LMC capitalizes on turnovers

Yuba fumbles ball five times in loss

The Los Medanos College Mustangs’ football team came back strong after losing back-to-back road games by beating the Yuba College 49ers 23-6 Saturday, Oct. 24 to move to 3-4 on the season.

LMC’s first drive ended in a punt that was fumbled by Yuba’s Joey Thurman and recovered by the Mustangs’ Justin McDowell, which gave the ball back to the Mustangs on the 49ers’ 17-yard line. Two plays later, however, quarterback Gabe Taylor was intercepted by defensive back Estephon Richardson-Aparicio, giving the ball right back to Yuba. They were not able to capitalize on the turnover and were forced to punt.

The Mustangs’ first score of the game came on the last play of the first quarter, as running back Billy Wells took it in from 5-yards out, giving LMC a 6-0 lead after a failed extra point attempt.

Yuba’s drive to start the second quarter stalled as half back Austin Thompson fumbled, once again recovered by McDowell. This was the second of five fumbles of the day for Yuba, three of which were recovered by LMC.

The 49ers lone scoring drive of the day came minutes later, as quarterback Jackson Hopking completed an 8-yard throw to wide receiver Dylan Campbell, completing the 10-play 76-yard scoring drive that also ended in a missed extra point kick.

With the score 6-6, neither team could get the offense moving to begin the second half until Hopking was intercepted by linebacker Elijah Iakopo, who returned the ball all the way to Yuba’s 4-yard line. From there the Mustangs wasted no time, as Wells scampered in for his second touchdown of the day, making it 13-6 — a lead the Mustangs would not relinquish. Wells was effective when it counted most, rushing 16 times for only 23 yards of the day, but converted his two carries for touchdowns inside the 5-yard line.

To make matters even worse for Yuba, one of the aforementioned fumbles came on the kickoff, as Dennis once again fumbled, recovered by LMC’s Darnell Rose at the 49ers 26-yard line. The Mustangs cashed in for a 25-yard field goal from kicker Blessing Wainiwheh, giving them a 10-point edge heading into the final frame.

LMC’s first drive in the fourth quarter tacked on the final points of the game, as two big pass plays from Taylor to wide receivers Angelo Moore and Andrew Crawford, for 25 yards and 38 yards and a touchdown respectively, sealed the deal.

Yuba was penalized 13 times during the game for 134 total yards. With the 4 turnovers they committed, they could not get into an offensive flow and left short fields for LMC to capitalize on.

Crawford led the Mustangs receivers with 10 catches for 86 yards and a score. Taylor completed 20 of his 35 passes for 164 yards and the touchdown to Crawford, as well as one interception. He was also their leading rusher, scrambling 8 times for 32 yards.

LMC head coach Chris Shipe was “very satisfied” with the effort from his team but said that there is always room to improve when it came to taking advantage of when the team is on the opponents side of the field.

“You have to make complete offensive plays in the redzone to take better advantage,” said Shipe.

The Mustangs sit at third place in the conference with a 2-1 division record and 3-4 overall record. Their next game is at the College of the Redwoods Saturday, Oct. 31 at 1 p.m.