the good news and really the bottom line, that's great news."

Davis is a red shirt junior who is getting adjusted to division one football at New Mexico. "The difference is everyone is fast," said Davis. "You have to be more efficient with your reads, you cuts, especially as a running back." Davis transferred to New Mexico from Laney College in Oakland, California. The school is known for having good talent. "They play a high, high level of football," said Davie.

Davie also acknowledged there still was a learning curve from junior college to division one football. Davis is coming along fine. He has put a lot of time in the game, starting from an early age. "I was seven years old when I started playing football," said Davis. "I knew I wanted to be a running back because I was always faster than a lot of people. I was always that type of person, just try to get away. Give me the ball and I would just take off running and that's how I kind of knew. I kind of wanted to play quarterback too, but running back just stuck with me ever since."

Coach Davie believes it can take his young running back a long way. He controls his destiny because he does have that kind of talent level," said Davie. "We've been pushing him pretty hard on all the little things." The Lobos open the season when they host Incarnate Word September 1.

New Mexico's Offense Has Big Plays in First Scrimmage

The new look New Mexico offense had its first scrimmage under its new offensive coordinator, Calvin Magee. The offense will not be all that different so expect a lot of running plays and option sets for this Lobos attack.

Of course, Magee says the players are ahead of schedule in learning the offense.

“We’ve probably got more in during the first year at this point than any other place I’ve been,” Magee said via the Albuquerque Journal. “It’s nice now to go back and keep (practicing) those same plays, and adding just a little bit to go with it. I’m very pleased with where we are.”

The big moment for this offense is finding out who the quarterback will be, and it is currently a three-player race, but four saw action over the weekend.

Tevaka TuiotiColtin Gerhart and Sheriron Jones are in contention but freshman Trae Hall saw a few reps and head coach Bob Davie liked what he saw among that group. Jones did leave the scrimmage early with a hamstring injury.

In addition to quarterback, running back has been a position that has taken a step back over the past few years.

This Lobos offensive attack needs at least one running back that can make plays and break off big chunks of yards.

New Mexico still has Tyrone Owens but a second back is needed and they may have found that.

JUCO transfer Ahmari Davis who spent the past two years at Laney College in the Bay Area ran off a few big plays, including one the coaches only described as “long.”

If this New Mexico attack has found a playmaker at running back then that will go a long way in making this team competitive. Still finding a signal-caller is a must with how this offense works with all of the timing is a must.

The final note on the offense is that maybe, just maybe, we can monitor #ThrowBos because freshman wide receiver Cedric Patterson III and junior Elijah Lilly made some big plays from Gerhart.

It is just one scrimmage so expectations should not be too high but things look to be coming together for New Mexico.

End game: Lobos hope Sellers, Austin provide pass rush

Who’s going to be that pass rusher off the edge?

Trent Sellers and Erin Austin are auditioning three times a week.

Austin, from Brentwood, Calif., in the Bay Area, and Sellers, from Tyrone, Ga., southwest of Atlanta, came to the University of New Mexico with impressive résumés as defensive ends adept at getting into the other team’s backfield.

Last fall at Laney College in Oakland, Calif., Austin was in on 47 tackles with five sacks and 16½ tackles for loss. At Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, Sellers led the team’s defensive linemen with 40 tackles and 8½ tackles for loss.

Stats are merely stats, and a great many things can affect those numbers. But, last season, the Lobos did not have a productive pass rusher at defensive end.

Garrett Hughes, who in 2016 had 7½ tackles for loss and 6½ sacks, had corresponding numbers of four and two last fall as a senior. Cody Baker and Emmanuel Joseph, who return this year, combined for 4½ and four.

As a team, the Lobos finished with 21 sacks, ranked 95th in the nation (among 129 Football Bowl Subdivision teams). They had 59 tackles for loss, ranked 99th.

Expectations for Sellers and Austin are high, but not sky-high just yet — not even their own.

“I’m taking it one step at a time,” Austin said after Wednesday’s spring practice session. “I’ve got to get better now. I’ve got to get bigger, stronger, faster.

“… I’m taking it gradually, but by Sept. 1 I’ll be ready.”

