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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

City College football team: 2014 East Bay Bowl champions
Behind the Panthers’ offensive line, running back Henry Enyenihi takes the hand-off and looks for an open running lane. Photo by Alina Castillo | Online Photo Editor | [email protected]

After a slow start, Northern California’s No. 9 City College came from behind to defeat the No. 5 Diablo Valley College Vikings 41-35 in the California Community College Athletics Association’s East Bay Bowl game.

Panther’s quarterback Jason Samuels won offensive MVP, throwing for 371 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions. The game’s defensive MVP was awarded to Panthers’ linebacker George Stone who had nine total tackles, including four sacks and a pass breakup that almost turned into an interception.

The Vikings had a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter, but came up short. With 19 seconds remaining in the game, the Vikings lined up for a potential game winning field goal. Panthers’ defensive back Marquis Corbett-Palmer blocked the attempt, and the game was sent into overtime.

The Vikings lone drive in overtime ended exactly like its last drive of regulation: a blocked field goal by Corbett-Palmer.

After the blocked field, the Panthers took little time to score. The game-winning touchdown came on a pass from Samuels to Devin Benjamin, their second touchdown connection of the day. With the win, the Panthers finished out with a 7-4 record and a bowl game victory.

“It’s been a good season, and it’s been a great ride for these young men to end the season the way they did,” said head coach Dannie Walker. “Through their hard work and overcoming some challenges along the way, they were able to get the reward that they set for themselves at the beginning of the season.”

Going into the game, City College and Diablo Valley had similarly potent offenses, both averaging 369.3 yards per game and 410.6 yards per game, respectively.

The offense came up big in the second half, according to Samuels, despite being down a couple of receivers from injury and eligibility. Receiver Jordan Morrison led the Panthers receivers with 10 catches and 197 yards. Jordan Ares, who finished the game with six catches for 70 yards, had a huge catch in the fourth quarter on the team’s game-tying drive. On fourth and 13, He went up and over a defender for a 19-yard reception and the first down. Benjamin finished the game with three catches — two of which were game-tying and game-winning touchdowns — for 76 yards.

“We had some guys step up big because we were pretty thin at receiver,” said Samuels. “We were down to our second and third string guys, and they stepped up and made the plays.”

The Panthers’ defense and special teams were relentless in getting to the ball, according to assistant coach John Herlihy. Led by linebacker George Stone, the defense played lights out in the second half, holding the Vikings’ offense to one touchdown after allowing four touchdowns in the first half.

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The Vikings led 35-14 six minutes into the third quarter, but then the Panthers’ began to rally. The Vikings’ drives following their lone second half touchdown resulted in one fumble, one interception and four punts. The Panthers’ defense forced two fumbles, one interception and eight sacks on the day

In addition to the bowl game victory, some Panthers were selected all-conference in the National Nor-Cal Conference. Among those selected were running back Leonard Skattebo, defensive lineman Christian Castro, linebacker Russell Williams, defensive back Genesis Grimes, Jordan Morrison and George Stone

Samuels and defensive backs Ryan Lewis and Alfred Gross were selected all-conference honorable mention.

With the football season complete, sophomores and freshman will begin to separate and begin their next steps into next season. For the freshman, they will begin to transition into the offseason and offseason training, according to Walker.

According to Walker, the sophomores will now be starting the recruiting process. In the recruiting process, players will be looked at and evaluated by four-year college programs in hopes to transfer and play at the next level.

“This is ultimately why these young men choose this route, is to have the opportunity to go on and play college football,” said Walker. “For me as a coach, that becomes my number one priority, is making sure that the sophomores who do want to go on and play will be able to find a home and transfer.”

Despite finishing 1-9 in the 2013 season, the Panthers overcame some seemingly insurmountable odds on their way to a 7-4 record and a bowl game victory in their 2014 campaign.

“Some really good things happened, and as a coach, that’s what you want your guys to experience,” Herlihy said. “A game where we’re all in it together, and we’re on the same end of the rope instead of tugging each other.”


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