Fresno no match for sizzling Sierra

Wolverines take major step toward state title game
By: Eric J. Gourley Journal Sports Writer
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ROCKLIN — The Fresno City College football team’s jovial pregame session of impromptu Slip ‘n Slide in the mud outside the Sierra College locker rooms developed into joyless frustration as soon as the Rams set foot in Homer “Buzz” Ostrom Stadium. Linebacker Ronnie Davidson intercepted Fresno quarterback Emmanuel Lewis’ pass on the game’s first play and lumbered 18 yards into the end zone only 15 seconds into Saturday’s action, sparking the Wolverines’ 55-20 Valley Conference rout. Bryson Littlejohn and Chris Briasco blitzed on the opening play, forcing Lewis to rush an off-balance throw that fell into Davidson’s hands, and the rout was on. “It was huge to get that pressure on the first play,” Sierra head coach Jeff Tisdel said. “We’ve had an inordinate ability this year to be really fast starters. We’re focused out of the gate.” Sierra (8-0, 3-0 Valley), which entered the game ranked No. 1 in the NorCal poll and second behind Mt. San Antonio in the state rankings, scored five unanswered touchdowns to open the game and led 35-7 at halftime. While the offense was impressive, racking up 470 total yards and scoring the most points since a 62-15 rout of Sacramento City College on Sept. 13, Sierra’s defense was downright stifling. The Wolverines intercepted Lewis passes on Fresno’s first two drives and forced the visitors to punt on their next four possessions. Lewis completed only two of his first 12 passes for minus-2 yards and the No. 4 Rams (6-2, 2-1 Valley) had little other first-half offense until they recovered a Sierra fumble near midfield and drove 48 yards on five plays for their first touchdown 18 seconds before halftime. “It comes down to preparation, knowing our assignments and just having a passion to get to the ball-carrier,” said Briasco, a Colfax High graduate. “We have to play for a full 60 minutes and we treat every game like it’s a championship game.” Sophomore running back Lamon Muldrow ran 37 times for a season-high 190 yards and three touchdowns. Still nursing a left ankle he tweaked in the third quarter of last week’s win at West Hills, Muldrow split time with freshman C.J. Woodbury. “It’s been bothering me all week,” Muldrow said. “I knew if I got hit the wrong way today then there would have been some problems, and it happened.” Woodbury had 19 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown in a stellar performance. “Both those backs ran extremely hard,” Tisdel said. “They’re really a good tradeoff. Lamon’s just so much of a powerful, physical runner and C.J.’s a step or two faster and can get to the perimeter a little faster. They’re really a nice tradeoff for each other.” Quarterback Alex Rump had no problem with his passing accuracy in steady rain showers. He finished the game 8-for-18 for 188 yards and three touchdowns. Brandon Michalkiewicz caught four passes for 117 yards, including touchdown strikes of 59 and 30 yards. Justin Chastain had four receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown. The Wolverines play at Reedley College Saturday at 2 p.m.