by Larry Ham
The Reedley College Tigers ended their season on an up note, with a 34-28 win over Monterey Peninsula College, Saturday night at Reedley High School Stadium.
Two teams with 5-5 records were invited to post season bowls, which would seem unfair to Reedley on the surface. But when strength of schedule is taken into consideration, the Tigers really can’t complain.
Three of the Tigers’ six wins came against team (Mendocino, Gavilan and Cabrillo) with a combined season record of 5-25. The Tigers beat the teams they should have beaten, but had some trouble with the better teams.
That being said, this was a very encouraging season for Head Coach Randy Whited and his players. The Tiger offense, led by sophomore quarterback Austen Bray, sophomore receivers Caleb Horton and Terrell McLaughlin, and running backs, freshman Robert Avery and sophomore Javon Harrison, were excellent all season. Bray had a couple of games he wishes he could have back, I’m sure, but he provided some great thrills for the Reedley fans all season, finishing with 2,296 passing yards and 25 touchdowns. Avery and Harrison combines for almost 1,100 yards on the ground and eight touchdowns. Horton and McLaughlin combines for a whopping 1.507 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns.
Tiger offensive coordinator Ernie Rodriguez deserves much credit for opening up the offense to take advantage the fine athletes I mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Defensively, Reedley had a good year as well. It’s hard to pick out any players in particular, since this was a group that played as an eleven man squad all season, but Malik Williams, Clay Jones and DeShaun Dean had excellent seasons, and my defensive MVP was Artis Johnson, who played maniac football all season long. He’s one of those players whose skills are easy to see, but he works his butt off anyway.
So, as it is with every season in JC football, next year’s Tiger team will have a whole new look. It’ll be interesting to see if the momentum of this season’s success carries forward. Hopefully it will. See you in September!