END ZONE NOTES: Raya’s solid foot backs Bears into upset win … Madison rumbles out of ISU’s backfield … Eric Ellison snags touchdown in MSJC’s offensive onslaught against Glendale … Bulldogs open SCIAC play at Pomona-Pitzer.
Morgan State University’s Alex Raya turned Morgan State, finally, into a winner.
Meanwhile, James Madison wasn’t part of Idaho State’s stalwart defensive effort that helped Idaho State knock off No. 22 North Dakota last weekend.
But the onetime Banning High School quarterback, now a running back, rolled up 106 yards rushing in a 25-21 win over the Fighting Hawks in Grand Forks, N.D.
The Bengals rolled up 566 total yards. Besides Madison’s 25-carry, 106-yard total, scoring a touchdown, Ontario Chaffey High product Mikey Dean caught nine passes for 130 yards, Mitch Gueller snagged three for 108 yards.
Quarterback Tanner Gueller completed 16 passes for 293 yards.
Madison had help on the ground. Ty Flanagan racked up 119 yards on nine carries. In three games, Madison has scampered for 286 yards.
It was the Bengals’ Big Sky Conference opener, improving to 2-1 overall. Next week, Idaho State hosts state rival Idaho.
Madison is the older brother of current Banning quarterback Taron Madison, who is weighing his collegiate options for next fall.
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Raya, a senior placekicker at Morgan State, booted three field goals, including a 51-yarder that helped the Bears end fourth-ranked North Carolina AT&T’s 15-game winning streak, 16-13. It was Raya’s 36-yard field as time ran out that cracked a 13-13 tie.
Interim coach Ernest Jones said he told his kicker, “Raya, we’re going to go down to try and score. Tell me where I need to get to and we’ll at least get you there.
“We said we were just going to throw the football until we crossed over midfield, and then we were going to try and get it in field goal range.”
Raya is a Beaumont High product who didn’t have a lot of numbers in Cougar colors.
At Beaumont, Raya booted a 51-yard field goal in a 51-13 loss to powerhouse Menifee Heritage High in 2013. One season later, he connected on 5-of-9 attempts. His main contribution came on kickoffs, driving his boots into the end zone for touchbacks.
His collegiate career started at San Bernardino Valley where he was 9-of-16 on field goal tries, plus 41-of-43 in PATs before getting a shot at Morgan State.
The Bears, 1-3 this season, have won twice in 15 games during Raya’s time on the Baltimore, Md. Campus. Before his 3-for-3 effort against North Carolina AT&T, Raya was 7-for-23 in field goal attempts. Against the Aggies last weekend, he also connected on a 40-yarder.
Morgan State plays in the Football Championship Subdivision (FBS), which determines its championship through a 24-team playoff system unlike the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).
LAST WEEK’S GAMES
Yucca Valley 42, Banning 28 — The Broncos fought back to take a 28-27 lead late in the game, but the Trojans’ passing attack overcame Banning in the final stages. A fumble at the 1-yard line on a kickoff allowed the Trojans to seal the game away. Braden Brimhall dissected the Broncos’ defense for touchdown passes of 12, 40, 21 and 23 yards. YucVal outscored Banning, 15-0, in the final quarter.
“Their coach (J.D. Thompson) texted me,” said Banning coach Qua’sand Lewis, Jr., “and told me it was the best game his team has been in all season.
“It was a great game, back and forth.”
Desert Valley League
Coachella Valley 61, Twentynine Palms 27
Desert Hot Springs 34, Cathedral City 27
Indio 22, Desert Mirage 21
Mountain Pass League
Citrus Hill 49, Riverside Poly 7
Byes — Beaumont, San Jacinto, Tahquitz, West Valley, Hemet.
Mt. San Jacinto 59, Glendale 49 — That Banning High product Eric Ellison caught a 49-yard TD and returned two punts for 65 total yards was only a small part of the story on this game. Quarterback Brett Virgil threw for 341 yards (4 TDs) and ran for another 193 yards (3 TDs) was the headline. There were 70 combined passes in the game, but just one interception (by MSJC’s Franklin Shearer) and just one quarterback sack (by MSJC’s Travis Shippen) in a game that had a combined 1,130 total yards.
Univ. Redlands, bye
THIS WEEK’S GAMES
Beaumont (4-1) at San Jacinto (5-0), 7 p.m. — Not since a 35-23 win over the Tigers in 2012 has the Cougars beaten their Pass-area rivals. That win came in Beaumont’s co-Mountain Pass League championship.
This season, San Jacinto has 11 interceptions, recovered six fumbles while sophomore quarterback Kajiwa Hollawayne is running plenty of run-pass option plays with running back Juan Denny and wide receiver Kalen Hervey supplying most of the energy.
Devin Dillard, battling injuries from Week Zero, will be starting at quarterback for the Cougars, who have gotten most of their top quarterback play from backup Eddie McCulloch (1,017 yards, 11 TDs). Eight different receivers, led by Brennan Jenkyns’ seven, have caught touchdown passes.
Only Pomona High School is ranked higher than Beaumont in Div. 11.
In Division 7 play, Covina Northview is ranked No. 1. Right behind the Vikings is San Jacinto, making this a battle between No. 2-ranked teams.
Banning (1-4, 1-1) at Thermal Desert Mirage (1-1), 7 p.m. — Ridge left last week’s game against Indio early in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. Coming off a 408-yard performance one week earlier, Ridge had racked up 238 yards before leaving. His status this week is unknown.
Said Lewis: “He didn’t play against us last year.” It was the only game Ridge missed in a 9-game season where he rushed for 2,197 yards (17 TDs).
Through five games in 2018, Ridge was on pace to increase that total; he had 1,316 yards.
“Our game won’t change,” said Lewis, “whether he plays or not. He’s a good back, the toughest running back we’ve faced this season. When he didn’t play last year (against Banning), they were a totally different team.”
Mt. San Jacinto (4-0) at Los Angeles Harbor (2-1), 6 p.m. — The Seahawks have been one of the worst JUCO teams over the past few seasons. They’re coming off a 21-7 win over Antelope Valley after posting 251 total yards against the Lopes. MSJC, meanwhile, is on the rise after posting 630 total yards last week against Glendale.
Footnote: Keep Saturday, Oct. 20 open. MSJC will be playing at San Bernardino Valley (6 p.m.), which has been on the rise all season. SBVC has lost just one game this season, a 77-35 final against state power Riverside.
Univ. Redlands (2-1) at Pomona-Pitzer (2-1), 7 p.m. — The Bulldogs’ 20-12 win over George Fox University and the Sagehens’ 40-6 loss to the same school should crack any debates over the outcome of this game.