Laney (2-3) held a 3-0 halftime lead, and even after a pair of Orender touchdown passes in the first five-plus minutes of the third quarter, had a chance to get back in the game, twice driving inside the Fresno 5 yard-line. But the Eagles came away empty each time, with Dasheon Frierson intercepting a pass in the end zone on the first drive and the Eagles missing a field goal on the second drive.
Then Fresno pulled away, putting together a pair of long touchdown drives, sandwiched around a three-and-out by Laney. An 11-yard touchdown run by Robert Johnson made it 20-3 with 8:22 left in the third quarter, and Orender's 21-yard scoring pass to Ronald Thompson that capped a 98-yard drive with 3:08 left made it 27-3 and closed out the scoring.
In the first half, it looked like Laney might be ready to pull the upset. The only scoring of the first half came when Thomas Schenk kicked a 27-yard field goal midway through the first quarter to cap a 15-play, 80-yard drive. Fresno twice drove deep into Laney territory, but each time came away with no points after missed field goals.
But whatever Fresno coach Tony Caviglia said to his troops at halftime must have worked, as the Rams came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter. Fresno took the second half kickoff and Orender directed a quick, 4-play, 60-play drive, throwing a 26-yard touchdown pass to Thompson just 1:36 into the third quarter.
The Fresno defense forced a three-and-out by Laney, and as soon as Orender and company took the field, the result was a strikingly similar 4-play, 60-yard drive that ended with another Orender touchdown pass. This time the 6-5 sophomore threw a 43-yard scoring strike to Trent Hicks, making it 13-3 just 5:03 into the third quarter.
At that point, the Laney defense desperately needed a break, and the Laney offense provided it with a long, 16-play drive that reached the Fresno 1 yard-line, chewing up more than seven minutes off the clock. However, on 3rd and goal from the 2, Aabed Nekrawesh was under pressure and lofted a short pass towards the goal line, and Frierson made the interception for Fresno, keeping the score 13-3.
The rested Laney defense forced a Fresno punt, and the Eagles again drove deep into Fresno territory. Most of the yardage came on an amazing catch by Laney's Eric Johnson, who made a 45-yard catch after being bumped to the ground, locating the ball in mid-air while on the ground and getting up in time to make the catch. The Eagles reached the Fresno 3 yard-line, but again came away empty when Thomas Schenk's 20-yard field goal sailed wide with 11:45 left.
Then came the first of the two drives that put the game away. Fresno drove 80 yards on 8 plays with Robert Johnson's 11-yard touchdown run finishing the job with 8:22 left. Then the Ram defense forced a Laney punt; Schenk's 53-yard punt was downed at the Fresno 2. But the Ram offense went on a 9-play, 98-yard drive with Orender's 21-yard toss to Thompson with 3:08 making it 27-3 and sealing the win.
Orender finished 21 of 36 passing for 359 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Leroy Travis led Fresno receivers with 5 catches for 101 yards; Thompson had 4 catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns, and Hicks had 3 catches for 77 yards and a score. Robert Johnson led all rushers with 80 yards on 13 carries, and had Fresno's other touchdown.
For Laney, Nekrawesh was 22 for 40 passing for 268 yards and two interceptions. Aaron George had a game-high 9 catches, good for 85 yards, and Eric Johnson had 4 catches for 73 yards including the amazing 45-yard grab. John Hughes had 18 yards on 7 carries, but the Laney rushing attack managed just 51 yards on 26 attempts. Linebacker Omar Omilabu had a pair of quarterback sacks.
Fresno Rams 27
Laney Eagles 3
Friday, October 7, 2011 - 7 pm - Laney College, Oakland
L - FG Schenk 27 yds 3:12 (0-3)
F - Thompson 26 yd pass from Orender (Samson kick) 13:24 (7-3)
F - Hicks 43 yd pass from Orender (kick wide left) 9:57 (13-3)
F - Johnson 11 yd run (Samson kick) 8:22 (20-3)
F - Thompson 21 yd pass from Orender (Samson kick) 3:08 (27-3)
First Downs: Laney 15 (3 rush, 12 pass), Fresno 23 (8 rush, 14 pass, 1 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Laney 26-51, Fresno 29-163
Passing Yds: Laney 293, Fresno 359
Comp-Att-Int: Laney 26-47-3, Fresno 21-37-0
Return Yds: Laney 77, Fresno 56
Sacks-Yds: Laney 2-17, Fresno 1-5
Fumbles-Lost: Laney 0-0, Fresno 0-0
Penalties-Yds: Laney 11-90, Fresno 9-75
Time of Possession: Laney 33:35, Fresno 26:25
Rushing: L 27-Hughes 7-18, 8-Swaby 11-17, 43-Waters 3-14, 11-Beverly 3-3, 6-Nekrawesh 2-(-1); F 19-R.Johnson 13-80, 24-Minkin 9-71, 18-Hicks 1-16, 4-K.Williams 1-11, 9-Salas 1-(-2), 7-Orender 3-(-12), team 1-(-1)
Passing: L 6-Nekrawesh 22-40-2-268; 16-Robinson 4-7-1-25; F 7-Orender 21-36-0-359, 3 TDs; 9-Salas 0-1-0-0
Receiving: L 41-George 9-85, 80-E.Johnson 4-73, 15-Buford 2-33, 12-Russell 2-28, 27-Hughes 2-22, 85-M.Gordon 2-19, 19-Cummings 1-14, 83-Peters 1-7, 20-Davis 1-4, 43-Waters 1-4, 86-Blanson 1-4; F 8-Travis 5-101, 5-Thompson 4-72, 18-Hicks 3-77, 24-Minkin 3-32, 19-R.Johnson 2-38, 3-Ellis 2-24, 23-Castle 1-13, 75-Wilson 1-2
Interceptions-Ret Yds: L none; F 2-Frierson 1-15, 11-Lakatani 1-15, 22-Singleton 1-0
Fum Rec-Ret Yds: none
Sacks-Yds: L 32-Omilabu 2-17; F 52-Childs 1-5
Punters: L 22-Schenk 6-40.0 avg; F 48-Weldon 3-42.0 avg
Kick Returns: L 43-Waters 4-69, 19-Cummings 1-10; F 18-Hicks 1-19, 3-Ellis 1-1
Punt Returns: L 18-Flannigan 1-(-2); F 2-Frierson 1-6
Missed FG: L 22-Schenk 20 yds (wide left); F 93-Buchnoff 34 yds (wide right), 30 yds (wide right)
Notes: Fresno entered 4-0, #3 in North and #13 in the nation; Laney entered 2-2, #19 in North. Closer than it looks - Laney drove inside the Fresno 5 twice when it was 13-3 but came away empty each time (int. by Frierson, missed FG). Then Fresno answered with two long drives to put the game away. Wilson is the starting LG and his catch was flagged but Fresno declined the penalty so it stood.