The 2001-02 Yuba College 49er football team is opening eyes around the state and nation, despite being a relatively young team, carrying 16 freshman on the squad.
Before a tough 40-15 loss to visiting Modesto, Yuba’s group had placed a top 10 ranking in the JC Athletic Bureau’s coaches’ rankings, and #17 in national ranks, thanks to a much improved defensive corps.
Last year Yuba’s defense allowed an average of nearly 380 yards per game. A year later that number has been cut to just over 200.
Returning end Tim Finnerty’s efforts are a large part of the defensive wall that the 49ers have put up this season. Against Hartnell in the season opener, Finnerty had five tackles, including two sacks, as well as a fumble recovery.
Having a potent ground attack has also contributed greatly to the early success of the home team. The resilience of sophomore star tailback John West has other teams paying attention to Yuba’s rushing offense. West began the season charging out the gate, having three 100+ yard-games, and seemingly running at will, both rushing on offense, as well as working with special teams as a punt-returner.
Another offensive asset has been the suprise ability of freshman quarterback Marc Rogers, who was known for his passing ability in high school, to scramble out of the pocket for significant gains, including two scores against Hartnell, and Yuba’s only TD against against Modesto.