The MSJC football team picked up a victory in their final home game of the 2019 season, and also kept the annual Palms to Pines Trophy in San Jacinto for at least another year.
The Eagles started the game with a bang when Jayden Dawson returned the opening kick off 88 yards for an MSJC touchdown. College of the Desert would answer back with a 91 yard drive that took 9 plays and over 4 minutes to tie the game at 7-7 with still 8:23 to play in the first quarter. MSJC would then go on a 20 point run to open up a comfortable lead, starting with a 7 yard TD pass from Brett Virgil to C.J. Sullivan with just over 5 minutes remaining in the first. Early in the second quarter Virgil and Sullivan hooked up once more, this time on a 20 yard pass that capped an 8 play 66 yard drive, and after a failed extra point MSJC led 20-7. MSJC then got a big play from their defense when Dallas Frederick stripped the ball from the Desert running back and it was scooped up by Dennis Smith who made a highlite reel return of 65 yards to push the Eagles lead to 27-7 with over 10 minutes to play before halftime. The Roadrunners would stem the tide a bit as they scored a touchdown before half, to cut the lead to 27-14 after the first 30 minutes.
In the second half both teams offenses were a little sloppy and neither team cashed in any points in the third period. MSJC was able to pretty much ice the game in the fourth quarter when Virgil threw his third touchdown pass of the day connecting with Rashoud Shelton for an 11 yard score with just 6:48 remaining to give the Eagles a 20 point lead at 34-14.
Virgil finished the contest completing 30 of 44 passes for 355 yards to go along with the three TDs, he was picked off twice, he also led the rushing attack with 14 carries for 49 yards. Sullivan wrapped up the game with 7 catches for 70 yards, while Cayden Chambers had 5 catches for a team high 82 receiving yards, Doryan Cole and Alonzo Bell each had 6 receptions.
The Eagle defense got a huge day from linebacker Steven Bradshaw as he made a career high 16 tackles. Josiah Pinon made 8 stops on the day and recovered a fumble while Adrian Sanchez picked up a sack. Both Oscar Franco and Nate Anderson had interceptions for the Eagles who forced four turnovers in the game.
MSJC improved to 7-2 overall with the victory and won the annual Palms to Pines Trophy for the second straight season, they are 2-2 in American Mountain League play. The Eagles will wrap up the regular season on Saturday when they travel to Glendora to take on Citrus College in a 1 pm game.