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

Eagles finally defeat long-time rival Rams

Joseph Butler made a diving interception in the end zone with no time remaining to preserve Laney College’s 18-13 upset victory over defending state champion City College of San Francisco on Sept. 2 in Oakland.
Fate was not kind to the Eagles the next week. Battling 96-degree heat, a three-hour drive and dubious air quality from recent fires in the area, Laney lost to Butte College in Oroville 38-20 on Sept. 10.
Laney’s next game is on Friday, Sept. 16, at home against the Feather River College Golden Eagles. Game time is 7 p.m.
But getting back to the epic victory in the season opener, the Eagles (1-0) scored three times in the second half to erase a 13-0 CCSF lead.
The victory broke a 10-game losing steak against CCSF (0-1). It was the first victory for Laney over the Rams since 1995. There were some years when the two teams did not play each other.
Eagles quarterback Noah Suszckiewicz threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Devond Blair, Jr. with 3 minutes, 28 seconds left in the game to give Laney its first lead. Suszckiewicz’s touchdown pass ended an eight-play, 96-yard drive.

Laney pulled to within 13-12 when Suszckiewicz (13-21, 169 yards, interception) threw a 32-yard TD pass to Sean Pinson with nine minutes left. The Eagles scored their first touchdown when Andrew Ve’e threw 3 yards to Armani Levias with 11:29 left in the third quarter.
Rams quarterback Zach Masoli, despite throwing three interceptions in the first half, got CCSF on the scoreboard first when he threw an 80-yard TD pass to Chikwado Nzerem with 53 seconds left in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.
CCSF increased the lead to 13-0 when Masoli threw a 21-yard scoring pass to Easop Winton with 7:13 left in the second quarter.
Laney running back Marcel Dancy ran 22 times for 129 yards, which included a 51-yard run in the third quarter. CCSF, which pretty much eschewed the run in the second half, rushed for 58 yards.
In the game against Butte, quarterback Andrew Ve’e threw one touchdown pass and ran for another as the Eagles were outscored 21-13 in the fourth quarter.
Ve’e (12-24, 160 yards) threw a 23-yard scoring pass to Sean Pinson in the second quarter and then ran 14 yards for another score in the fourth. Ronald Thomas had a 3-yard TD run with 1:22 left in the game for the Eagles’ final score.
FEATHER RIVER: This will be only the second meeting between the Eagles and the Golden Eagles, who are located in Quincy. Laney defeated Feather River 48-35 at home in 2008 in the Eagle Bowl.