Photo by Ed Beyer
SAN JACINTO - It doesn't matter how well you play, if you don't do the little things right they could come back to bite you in the end.
Case in point, last Saturday night when the Marauder football team put on a dominant performance on nearly every aspect of the game against College of the Desert. The only thing that wasn't dominant was a disappointing loss to the Roadrunners, 56-50, in four overtimes.
One stat that the Marauders would like to forget were the 24 penalties for 234 yards, both AVC records.
"It's one of those things when you have 24 penalties for that many yards it's hard to say you can win the game," AVC head coach Perry Jehlicka said. "Some of those penalties stopped our drives and others kept theirs alive. That was hard to overcome and it's hard to win football games like that. In some key ways we didn't play good,clean sound football. We were definitely hurting on Saturday night. We work way too hard to let that happen. You have to give credit to COD, but we played a huge role in letting them get back in the game."
AVC squandered a 35-13 lead late in the third quarter by allowing the Roadrunners (2-2) to get back into the game to tie the score 35-35 and even take the lead 42-35 in overtime. Penalties played a major role in keeping many of the drives alive and keeping the Maraduers' defense on the field for long stretches of the game.
In that game, COD's quarterback Noah Shoeman slung it 71 times and passed for 507 yards. The Roadrunners racked up 705 yards of total offense. On Saturday afternoon AVC will have to contend with another high-profile quarterback in Mt. San Jacinto's Sheriron Jones.
Jones was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and originally signed with the University of Tennessee. Jones saw very minimal action with the Volunteers and fell on their depth chart so he ended up with the Eagles. He originally received offers from the University of Florida, Ole Miss University, University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Colorado University.
Jones averages 226 passing yards per game and has tossed seven touchdown passes for Mt. San Jacinto (2-1).
AVC's defense which has been solid the entire season must also be concerned about tailback Jomari Becnal. At one point last season Becnal led the state in rushing and he returns for his sophomore campaign. Becnal averages 94 yards per game on the ground. However, last season the Marauders' defense bottled up Becnal by keeping him in check in AVC's 28-14 victory.
"They have some weapons over there and that poses a challenge for us. We expect it to be a good quality football game," Jehlicka said. "We have to be more disciplined and we've got to play more complete football, but we like our chances. If we take care of AVC, we'll give ourselves a chance to win. We can sulk and whine about it (last week's loss) or we can work on it and get better."
The Eagles are coming off a surprising 49-21 loss against much-improved Pierce College (2-2). Mt. San Jacinto's two victories this season have come against teams with a combined 0-8 record, Compton College and Glendale College. Both the Tartars and the Vaqueros have been outscored 272-82 in their combined eight losses.
That could bode well for AVC's offense which is rounding into form with full-time quarterback Armani Edden, who ranks tied for sixth in the state among quarterbacks with 11 touchdown passes. Edden has a realistic shot at Blake Shepherd's single-season mark for touchdowns in a season (28).
The Eagles will also have to keep on eye on one of Edden's favorite targets, Jordan Wayne. Last week, Edden tied the AVC record with five touchdown passes in a game. Wayne also tied the single-game record with four touchdown receptions. Wayne ranks tied for second in the state with six touchdown receptions.
Much of the pressure which was alleviated off Edden was the 1-2 rushing attack of DJ Payne and Perry Martin. Payne carried the ball 26 times for a career-high 183 yards. Martin was a great complement to Payne as he finished with 62 yards on seven carries. AVC's offense must sustain long, methodical drives to keep its defense off the field.
"We have to play for 60 minutes and not just one half. It was a very disappointing loss for us. I don't think we were leaving it on the field like we should have. If we play our ball, I don't believe there is a team in our conference that can beat us," Payne said. "The guys took that loss personally to the heart. We're more hungry than we've been all season. We absolutely knew we were the better team (against COD)."
The Marauders, which rolled up nearly 500 yards in offense last Saturday, have one of their highest winning percentages against Mt. San Jacinto, holding a 23-11 all-time record over the Eagles.
"We can't let good teams get back into games. Our kids are smart enough to realize what we did wrong and come back from it," Jehlicka said. "We can still compete and win a conference championship and we can still compete in the post season."