The MSJC football team, led by a great effort from their defense came up five points short on Saturday in the Western States Bowl in Santa Maria as they fell to Allan Hancock College 14-9.
The Eagles opened up Saturday night's Western States Bowl by taking an early lead on the game's opening drive scoring with 8:57 to go in the quarter when Nicholas Sibilla connected on a 37 yard field goal to give MSJC a 3-0 lead. The Eagle defense was dominate in the first half as they forced the Bulldogs into a pair of three and outs, and two other punts as Hancock ran just 21 offensive plays over the opening 30 minutes. Hancock's defense also answered the bell however and the team's went to the half with MSJC clinging to their 3-0 lead.
In the third the Bulldog offense had an opportunity early and took advantage as they scored the game's first touchdown on the first drive of the second half with a 31 yard TD pass. Later in the third Hancock put together what turned out to be the game winning drive when they marched 73 yards on 11 plays to push their lead to 14-3 with 3:17 to play before the final quarter. The Eagles did respond on their following possession as the offense went 73 yards in 7 plays with quarterback Brett Virgil connecting on four of five passes during the drive. MSJC capped it off when Virgil hit Alonzo Bell for a 15 yard touchdown, the extra point failed and the Eagles went into the fourth quarter trailing 14-9.
In the fourth quarter, both team's had one long offensive possession, but neither team could score any points. Hancock ate up much of the final 15 minutes with an 8 minute drive, that ended in a punt. The Eagles lone drive of the final period started at their own 8 yard line and progressed to the Bulldog 36, before an incomplete pass on fourth down ended the threat. From there Hancock was able to run out the final 54 seconds.
The Eagle defense ended the night yielding just 253 yards of total offense to the Bulldogs. Dallas Frederick had a game high 11 tackles including 1.5 for loss, Alonta Orange had his best game of the season with 10 tackles. Steven Bradshaw concluded an outstanding season with 8 tackles and a sack despite missing a portion of the second half with an eye injury. Jayden Dawson and Darryl Moody also played well in the game with 8 and 9 tackles each.
The offensive effort saw Virgil finish the day 20 of 38 passing for 200 yards, he also had a team high 63 yards on the ground. Cayden Chambers and Sherod White both caught 5 passes each while C.J. Sullivan and Alonzo Bell each had 3 receptions.
The Eagles conclude their season with an 8-3 record. The bowl appearance was MSJC's first since 2012. Over the past two seasons the Eagles have put together a combined record of 15-6, the programs best two year stretch since 2011 and 2012.