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McKinson sucks, yanked in first game out west


McKinson sucks, yanked in first game out west

Well, at least the coach thinks McKinson is still good, despite a 5-for-17, two interception performance.

Backup QB rallies Rams

Nihipali tosses two touchdowns off bench in Fresno City's football opener.

By Jeff Davis / The Fresno Bee

(Updated Sunday, September 3, 2006, 2:11 PM)

Stanley Nihipali showed why Fresno City has two quarterbacks.

Travon Jones showed glimpses of why he'll be one of the most feared tailbacks in the state.

And let's not forget the Rams' defense, which showed how second-half adjustments can turn around a football game.

It all added up to a 28-25 Rams victory against Feather River at Ratcliffe Stadium on Saturday ? the 14th consecutive season-opening success for the program.

"I liked the way we were able to respond," Rams coach Tony Caviglia said. "It wasn't that we'd lose it, just a matter of how we'd win it."

Fresno City overcame an 11-point halftime deficit and shut out Feather River's dangerous double-wing option offense the rest of the way.

Feather River of Quincy obviously wasn't ready for the 103-degree heat at kickoff. The Golden Eagles, who dominated the Rams in the first half, wore down and only had 87 yards offense in the second half.

"Yeah, the heat was tough on us," coach Rob Cushman said. "But that wasn't it. Fresno City executed and we didn't. When we had our chances, they made plays."

It was almost like Caviglia waited until the third quarter to put in his ringers.

Nihipali took over for freshman McKinson Souverain late in the third quarter and completed all three of his passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns.

Jones, the Rams' leading returning scorer who is nursing a slight shoulder separation, was unleased in the second half and repeatedly put his team in good field position.

Souverain threw for 140 yards with a 50-yard touchdown to Zeb White, but he completed only 5 of 17 passes and was intercepted twice. Fresno City's other first-half score came on Casmin Thomas' 80-yard kickoff return.

"McKinson was rusty ? only with us for 31/2 weeks ? but he's going to be good," Caviglia said. "Stanley has been with us 11/2 years now and did a great job of coming in and getting us points."

Nihipali, on his first play, threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to White. That was set up by Jones' 18-yard punt return.

On the next possession, Nihipali connected with Keston Cheathem on a 65-yard scoring pass play to put the Rams ahead for good.

Jones, a sophomore who wears a Superman T-shirt under his game jersey, ran five times for 15 yards, returned two punts for 56 yards and caught two passes for 36 yards.

"I told the coaches to take a chance and see what happens," said Jones, whose lone touch in the first half was a swing pass for a 20-yard gain.

Caviglia said, "We have a three-back rotation and wanted to see who separates from the pack. Trevon has a lot of magic. But he missed a week of practice and we wanted to be smart the way we used him."

Speaking of smart, the Rams' defense boned up at intermission then stuffed the Golden Eagles. John Green, Marcus Moore and David recovered fumbles and Green sacked backup quarterback James Lovett on a fourth-down play in the closing minute to finish off the Golden Eagles.

"Give it up to the D-line. They stepped it up and played their butts off," said linebacker John Clark, the anchor of the defense. "They squeezed off the gaps and made the tackles."

Green put it best with his summation of the comeback.

"We all came out and played more physical the second half. We stopped sitting back and waiting, and started to attack."

Foothill 31, West Hills 10: The Owls rolled to a 21-0 first half lead en route to the victory in Los Altos.

Foothill running back Chris Morris ran for two scores.

Gregg Penn had 108 receiving yards, including a 25-yard touchdown reception from Dedrick Wilson in the fourth quarter for the Falcons.

West Hills committed three turnovers, one returned for a touchdown.

College of the Sequoias 57, DeAnza 14: The Giants put the game out of reach in the second quarter, outscoring the Dons 29-7 in Cupertino.

David Robinson ran for a score and 126 rushing yards.

Reedley 46, Antelope Valley 6: Drew Branch completed 16 of 22 passes for 298 yards and five touchdowns for the Tigers in Lancaster.
The reporter can be reached at [email protected] or (559) 441-6401.
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McKinson sucks, yanked in first game out west

Looks like both he and Clayton need to start a new non-INT streak. He threw 2 during the Shula Bowl but Clayton topped that with 3 in the same game.
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