by Larry Ham
Sports reporters, commentators and other so-called “experts” often try to determine a “turning point” in a particular sporting event. Often these turning points are subject to debate, but there’s no denying the turning point in the shellacking Reedley College suffered at the hands of the College of the Sequoias (COS) Giants Saturday night in Visalia.
Midway through the second quarter, the Tigers were leading 7-0, the defense was playing superbly and everything was hunky dory. Then the Tigers outstanding Defensive Lineman Eric Sykes was ejected from the game on an unsportsmanlike penalty, the Tigers fell apart completely and the Giants won going away by a score of 42-16.
I haven’t a clue what Sykes did to deserve ejection. It might have been a punch or a kick or something he said, but there’s no denying the impact of his departure — the Giants rattled off the next 35 points. Sequoias Quarterback Phillip Brandt didn’t have a great game statistically, but he didn’t really need to. The Giants did what they had to do when they needed to, and the Tigers really didn’t put up much of a fight.
The Reedley offense was spotty at best, and the running game without injured back Nigel Simmons was ineffective. When quarterback Jeff Kidd tried to pass, he was pounded repeatedly by the COS defense. Kidd was sacked an astonishing nine times. Kidd did run for a touchdown on a nifty individual effort, and threw a beautiful 64-yard touchdown pass to Avery Collins for the first score of the game.
So, any chance for the Tigers to play in the post season is now over. With one game to play, it’s strictly for pride now, as the Tigers will face Fresno City College Saturday in Fresno. The Rams upset previously unbeaten San Joaquin Delta Saturday afternoon, and are now one win away from the Norcal Championship game. The Tigers are one game away from putting the pads away, and trying to figure out where it all went wrong. As I mentioned last week, the Tigers return many of their best players next season, so the future looks bright despite the clubbing they took Saturday.
Weekly Report Card:
Offensive Line: F
Special Teams: B
Player of the game: Ily Lopez (fumble recovery and interception)