The Yuba College Football 49ers are coming off a fine 2014 season, having posted a 6-5 record, making the playoffs against West Hills Coalinga. Although the 49ers lost that game on the road in Southern California, the score was close and the 49ers dominated the second half in a 14-7 game. What makes this so impressive is that the 49ers started the season 0-2 with two lopsided non-conference game losses, one a game against the top ranked Hartnell Panthers.
Coming into the third game, the 49ers were underdogs against the Gavilan Rams in Gilroy. The Rams had the seventh rated quarterback and the fourth rated wide receiver in the state going into the game, but new Defensive Coach Montrell Williams’ 4-2-5 nickelback defense stopped Gavilan cold in the second half as the 49ers won big to turn the season around, winning big.
The playoff drive included a streak of six victories in seven games as the team consistently wore out the opposition,steamrolling teams in the fourth quarter, building stamina throughout the season. The 6-4 regular season record was their best in several years as the coaching staff was more cohesive with Williams on the sideline and Coach Tomas Rodriguez calling plays from the box. The season was an overall success.
So, 49er fans were looking forward to an even better year in 2015, with Williams turnover oriented defense now a full compliment of stability to Head Coach Ted Hoal’s run oriented, ball control offense.
In 2015, the 49ers started out against Hartnell, once again. This year, however, the game was much closer against this top team, a game which the 49ers could easily have won in a five point 30-25 split in Hartnell’s favor. Merced was tough on the road in the second game as Yuba fell to 0-2 to start the season again, shades of 2014.
In the third game, a home tilt against Gavilan, budding star Tyrone Dennis returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for an early score as Yuba opened a 7-0 lead which they never relinquished in a 40-24 victory. After a 22-21 victory against Mendocino College in a game that wasn’t really all that close, the 49ers were poised to improve their record against San Jose City College.
On Saturday, October 4, 2015 the 49ers played San Jose City College with a chance to boost their record to 3-2. The intermediate passing game has been greatly improved this season, taking the pressure off Yuba quarterback Steve Hocking. Starting tailback Leroy Wilson has been able to sustain the 49er offense with consistent running inside and outside behind stellar blocking upfront. Wilson, once again, had a fine game as the 49ers beat the City College Jaguars 18-16 while holding off a desperate, last ditch, two point conversion in the final seconds to win the game.
Against the Jaguars, Wilson had two big runs in another fine performance. Going into the game he had season total of 273 yards rushing, with an outstanding 5.5 yards per carry. Wilson said, “The blocking has been great. The coaches stress blocking foundation and unity in practice. Our offensive line is dominant. We stay focused mentally and Coach Hoal likes to establish the run.”
Sophomore wide receiver Dylan Campbell had another good game and has emerged as the 49ers number on receiver and has opened up opportunities for the play action passing game to create big plays. Also, his consistent ability to beat one on one coverage has enable the running game to be more successful, forcing opposing defenses into more zone coverage. With these two young talented offensive players, look for the 49ers to continue this good season in winning fashion while on the road to the playoffs.
Yuba College now prepares for the season’s big game against Contra Costa on October 17, after a well deserved bye week. The game is at home against the Bay Valley Conference archrival. The 49ers should be well rested for the game. Congratulations to Coach Ted Hoal, now in his 21st season, for his 100th win in the third game against Gavilan
Note: This article was featured in the Fall 2015 print edition of The Prospector