Yuba College Football has struggled on offense all season. Having lost two consecutive Bay Valley Conference games, the last being a tough game on the road against Contra Costa, the 49ers were in desperate need of a win as College of the Redwoods came to town, along with their deep threat passing offense, looking to take advantage of a young 49er secondary. The Corsairs had beaten a more experienced 49er team just last season in Reno, Nevada—a closely contested affair.
Coach Ted Hoal has prepared his 49er team for a ball-control, run-oriented game offense, hoping to control time of possession, thus keeping the Corsairs offense off the field. His game plan worked to perfection, as the 49ers posted their offensive game of the year.
The 49ers took the early lead 7-0 on a touchdown run by Jonathan Abercrombie. Although Yuba College took a 24-21 lead into the locker room at halftime, the Corsairs kept the pressure on them throughout the game, briefly holding a 21-17 advantage. Abercrombie rushed 44 times for 351 yards, the second highest single game rushing effort in 49er school history. Only Juan Johnson’s 372 yard game ranks higher. Abercrombie also had four touchdowns, two of them from 53 and 55 yards. Datwon Melvin played quarterback, hoping to spark the attack and contributed to two rushing touchdowns on his own.
The Corsair’s potent passing attack kept them in the contest as Caleb Lomboy-Chavez caught seven passes for 126 yards and three touchdowns. Redwood College moved the ball well, scoring first in the third quarter to take the lead in what had become a very exciting game. The 49ers came right back to score, leading 30-28 midway through the third quarter, a lead they never relinquished. In the fourth quarter, the 49ers untracked a six play, 89 yard drive, eating up 7:39 of the clock to put the game away. The secondary intercepted five Corsair passes; the last, by Jacolby Bureau at the 49er 25 yard line with less than a minute on the clock, sealed the victory, 49-42.
By controlling the time of possession and reestablishing the running game the 49ers were able to improve their Bay Valley Conference record to (1-2). The coaching staff was excited, exuding confidence for this young team and should be looking forward to next week’s game at home against Shasta College. Kicker Braaton Sills looked very good again, making two field goals and five extra points. Sills may be one of the better kickers in the California Community College Athletic Association.The Shasta College Knights came to town on a beautiful, warm, sunny day for a one o’clock start this past Saturday, November 2, 2013. The Knights were well prepared for this game, taking an early 7-0 lead which they never relinquished, winning by a final score of 58-23. The loss dropped the 49ers to 1-3 in the Bay Valley Conference, and places them squarely in the role of spoilers as they close out the season with games against division opponents Mendocino and Los Medanos on the schedule.
Here Come the Knights
Coach Ted Hoal knew coming into the season that this young team would present some challenges. When the 49ers are able to gain the early lead, establishing the running game, the team is able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The defense gets a chance to rest when the edge for time of possession is in favor of Yuba College. With Datwon Melvin at quarterback, the offense has shown signs of effectiveness playing this type of game. Luke Stephens is also beginning to learn the system at quarterback.
However, when the opposition is able to get the deep ball, such as Shasta College was able to do this past Saturday, the defense is stretched, ultimately pressed to stop the run. This can result in a long day for the 49ers, especially when the opponent scores first. The 49er defense has been very successful at intercepting passes and creating turnovers, as the secondary and linebackers continue to mature. Presently the defense plays single man coverage on the wide receivers, using the safeties to help out the corners and provide run support. As coverage responsibilities are fine tuned, perhaps some simple zone coverage, cover two, or double coverage on the opposition’s top receiver with safety help underneath, the defense should improve against strong passing teams. Controlling the tempo of the game is critical enabling the 49ers to play well down the stretch and surprise some teams. The offense continues to show growth, and can take the pressure off the defense with a consistent running attack and a turnover free game. Look for potential big efforts against Mendocino and Los Medanos.
Kicker Braaton Sills continues to impress as he booted a 49-yard field goal, a kick which could have been good from 55 yards or more. It is a strong possibility that Sills may break the school record of 50 yards before the season is out. Sills also has a shot at most points in a season by a 49er in school history.