The Lobos open the 2018 season on that date against Incarnate Word, an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision school in San Antonio, Texas.

Sellers is a “bounce-back,” having spent two seasons at Georgia Tech — the first as a redshirt — in 2015-16.

“At the time, I felt like it was a good fit for me, somewhere I could go and thrive,” he said. “… Some things changed, and I decided it was best for me to open up my options and go somewhere else.”

One of his fellow Georgia Tech D-lineman was Desmond Branch, the former Cleveland Storm all-stater who signed with UNM out of high school. Branch redshirted in 2014, found the UNM program not to his liking and transferred to Trinity Valley College in Athens, Texas. He signed with Tech in 2016.

Branch is a good friend, Sellers said, and the two discussed Branch’s UNM experience before Sellers signed in December.

Junior college transfer Trent Sellers works out during practice. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

“Everything’s a different fit for everybody,” Sellers said. “Everybody goes through things differently, has different situations. (Branch) told me to go wherever I feel like I could go and be successful, and that was my mindset, too.”

Sellers chose UNM over offers from Memphis, New Mexico State and Southern Mississippi.

Austin had offers from San Diego State and UNLV, New Mexico’s Mountain West Conference rivals. Two factors, he said, combined to bring him to Albuquerque.

First, running back Ahmari Davis, a Laney teammate, decided to sign with UNM.

“We wanted to go to school together,” Austin said, “because it’s always good to have somebody that you’re familiar with to go through this process with.”

Second, but equally important, UNM defensive line coach Stan Eggen challenged him.

“It was just his determination, the things he was saying about being great, not being average,” Austin said. “It wasn’t just winning games. …It was winning conference (championships), winning bowl games.”

The year before Austin’s arrival at Laney, the Eagles had gone 4-6. They went 9-2 in both of his two seasons there.

Last year, the Lobos went 3-9.

“I wanted to come here and help (rebuild), put the pieces together,” he said.

Eggen said that, through 10 of 15 spring workouts, he has been pleased with his group. Baker, who started 11 games last fall as a junior, leads the way.

“I think we’ve got more depth right now (than in the past),” Eggen said. “We’ve still got a long way to go before we’re ready to play, but I really believe that when I come into that meeting room I see guys, all of them, that can help us.”

Of Austin and Sellers, he said, “They’ve been a very pleasant surprise. I knew they were gonna be good, but they’ve exceeded (expectations). They don’t flinch, and I’m excited about their progress and what they’ll bring to us next fall.”

INJURY REPORT: Senior quarterback Coltin Gerhart has missed practice time with an ankle injury, defensive coordinator and acting head coach Kevin Cosgrove said.

“We’re working him (back in) slowly but surely,” Cosgrove said. “He’ll be fine going into the fall.”

Saturday: UNM football “Spring Showcase,” 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Dreamstyle Stadium

Laney Football Early Signings 2017

Six Laney College football players have signed letters-of-intent to attend four-year schools during the early signing period that ended in December.

All-American running back Ahmari Davis (James Logan HS) and All-American defensive lineman Erin Austin (Heritage HS) have signed letters to attend the University of New Mexico.

Two offensive linemen, Brian Robinson (Moreau Catholic HS) and Bruce Burns (Arroyo HS) both signed LOIs with the University of Idaho.

Defensive back Zach Zimmerman (Monroe HS-Monroe, WA) signed with the University of North Dakota and linebacker Joseph Butler (Sam Houston HS-San Antonio) signed with Texas A&M-Commerce.

Burns (as were Davis and Austin) was named to both the All-America Football Team and the All-California Region I Football Team. Butler was also named to the Region I team.

By Scott A. Strain

Laney College Sports Information

Laney Football All-America

The Laney College football team placed seven players on two community college All-America teams, including University of New Mexico commit running back Ahmari Davis (James Logan HS), University of Idaho commit offensive lineman Bruce Burns (Arroyo HS) and University of New Mexico commit defensive lineman Erin Austin (Heritage HS), who were named to both teams.

The three Eagles players were named to the 2017 All-America Community College Team and the 2017 All-California Community College Region I Team.

