Football: It's Back

 Ball-carrier Justin King picking up a first down just short of the end-zone on Sept. 2. Photo by Kyle Smith.

Ball-carrier Justin King picking up a first down just short of the end-zone on Sept. 2. Photo by Kyle Smith.

Chaffey football is back and it started with a bang.

The new 2017 season started with a home game against Citrus College on September 2. Citrus took a 14 to 3 lead at halftime. But the Panthers stormed back with a 42-yard touchdown reception by Malik Shepperd and a 2-yard run by Justin King. Chaffey took the game 17-14.

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When asked about winning the first game of the season, head coach Robert Hadaway said “Its always good to win. How we went about winning was not a good feeling.” The Panthers did struggle, the quarterback Jordan Velarde threw 3 interceptions. Hadaway explained that they were not crazy passes but some overthrown balls. He expects Velarde to redeem himself against Bakersfield College on Sept. 9. Their defense also allowed Citrus running back Devin Floyd to get 139 yards rushing. Hadaway mentioned that he wished they could have cut down on the penalty yards. They had 9 penalties that took 92 yards away from the team.

He also felt they could have gotten to the quarterback more. They only got 2 sacks in the game. But there were some positives as the defense held its own against the Citrus pass attack. They only allowed 69 yards through the air.

Freshman wide receiver Malik Shepperd showed his playmaking skills, ending the game with 7 receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown. The running back group for the panthers added 157 yards on the grown and out rushed the Citrus group.

Chaffey will be at home again to face Bakersfield College on September 9th. Coach Robert Hadaway said “ I think [Bakersfield] is going to be a big challenge and we are going to find a lot about ourselves.” He believes his team will improve after week 1. Hadaway believes that the biggest improvement in the season will come after the first game because palyers get a taste of what a game that matters feels like.

Chaffey’s season does not get easier, its a uphill battle from here. Teams like El Camino, Long Beach, Mt. San Antonio, and Riverside all rank in the top 10 on the California Community College Athletic Association ranking. If the Panthers want to go to a bowl game or qualify for the states playoffs, they have to beat these team.

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