Football squad bounces back after blowout

Offensive rhythm inspires special teams heroics, leads squad to clutch road victory

By Robert Clinton, Staff Writer

The football team redeemed itself after last week’s disappointing loss, taking a 211-mile trip to Reedley College (1-2 overall) and holding on for a 43-38 victory in a nail biter on Saturday.

The offense made great strides after its previous performance, completing nine of 17 passes on third down plays. The improvement helped establish a rhythm and cut down on costly three and outs.

The Comets return to action versus Merced College at Comet Stadium on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Against Reedley, quarterback Jonathan Banks continued his influential play, compiling 292 passing yards on 24 attempts. He went on to manufacture six touchdowns, but was also responsible for four turnovers.

“I wanted to get the ball to our playmakers,” Banks said. “And when I saw the pocket collapse I just ran.”
Solid line play paved the way for the Comets (2-1 overall) to rack up 232 total rushing yards. Aggressive play calling allowed the team to tear off four yards on every carry from scrimmage. CCC led 7-3 after the first quarter. The defense held the Tigers without a touchdown until four minutes were left in the first half.

The Comet second quarter was the polar opposite of what they brought to the game last week. The squad commanded two long scoring drives after being pushed back to their own end zone.

One, a 13-play 92-yard scoring drive, preceded by a 78-yard touchdown strike from Banks to receiver Frank Stephens — a drive that started 99 yards from the end zone. CCC led 20-10 at halftime.

“I just want to thank the offensive line for giving me a chance to get my receivers involved,” Banks said.
Following the break, good fortune continued to flow in the Comet direction. Another touchdown run by Banks, followed by a second Stephens’ TD grab put CCC ahead 34-10.

The Tigers matched CCC’s offensive output for the quarter. The difference being a spectacular 98-yard botched Reedley extra point, which was returned by Comet defensive lineman Clarence Corbin.
“Playing with purpose is what it’s all about,” Comet coach Alonzo Carter said.

“It’s about who wants it most, how much does it matter to you — at this point in the schedule everything matters.”
The final quarter saw the Tigers make a push to steal the victory from CCC. But the defense, led by Amari Mount and his five tackles and one sack, was not about to be broken. Chibu Onyeukwu matched Mount with five tackles and one sack of his own.

The Comets’ bend-but-don’t-break defensive strategy thwarted the Reedley aggressive offensive push. It also gave the Comets the final opportunity to put the game away for good.

CCC sealed the victory with a 2-yard touchdown run by Banks with 2:33 left in the contest.