Time was on the Yuba College football team’s side.
The 49ers and Pacific-7 foe College of the Redwoods saw two lead changes in 7 minutes, 59 seconds in Saturday’s game at the Yuba College Sports Complex. Yuba College prevailed with a thrilling 28-25 win over the Corsairs for its first home win of the season.
“It was good for us to overcome,” said Yuba College head coach Mick Pettengill. “It was one of those games that went back and forth. I knew it was going to be a pretty tough game. That is what we needed to do and hopefully a chance to win out the rest of the games.”
There was 7:59 left on the clock when College of the Redwoods took its only lead of the game. Running back Triston Martin capped a seven play, 75-yard drive with a 6-yard run, taking the pitch from quarterback Alex Adams and running into the south end zone to give his team a 25-21 lead. Adams attempted a run on the 2-point conversion, but was stopped a few yards short of the end zone.
Then the 49ers spent the remaining time in moving the football to the north part of the field to score the go-ahead touchdown.
A combination of 49er running back Dwayne Yiggins moving the ball on the ground and three penalties against College of the Redwoods – two pass interferences and a late hit – had Yuba College (1-2 in the Pacific-7 and 2-6) moving the football to its opponents’ 4-yard line.
Then 49ers quarterback Mason Whitfield, on third down and goal to-go at the 4, kept the football after the snap and slid to the left side of his offensive line. That was enough to cross the end zone on the north end zone for the touchdown with only 45.7 seconds left on the clock. Marcus Topete booted the 49ers’ extra-point for the 28-25 score and concluded a 20-play, 64-yard drive.
“Every walk through we have on Fridays, we do a simulation like that,” said Pettengill, who is referring to the 49ers’ offense and time management in the final minutes of a game. “We do two minutes with the quarterbacks. I don’t tell the plays; I let the quarterbacks figure it out on how they want to set up.”
College of the Redwoods (0-4 in Pacific-7 and 1-8) used the remaining time to drive down the length of the field. Adams completed passes of 23 and 16 yards to wide receiver Jamari Sweet, plus a 9-yard pass to Dajon Tatum into Yuba College territory.
Throw in two 49er penalties of offsides and a late hit, and College of the Redwoods found the football moved to the Yuba College 4-yard line. But only 4.5 seconds left in the game.
Then Corsairs kicker Roberto Ortiz trotted onto the field to attempt a 22-yard field goal. As the ball left the tip of Ortiz’s cleat, the ball took a slight turn to the left of the goal post on the south end of the field, missing the uprights.
“We went for the block,” said Pettengill on the Corsairs’ field goal attempt.
That miss led to Yuba College football players, Pettengill and his assistant coaches and former 49er football head coach Ted Hoal, who worked Pettengill and his assistant coaches in this game, into a huge celebration as time expired.
“One thing about having Coach Hoal back, helped us out in the box, is he kept saying ‘hey you got time,’” said Pettengill of Hoal.
Yuba College and College of the Redwoods scored plenty in the third quarter, but the 49ers held a 21-13 lead. There was only 59.7 seconds left in the quarter when Adams completed a 46-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Ke’shawn Russell that made it 21-13.
But at 2:02 in the same quarter, Yuba College built its lead to 21-6 when Whitfield hit tight end Trenton Roosevelt, who has been used as a fullback in the 49ers’ offense this season, on an 18-yard touchdown strike. Topete kicked the extra-point.
Yuba College, which led 7-6 earlier in the quarter, expanded its lead to 14-6 when Yiggins took the pitch from Whitfield, and rocketed 48 yards down the Yuba College sideline for the touchdown. Topete added the extra-point kick.
College of the Redwoods cut down the 49ers’ lead to 7-6 at 10:41 in the third when Ortiz booted a 38-yard field goal.
Both Yuba College and College of the Redwoods attempted 22 and 47 yards respectively in the second quarter. But both were blocked.
All of the scoring for the 49ers and Corsairs took place in the opening quarter that led to Yuba College holding onto a 7-3 halftime lead.
Yuba College linebacker Rodney Melton picked off an Adams pass on the College of the Redwoods’ first offensive possession of the game. That led to running back Glen Cotton scoring on a 17-yard run at 11:54 on the clock. Topete’s kick sailed through the uprights.
Ortiz booted a 43-yard field goal with 28.9 seconds left in the first quarter that made the score 7-3.
Mike Bush is a sports writer for the Lodi News-Sentinel, which is the Appeal-Democrat’s sister newspaper. Follow him on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.