The MSJC football team scored 15 points in the final 4:51 on Saturday to come back and win their American Mountain Conference opener over visiting Victor Valley 35-32 and remain unbeaten on the season.
The Eagles got off to a bit of a slow start as Victor Valley was able to put together a pair of first quarter drives to open up a 13-0 lead with just over two minutes to go in the period. MSJC quickly grabbed the momentum back however, on an electrifying 84 yard kick off return by James Phillips to give the Eagles their first points of the day. MSJC would go on to score 20 straight points to take a halftime lead 0f 20-13. After Phillips touchdown return, MSJC was able to score with 9:02 to go in the second quarter when they capitalized on good field position as Brett Virgil connected with Eric Ellison on a 33 yard TD pass, to cut the Victor Valley lead to 13-12. The Eagles then took the lead into the locker room after a 13 play 75 yard drive that took 5:55 off the clock and was capped off by a 5 yard run from Virgil, and a two point conversion.
The Rams seemed to regain their footing in the second half as they cut the lead to 20-19 with 10:31 to play in the third quarter with an efficient 8 play 70 yard drive. The game remained 20-19 into the fourth quarter before Victor Valley reclaimed the lead with a pair of TD runs by Khadeem Richards, the second coming with just 6:49 to play putting the Rams ahead 32-20. The Eagles then roared back with a quick 7 play 65 yard drive that ended in a Virgil to C.J. Sullivan touchdown pass with 4:51 to play that cut the lead to 32-26, and Victor Carbajal's extra point made it 32-27. On the ensuing kick off, Victor Valley's special teams unit had a bit of a mental lapse and downed the ball at their own one yard line pinning them deep in their own territory. MSJC's defense responded by forcing a three and out and forced the Rams to punt. A short punt by Victor Valley gave the Eagles the ball at the Rams' 33 yard line with 2:37 left to play. Virgil completed two passes to Phillips to to move the ball down to the 15 yard line, but MSJC now faced a 4th and 3 with just 51 seconds left in the game. On the fourth down play Virgil once again found Sullivan and he crossed the goal line with 44 ticks left on the clock. The Eagles added a two point conversion to push the lead to 35-32. The Rams had one more desperation chance to tie or win the game on their final possession, but sacks by Justin Wilson and Travis Shippen secured the win for MSJC.
The Eagles who are now 6-0 on the season and moved to 1-0 in the American Mountain Conference ended the day with 426 yards of total offense. Virgil went 23 of 43 passing for 297 yards, he threw 3 TD passes and was intercepted once. Virgil was also the top rusher on the day for MSJC as he picked up 108 yards on 14 carries. Sullivan finished his day with 6 catches for 103 yards, while Phillips had a game high 10 receptions to go along with his kick off return. Shippen and Wilson had big days for the Eagle defense with 12 and 8 tackles respectively. Shippen also had 2.5 sacks, James Kelly ended his day with an interception and also broke up five passes.
The Eagles will travel to San Bernardino Valley next Saturday night when they take on the 5-1 San Bernardino Valley Wolverines. Game time next Saturday is set for 6 pm.
MSJC's C.J. Sullivan scored two touchdowns and caught a two point conversion all in the final 5 minutes of Saturday's game as the Eagle football team rallied to defeat Victor Valley 35-32 in their American Mountain Conference opener. The 6-0 Eagles will play at San Bernardino Valley next Saturday night. (DeeAnn Bradley/MSJC).