Also named to the Region I team were running back Marcel Dancy (West HS-Oakland); Texas A&M – Commerce commit linebackers Joseph Butler (Sam Houston HS-San Antonio), Cameron Nathan (Antioch HS) and defensive back Je’Vari Anderson (De La Salle HS)

Davis rushed for 1,359 yards and scored 17 touchdowns as Laney went 9-2, won the National Valley Conference championship and went to the Northern California playoffs.

Dancy rushed for 1,033 yards and scored 15 touchdowns, three of them on receptions. The one-two punch of Davis and Dancy gave the Eagles two 1,000-yard rushers in the same season for the first time in the school’s 52-year football history.

Butler led the NVC in sacks with eight and Nathan was fifth in the conference in tackles-per-game with 5.8.

All players, except for Nathan, are sophomores.

By Scott A. Strain

Laney College Sports Information

Laney College @ American River College

The Laney College football team scored four touchdowns in the second half but came up short in a 41-35 loss to No.2 American River College in Sacramento on Nov. 18 in the first round of the Northern California playoffs.

The Eagles the No.4 seed in NorCal and champions of the National Valley Conference finished the season 9-2.

Statistically Laney dominated the game, outgaining the Beavers (10-1) 365 yards to 180 and the defense held ARC to just five yards rushing. The Eagles also had twice as many first downs (24) as the Beavers (12). ARC had no first downs in the second half.

Laney tied the game at 6-6 when Ahmari Davis (James Logan HS) scored on a 17-yard run with 3:31 left to play in the first quarter. Davis’ score capped a 12-play, 87-yard drive that took almost six minutes off the clock.

Down 27-6 at half, Laney started its comeback in the third quarter when Davis scored his second touchdown, this one coming on an 8-yard run with 7:03 left in the period.

The Eagles got the benefit of a safety when defensive lineman Erin Austin (Heritage HS) sacked the ARC quarterback, who recovered his own fumble in his own end zone with 2:37 left in the third quarter.

Laney scored three times in the fourth quarter to make it close. Davis scored his third touchdown on a 5-yard run with 10:01 left and Marcel Dancy (Merrill F. West HS) scored 4-yard run with 4:02 remaining.

The Eagles closed out the scoring when quarterback Noah Suszckiewicz (Berkeley HS) threw a 9-yard scoring pass to Dancy with 1:09 left.

Davis and Susckiewicz were the two leading rushers for Laney, Davis gaining 96 yards on 18 carries and Susckiewicz 71 yards on 13 carries.

Susckiewicz was 23 for 34 for 182 yards passing. Jared Smart (Dublin HS) caught seven passes for 57 yards and Devond Blair Jr. (Bunche HS-Oakland) had six catches for 54 yards.

On defense, linebacker Armani Turner-Jenkins (Berkeley HS) had eight tackles (four solo) and linebacker Cameron Nathan (Antioch HS) finished with seven (five solo).

Jonathan Whittley (Castlemont HS) had five tackles, which included three sacks for 25 yards in losses. Nathan had the other sack.

By Scott A. Strain

Laney College Sports Information

The Laney College football team won the National Valley Conference championship with a 40-33 victory over Modesto Junior College on Nov. 3 in Oakland.

The Laney College football team won the National Valley Conference championship with a 40-33 victory over Modesto Junior College on Nov.  3 in Oakland.

The Eagles (8-1, 4-0 NVC) finish their regular season on Saturday, Nov.  11 against Chabot College in Hayward. Game time is 6 p.m.

The Northern California playoff pairings won’t be decided until after this weekend’s slate of games are concluded.

But Laney, for the first time, is included.

The Eagles currently ranked No. 5 in the JC Athletic Bureau Coaches poll, pulled away from the Pirates (2-2, 4-5) after leading only 21-20 at the end of the first half.

Laney was held to 58 yards rushing in the first two quarters, but finished with 236 yards on the ground and a total of 469 for the game.

Marcel Dancy (West-Oakland HS) took charge in the first half, scoring the Eagles’ first two touchdowns. He ran 28 yards for Laney’s first score, then caught a pass from quarterback Noah Suszckiewicz and went 84 yards for a 14-7 lead with 13:21 left in the second quarter.

