by Larry Ham
The Reedley College Tiger’s season ending 43-38 loss at Monterey Peninsula College Saturday night was a microcosm of their season. They fell behind, rallied to take a late lead, and gave up the winning touchdown with less than a minute to play.
Despite the Tigers finishing with a 4-6 record, it was a season of great improvement. The four wins were the most for a Tiger team since 2009, and the offense evolved over the course of the season into one of the most prolific passing attacks in the state.
The defense was the weak point for Reedley College. It’s amazing to consider that the Tigers lost five games this season in which they led late in the fourth quarter. In other words, better execution by the “D” would have resulted in a 9-1 record!
There is no question that the MVP’s for Reedley College this year were Quarterback Joshua Allen, and receiver Raphael Aroujo-Lopes. They are unquestionably the most lethal combination for Reedley since Robert Johnson and Bryant Stewart in 2002-3.
I will add another MVP to the mix as well. Offensive Coordinator Ernie Rodriguez took over an offense that was stagnant, predictable, and easily stopped. He turned it into an exciting spectacle that would make many Division One schools jealous.
The question for next season is how many players from this freshman dominated team will return? If they all come back, 2015 should be a great year for Reedley College football.
And now, if you will allow me, a few words about the state of Junior College football.
JC football is the proverbial red headed stepchild of college sports, and I can’t figure out why that is. The media practically ignores it, especially the local media in Reedley. A college football team in a city this size, and you can’t even cover the HOME GAMES? Inexcusable. But they aren’t the only culprits.
Consider this – of the five road games the Tigers played this season, four out of five venues could not provide space in their press box for our webcast crew – two people. We sat outside at four out of five stadiums! The only exception was Merced College, where we are always well treated by SID Pat Kelly and his crew. I’m not Al Michaels. I’m also not a Primma Donna, and if you knew what I was paid to do the webcast, you’d know why. My broadcast partner, Will Goldbeck, and I have been doing the broadcast together for twenty seasons and we do it because we enjoy it, and we feel like the players, coaches and fans deserve the recognition. If some of these schools want their athletic programs to be taken seriously, they need to act like professionals. I understand the financial constraints, but at three of the five road games this season, the home team’s Athletic Director was nowhere to be found,
The officiating crews this season would earn a C- if I were grading them. And that’s being charitable. Football is a very subjective game to officiate, and I appreciate that, but the officiating has deteriorated over the past several seasons, in my opinion.
What people need to understand about Junior College sports is the amount of effort that goes into running a JC athletic program. The players come from all over the nation to play. The coaches spend countless hours teaching, planning, and on top of that, in many cases, earning a living doing another job outside of coaching. They deserve respect, they deserve support, and it’s about time people start realizing that Junior College sports are exciting, inexpensive and worthwhile.
I will now step down from my soapbox and say it’s been a fun year, and I am looking forward to the 2015 season. See you then!
We will be back next year with more Reedley College football coverage!