Hartnell breaks streak against West Hills
Ryan Silapan, For the Californian 2:20 p.m. PDT October 30, 2016
Panthers defeated West Hills 40-32 Saturday night at Rabobank Stadium.
The Hartnell College football team put themselves right in the thick of things in the American Golden Coast Conference.
The Panthers welcomed visiting West Hills of Coalinga, the reigning conference champions, winners of nine-straight conference games dating back to last season and five straight wins overall.
Hartnell put an end to both streaks as the Panthers defeated West Hills 40-32 Saturday night at Rabobank Stadium.
?We knew we had to win tonight if we were going to play for a conference championship,? Hartnell running back Sherrod Hawkes said. ?For my team to come and play today with such brotherhood is just great. We came together today.?
There was plenty of flairs late as Hartnell took a gamble that decided the game.
Panthers quarterback Randy Ivey ? who started the game at wide receiver ? took over behind center after starter Dorion Isaak got knocked out the game late in the second quarter with a concussion, hit Matt Wright for a 32-yard touchdown pass on 4-and-2 giving Hartnell a 40-32 lead with 1:20 left in the game.
Ivey, who gave Hartnell its first score of the game on a 37-yard touchdown pass to Skye Keller on a trick play, came in extra motivated and was looking to make an impact any way he could.
?I had to win it for these guys,? Ivey said looking back at teammates. ?We are trying to win a conference championship, and that?s all we?ve been working for this week is getting this win. We came together as a team and got it done.?
Ivey threw for 86 yards and two touchdowns on 5-of-7 passing including a 49-yard touchdown run.
Izaak threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Donyea Moody and ran for a 16-yard touchdown run before getting knocked out of the game.
Panthers coach Matt Collins praised Ivey for being able to come in and make such an impact after Izaak got knocked out of the game.
?Randy did a hell of a job,? Collins said. ?Great individual effort by him and this team is just resilient. We scrapped it out all year. So proud of these guys.?
Hartnell (6-2, 4-1 GCC) jumped out to a 21-7 lead after the first quarter before West Hills outscored the Panthers 16-0 in the second quarter to take a 23-21 lead going into halftime.
In the first half Falcons quarterback, Vincent Espinoza threw three touchdown passes while completing 7-of-13 passing.
Kimauni Johnson led West Hills in rushing with 101 yards on 11 carries while Brandon Sanchez had four receptions for 32 yards including a pair of receiving touchdowns.
The second half was a struggle for Espinoza and the Falcons passing game as Hartnell made adjustments and held Espinoza to only 5-of-14 passing for 33 yards and no touchdowns.
?We didn?t quite have the same offensive rhythm we?ve had in the past,? West Hills coach Cam Olson said. ?We were missing it a little today. We just needed to take care of the ball better.?
West Hills (5-3, 3-1) committed two second-half turnovers both resulting in Miguel Mendez field goals for Hartnell.
The Panthers seem destined to the game 33-33 with 1:42 left in regulation following a Joseph McDaniel one-yard touchdown run. However, the point after attempt hit off the left post and forced the Falcons to go for an onside kick at which they were unsuccessful.
Hartnell?s win creates a three-way tie atop the AGCC with the Panthers, Falcons, and Monterey Peninsula.