Going on the road with the Yuba College 49ers was a lot of fun. I had the privilege to spend some time with this quality group of men of the Yuba College football program. I found many of the rewards of college life.
The experience began when I took the time to get to know some of the players and coaches. The integrity of any football program starts with the coaching staff. Coach Ted Hoal keeps discipline on the field and in the locker room. He has a solid game plan ready every time the 49ers take the field, keeping his team well prepared. The Assistant Head-Coach,Tomas Rodriguez brings a nice compliment to Yuba in coaching style. Together they take excellent care of their players on and off the field. The 49ers are a reflection of their coaching staff.
Quarterback Zach Hutcheson, as relaxed as any freshman on the Yuba College campus, is all business on the road. Traveling to another school three hours journey can make a big difference in the focus of any athlete, especially at the college level.
Hutcheson has great ability and demonstrates a sharp understanding of the game. A bright, physically gifted, focused team leader who comes game-ready, he is very coachable, a blossoming young quarterback. He has guided the Yuba College football program through a tumultuous year full of ups and downs in 2012.
On the field Zach exhibits a calm demeanor and takes excellent care of the football, rarely turning the ball over. “I like having the ball in my hands after every play.” He went on say, “Coach Hoal has lived up to the promises he made when I came here to play.” Articulate in expression, he discusses football with a keen sense of purpose and direction, easily able to convey his true feelings with focus.
As his eligibility runs out after this year, he is looking to succeed at the Division I College level, after leaving Yuba College. On his decision to attend Yuba College, Hutcheson says, “Coach Hoal shows great confidence in me and I have learned good game management skills here.”
Juan Johnson, the starting tailback, introduced himself to me before the game at Feather River College. I found him to be a very serious player, confident in his ability, committed to his team and the game. Johnson broke the school single game rushing record, gaining 349 yards in the first game of the season at Gavilan College. He then surpassed that performance with 439 yards in the game against Los Medanos College on November 3, 2012 on his way to possibly the best season by a running back in Yuba College history.
On the road at Feather River College, the 49ers played in a key conference game against the Eagles. Alexander Sanders, nicknamed Ike, played high school ball in Reno, Nevada at North Valley High. He played on the “same team” as many of the players on the Eagles. Sanders said he “would have gone to college at Feather River, they wanted me, but I really wanted to come to Yuba College. I like it here very much and plan to stay for next year.” As a freshman offensive lineman, Ike runs blocks very well in this system but will do “whatever Coach Hoal expects” of him. He is very confident about the team’s chances to close out the season strongly with Quarterback Zach Hutcheson at the helm.
Yuba College football is fortunate to have John Leal as it’s kicker. Leal scored 72 points in his senior year at Colfax High School. At Yuba, he believes he has a chance to break the school record for the longest field goal of 50 Yards. Taking on the added duties of punting for the game against Shasta College made him a little nervous but he still managed to connect from 44 yards away. He also holds the record for most field goals in one season, having made 10 good in 2010. Leal wants to pursue football and his education after Yuba College, possibly at the Division II College level, perhaps at Nevada University. He brings good spirit and a bright attitude to the team and should do well in his future plans.
Following the Yuba college 49ers this season, at home and on the road was a lot of fun and a great time. The experience is one that should be enjoyed by many. I highly recommend it for you and your families. So, please come out and support your 49ers. You’ll be glad you did!