Big plays bury California 50-14
Big play after big play did in California in Friday's 50-14 to Fort Cherry.
California (0-2, 0-2), fell behind 21-0 early and the Rangers (2-0, 2-0) coasted on the arm of quarterback Matt Heslin.
On the first play from scrimmage, Heslin hit receiver Alex Babirad on a slant and Babirad outran the Trojan defense for a 7-0 lead. Heslin hooked up with Babirad twice more for scores on his way to five touchdown passes.
Starting at their own 23, the Rangers put together an 8-play drive that ended when Heslin hit freshman Robbie Miller in the back of the endzone on third-and-11 from California's 15-yard line.
After a three and out by the Trojans, it took the Rangers only three plays to go 59 yards, capped off by an 8-yard TD pass from Heslin to Babirad.
“That goes back to a lack of discipline, a lack of focus really,” California head coach Bo Teets said. “That's the best way to put tonight. We came out kind of lackadaisical and lacked focus, especially early on. That lack of focus hurt us; in technique, blown coverages and penalties. We have to try to come back and get better in that regard.”
California was finally able to get on the board on the final play of the quarter. On fourth-and-8 near midfield, Hunter hit Clements for a 12 yard gain and a first down. The next play, the pair ran another option, but this time Hunter kept the ball, picked up a nice block downfield and raced 40 yards untouched into the end zone.
“Hunter played well tonight,” Teets said. “He had his ups and his downs, but he ran hard and threw a couple nice passes that we just weren't able to reel in.”
California was only able to run seven plays in the second quarter, and Heslin threw two more touchdown passes – a 54-yard streak to Babirad and a 21 yarder to Zach Dysert – and the Rangers went into the locker room with a 35-7 lead. Heslin finished the night 7 for 9 for 181 yards.
Donnie Tasser is a freelance writer.
But coming out of the locker room, California caught fire and threatened to make it a game again. A big 56 yard catch and run from Hunter to Clements on third and 8 gave the Trojans the ball at the Fort Cherry 15. Five plays later, Hunter punched it in from a yard out. Hunter went 5 for 11 through the air for 117 yards and three interceptions. His primary receiver was Clements, who reeled in four passes for 84 yards and added 76 yards on the ground on five carries.
The Trojans then forced a three and out, and quickly brought the ball back into Fort Cherry's redzone. But Hunter was stopped at the three on fourth and goal, extinguishing the threat. Hunter finished with 100 yards rushing on the night on 18 carries.
“Coming out of the half, we just wanted to get after them a bit,” Teets said. “I think, early on we gave up big plays, blown coverages, technical stuff that we practiced all week that for whatever reason we forgot on Friday night. We calmed then down a bit and we wanted to come out and show some effort. We did but it was too little too late.”
On the very next play, Kobry's burst through the left side of the line and outraced everyone for a 97 yard touchdown that all but put the game away. Kobrys finished with 214 yards on 12 carries.
“We played hard for 48 minutes,” Teets said. “That's something that I like something that I have been trying to preach since day one, to just come out and play hard for 48 minutes. Really we need to focus on 1-30, because were better later, but we just need to focus on starting stronger.”
NOTES: California's Austin Wingo had two sacks on the night…Logan Ellek intercepted two passes for the Trojans…Hunter averaged 40 yards on three punts…Cal had seven penalties for 45 yards