The Yuba College 49ers football program took a big step forward this 2015 season. For the second straight year they posted a solid winning season, going 5-5 after a 6-4 record in 2014.
Back-to-back five-plus win seasons also saw head coach Ted Hoal notch his one hundredth career victory. Hoal’s 49ers had a late game lead against perennial rival and top Bay Valley Conference leader Contra Costa College.
The 49ers fell 16-13 on a last second touchdown by the Comets all-conference quarterback Cameron Burston, who engineered a last minute drive from deep in Comet territory to get the win.
The game was well-played on both sides of the ball by both teams, a very strong boost to the 49er program as Contra Costa is always one of the toughest tests.
Coach Hoal was direct in his assessment following the game, “The offense needs to get better inside the red zone, not leave points on the board. The defense played lights out.”
The 49er running game has been a bread and butter freight train all season.
Much credit should be given to the offensive line and Coach Gabe Ronquillo, in his second year as line coach. He has assembled a good group of big men up front.
Ike Williams, the 49ers big offensive tackle, says “I have worked hard every day with 100% determination to be on the field. I want to keep getting better and become more physical with each game we play. Our offensive line plays large. We have nice interior guards who can move the opposing line. We move the ball quite nicely.”
The other four linemen include offensive guards, Manu Letisi and Jared Malaga and offensive tackles Mitchell Gums and Jordan Miller with tight end Jordan Samson, who also catches the deep crossing pattern well, over the top.
Samson has progressed well over the last three games, catching two passes for 59 yards against Monterey Peninsula College with a game changing 19 yard touchdown grab midway through the fourth quarter, then followed up with a 20 yard TD catch against College of the Redwoods which boosted the 49ers to a second half lead which they never relinquished, winning 30-28 in a key conference game.
He also blocks well for the running game. Williams gives credit to Coach Gabe for helping the big men up front with their steps and blocking patterns.
Ronquillo, a former offensive lineman himself, gives his players the best chance to improve with daily attention paid to technical skill and unit play.
As such the 49ers have become a dominant downhill force moving the ball with a talented trio of tailbacks in the presence of Leroy Wilson, Tyrone Dennis, and Joey Thurman. Wilson gained 169 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown in the redwoods game and rushed for over 100 yards against both Contra Costa and Monterey Peninsula College as well.
He averaged 107.9 yards per game for the first nine games of the season.
Dennis was an excellent all-purpose back and kick returner with a stellar game against the Division Champion Shasta Knights in the season finale.
In four years on the road with the 49ers, I have experienced some great football. This team in 2015 was a dedicated and motivated group of fine young men who were a credit to their coaches, their college, and themselves.