October 5, 2022

By Nebai Esaias, Staff Writer

The Laney Eagles football team squared off against the Fresno City Rams at Laney College on Friday, Sept. 30. The Eagles held an undefeated 4-0 record on the season coming into Friday’s contest, while Fresno City was 1-3 and looking to turn their season around. The Fresno City Rams won the game with a final score of 14-13. 

Fresno City quarterback Andrew Butler started off the game hot, hitting wide receiver Aaron Blancas for a gain of 24-yards to the Laney 49-yard line. After picking up a crucial fourth-and-3 at Laney’s 4-yard line, running back Ah’Marion Gaines-Smith pounded the ball in for a 1-yard touchdown, putting Fresno City up 7-0 to end their opening drive.

After Laney converted on fourth-and-1 when QB Emonte Scott connected with tight end Damiko Tidmore for a gain of 16 yards, Laney continued moving downfield but was eventually stopped, forcing a field goal attempt. Kicker Jesse Manzo put the 41-yard attempt right down the middle, making the score 7-3 to conclude the first quarter.

On a third-and-12 at Fresno’s 28-yard line, the Fresno City QB Butler was intercepted by Laney defensive back Tasean Young —  taking the ball all the way to the Rams 4-yard line. After three runs accumulated a total of 1-yard, Laney went for it on fourth-and-goal at the 3-yard line. This time it was QB Trevor Anderson who was under center for Laney, as he dropped back and threw an incomplete pass, causing a turnover on downs. 

After trading stalled drives, Laney pushed into Rams territory and reached field goal range once again, leading to another make from the kicker Manzo, this time from 39-yards out. The Rams led the game 7-6 entering halftime.

Following a slow first half that was highlighted by turnovers and poor offensive execution, Laney’s offense woke up in a big way in the second half. On third-and-2 at Laney’s 31-yard line, the QB Scott broke loose and ran for a 69-yard touchdown — giving Laney their first lead of the game at 13-7.  

Later in the fourth quarter, Fresno City sustained a long and grueling drive, moving the chains little by little. One of the biggest plays of the drive occurred on third-and-15 when the Rams QB Butler threw a bullet up the middle to WR Timothy Conerly for 17-yards, setting up Fresno’s offense in Eagles territory. After Rams RB Gaines-Smith converted on a crucial fourth-and-2 at Laney’s 26-yard-line, Butler threw a game-winning 12-yard touchdown to Josiah Ayon with 0:49 left in regulation time. 

The Eagles moved the ball up to their opponent’s 49-yard line after a penalty on Fresno, and with seven seconds left on the clock, Scott launched a hail mary that fell incomplete and concluded the game.

The Laney Eagles fell to 4-1 on the season with the loss. The Eagles now have a bye-week, and will play their next game on Oct. 15 at College of San Mateo.