RC football season kicks off Sept. 2

Reedley College football hosts Sierra College in season opener; Tigers women’s soccer starts campaign on winning note with 2-0 blanking of Hancock College, travels to tournament on holiday weekend

Reedley College football players are put through stretching drills prior to the Tigers’ intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 12 at the RC practice field. (Danny Jimenez)
Reedley College football players are put through stretching drills prior to the Tigers’ intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 12 at the RC practice field. (Danny Jimenez)
Will Goldbeck
Published August 28, 2023  • 
10:30 am

REEDLEY – There were high hopes for the Reedley College Tigers football team entering the 2022 season. Head Coach Rob Hartenfels’ squad got off to a good start but faded at the end of the season to finish 5-5 overall; and tied for fourth in the six-team league with a 4-6 conference record.

Reedley was ranked 20th in the state by the JC Athletic Bureau before the late-season slump.

There are several question marks for this season’s Tigers, as coaches hoped that two scrimmages would answer those questions before the season opener this Saturday, Sept. 2 at Reedley High’s Sal Gonzalez Field against Sierra College from Rocklin.

The biggest questions are: who will replace Dinuba’s Josh Magana (now battling for playing time at a crowded quarterback room at Texas A&M-Commerce), who will carry the ball for the Black and Orange, and will the defense be as steady as last year?

There are plenty of possibilities for the starting quarterback spot. Leading the list is DJ Stevenson, last year’s backup. Others in the quarterback room include Ty Chambers of Lemoore, Carson Dean of San Joaquin Memorial, Jake Hamilton from Del Oro and redshirt Brandon Keene of Sunnyside.

“They are all competing their butts off,” Hartenfels said after an early practice. “Ty is outstanding, (and) DJ had a lot of playing time early in the season and did things the right way.”

One area of concern is the running back spot. Tristan Ridley and David Osho are the only Tigers with any experience, but the roster features a bunch of talented freshmen. That list includes Andrew Moench of Lemoore, Ty Morgan of Golden West, Angelo Moreno of Madera South and Carson Contae.

John Calderon (Dinuba) returns at tight end after sitting out the 2022 season because of COVID and family reasons. Landon Almeida (Caruthers), whose father played for the Tigers, was raising some eyebrows at tight end.

This will be the second season for offensive coordinator Rich Hammond.

Jesus Lara of Dinuba leads the list of offensive linemen. Ruben Garcia (San Diego) got a lot of playing time in 2022 while Quentin Mastoprieto (Mountain View, San Francisco) got game experience. Several freshmen are expected to be in action. This is the biggest line that the coach can remember at RC.

Jacob Bray (Kingsburg), the younger brother of Tigers’ quarterback coach Austin Bray (and former NFL quarterback Tyler Bray) is a 315-pounder on the offensive line.

Defensively, Ayden Merrihew (Clovis) returns on the front line along with Jayden Munoz (Sanger) and Amarian Hunter (Central). Hunter is one of seven former Grizzlies on the roster.

Langston Latham is a returning starter at linebacker. Freshman Chase Dias (Kingsburg) has impressed the coach and should see plenty of action.

All-conference defensive back Damon Fagan leads the secondary. Aaron Boesch (Exeter) also returns as a defensive back.

Sanger’s Hunter Pittman returns as the Tiger punter while the kicker will probably be Jordan Evangelo (Lemoore) or Latrell Tellis (Arizona).

Reedley High graduates on the preliminary roster include wide receiver Khalil Young, linebacker Roman Marquez and defensive back Joshua Gonzalez.

Quick outburst carries RC women’s soccer

Two goals in two minutes of the second half on Aug. 25 gave Reedley College a 2-0 victory over the Allan Hancock College Bulldogs on the Tiger pitch in Reedley.

“It was a good hard fought team performance,” Tiger head coach Onesta Francis said by text. “Hancock was organized and skillful. They had the upper hand for much of the game. But our team defense was strong.”

Reedley goalkeeper Areal Galvan (Reedley High) was credited with nine saves. Joeline Nuno (Fowler) scored the go-ahead goal in the 77th minute on a diving header.

All-state selection Krysta Casas (sophomore from Dinuba) finished with one goal and one assist. Jenny Martinez was credited with 12 recoveries (six tackles and six interceptions while Stephanie Garcia helped control the midfield winning five headers.

Reedley was scheduled to return to action on Tuesday, Aug. 29, hosting the Modesto Junior College Pirates before heading to Lake Tahoe for two matches over the holiday weekend. Reedley faces Feather River at 6 p.m Saturday, Sept. 2, at Lake Tahoe Community College before playing the host Coyotes on Monday, Sept. 4 at 11 a.m.

Volleyball team drops 2 on Aug. 25

Fresh from two losses in their season opener last week, the RC women’s volleyball team has only three matches remaining before starting Central Valley Conference action in Merced on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

The 0-2 Lady Tigers will host Lassen College at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31 before playing in the Monterey Peninsula College Classic on Friday, Sept. 1 in a 2 p.m. matchup with Contra Costa.

Coach Mariah Roby-Stewart’s squad opened the season on Aug. 25 with a 25-16, 23-25, 25-17, 25-19 loss to Cuesta College before a 25-12, 27-25, 25-22 loss to Glendale College later that day. No Reedley statistics were available.

Will Goldbeck
Mid Valley Times | Contributor