Hartnell VS MPC
Another close call for Hartnell College football
BY GEORGE WATKINS • firstname.lastname@example.org • November 15, 2010
MONTEREY — If ever there was a game, a play and an ending that could summarize the season for the Hartnell College football team, it would probably be Saturday's 27-24 loss to Monterey Peninsula College.
Trailing by three and faced with fourth-and-four at the MPC four-yard-line with less than a minute to play, the Panthers shunned the field goal and went for the win.
But as happened so many times this year, things didn't go as hoped.
Hartnell went with the hot hand of running back Alvin Jelks, who was closing his freshman season in spectacular fashion. He had rushed for 194 yards and two touchdowns, including a 58-yard scoring sprint and an 84-yard kickoff return, both in the second quarter just four minutes apart.
But this time Jelks didn't have a chance. He took the pitch from quarterback Austin Fales, sprinted to the left, but was swarmed on before he could even turn the corner, and dropped for a two-yard loss.
"We had momentum, we were on the road and we thought we could pound it in," Hartnell coach Matt Collins said.
Ironically, Collins faced a near identical situation against the Lobos three years ago. He made the same decision on the same field and got the same result in a 24-21 non-conference defeat.
"We were never able to play consistent football all year," Collins said.
The Panthers finished the year 2-8 overall, but half their losses were by seven points or less.
"We battled through a lot of adversity," Collins said. "Our roster shrunk — our list of sophomores went from 25 to 14 and that can make a world of difference. But the good news is that a lot of our young guys got a lot of experience."
MPC, which had several players from Salinas Valley playing key roles, ended 5-5 overall and 4-1 in conference.
MPC quarterback David Fales and receiver Bret Chernetsky — both prepped at Palma High — along with former North County running back Juan Hernandez, gave Hartnell the most trouble.
Chernetsky caught 13 of Fales' 25 completions, including the touchdown that cut Hartnell's lead to 24-20 at the end of the third quarter.
Hernandez rushed for 96 yards. He scored on a fourth-and-one from the Hartnell 2-yard-line to give the Lobos their 27-24 lead with 4:16 to play.
"I'm proud of the effort we gave," Collins said. "We played hard all the way to the end."
It was announced Sunday that the Living Breath Foundation Bowl, which pits the Coast Conference champion against the Bay Valley champion, will be played Nov. 20 at 1 p.m. at MPC between San Jose City (5-5) and Solano (9-1).