Hartnell drops critical game to rival
Ryan Silapan, For the Californian 11:21 a.m. PST November 7, 2016
MPC and Hartnell came into the game tied with West Hills in a three-way tie atop the conference heading into Saturday?s game. West Hills defeated Reedley 34-7 to remain tied atop the conference with MPC.
After Hartnell took a 6-3 midway through the first quarter on a Sherrod Hawkes one-yard touchdown run, MPC would outscore Hartnell 27-6 the rest of the way.
MPC (8-1, 4-1 AGCC) answered on its ensuing drive with a touchdown on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Steele to Deryan Sanders.
Sanders added a second touchdown reception of 19 yards in the third quarter.
?Kody is the best quarterback I?ve ever played with,? Sanders said. ?He?s always putting the throws in a position for us to make plays.?
As the Lobos were making plays through the air the Panthers were having just as much trouble. Hartnell quarterbacks Dorin Isaak and Randy Ivey combined to throw for 107 yards on 14-of-32 passing.
On the ground, the Panthers had some success with Hawkes rushing for 166 yards on 25 carries including a touchdown but against MPC?s prolific offense they needed the aerial attack to be more successful.
?They have an explosive offense and they did a great job,? Hartnell coach Matt Collins said. ?They were well prepared and we gave up a couple of big plays early that put us in a deficit and we never recovered from it.?
Hartnell (6-3, 4-2) was coming into the game brimming with confidence after previously defeating West Hills 40-32 last week.
MPC led Hartnell 20-9 going into halftime.Michael Armstead had a game-high 122 yards receiving on five catches including a touchdown and Jacob Collins rushed for 89 yards on 17 carries in the win for MPC.
When MPC?s offense is clicking it inspires the defense and vice-versa.
?Our defense feeds off that,? Steele said. ?They are a great group of guys with a lot of leadership and when we do well they do well, we feed off of each other. That?s why we?re such a great team.?
The Lobos will look to clinch no worse than a share of the conference title next Saturday, Nov. 12 when the visit Reedley at 6 p.m.
Even with Reedley?s (1-8, 1-4) record, MPC will not look past them.