Suszckiewicz threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Robert Stern (De Anza HS) that gave Laney that 21-20 halftime lead.

Then it was Ahmari Davis’ turn. Davis (James Logan HS) scored Laney’s next two touchdowns, the first coming on a 21-yard run in the third quarter ad then a 51-yarder to start the fourth quarter as the Eagles took a 35-20 lead.

Modesto score the next touchdown, but Joseph Butler (Houston HS-San Antonio) picked up a blocked PAT attempt and ran the length of the field to give the Eagles two points and a 37-26 lead with 12:36 left in the game.

Laney’s final points came on KC Onwuemeka’s (Hercules HS) 18-yard field goal with 7:02 left.

Davis finished with 147 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. Dancy had 94 yards on 11 carries and one score. He also caught three passes for 149 yards and a touchdown.

Suszckiewicz completed nine of 18 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, linebacker Cameron Nathan (Antioch HS) had his best game of the season with 17 tackles (14 solo); Butler 10 tackles (8 solo); and Da’Meak Brandon (La Salle HS-Cincinnati) had an interception.

By Scott A. Strain

Laney College Sports Information

Laney Football Wins at Fresno City, Leads National Valley Conference

The Laney College football team scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to defeat Fresno City College 30-23 on Oct. 28 in Fresno and took the lead the National Valley Conference with a 3-0 record.

The Eagles, 7-1 overall, have won six straight games. They play host to Modesto Junior College (4-4, 2-1 NVC) on Friday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.

Ahmari Davis (James Logan HS) rushed for 193 yards and scored on a 41-yard run with 11:36 left in the fourth quarter. KC Onwuemeka (Hercules HS) kicked the extra point that tied the score at 23-23.

Andrew Ve'e (Encinal HS) threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Marcel Dancy (West HS-Oakland) with 10:09 left in the game for what proved to be the game-winniner.

The Laney defense forced three turnovers, with linebacker Joseph Butler (Sam Houston HS, San Antonio, TX) and Zach Zimmerman (Monroe HS, Monroe, LA) getting interceptions.  

The Eagles had no turnovers.

If it is anything, this Laney College football team is resilient

If it is anything, this Laney College football team is resilient.

The Eagles (6-1, 2-0 National Valley Conference) came from behind three times to finally defeat a stubborn College of the Sequoias team 34-17 on Oct. 20 in Oakland.

Laney was down 3-0, 10-6 and 17-13 before scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put the game away.

Ahmari Davis (James Logan HS) rushed for 90 yards and scored the Eagles’ first touchdown on a 25-yard run with 13:46 left in the second quarter. Laney’s other first-half score came with 44 seconds left when Noah Suszckiewicz (Berkeley HS) threw a 22-yard pass to Devond Blair Jr. (Bunche HS-Oakland) for a 13-10 lead.

After the Giants (2-5, 0-2) scored on the first play of the third quarter, the Eagles got back on top for good when Blair Jr. caught a 24-yard scoring pass from Suszckiewicz with 5:31 reaming in the third quarter.

Quarterback Andrew Ve’e (Encinal HS) scored on a 3-yard run 44 seconds into the fourth quarter and Marcel Dancy (West HS-Oakland) added a 13-yard scoring run with 8:39 left in the game.

Laney took advantage of three turnovers and had eight sacks on defense. Defensive back Zach Zimmerman (Monroe HS-Monroe, LA) returned an interception 31 yards.

Linebackers Joseph Butler (Houston HS-San Antonio) and Bishop Apodaka (Fremont HS-Oakland) each finished with seven tackles. Butler had four solo tackles; Apodaka had four.

Butler also had three sacks and three tackles for losses (TFL). Apodaka had two sacks and two TFL.

Armani Turner-Jenkins (Berkeley HS) and Erin Austin (Heritage HS-Brentwood each had six tackles. Turner-Jenkins had five solo tackles; Austin had four solo tackles and two sacks; Turner-Jenkins had one sack.

Austin was credited with 3.5 TFL and Turner-Jenkins had 1.5 TFL.

The Eagles’ next game is at Fresno City College on Saturday, Oct. 28. Game time is 6 p.m.

By Scott Strain

Laney College Sports Information

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