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Gridley Herald - Gridley, CA
  • 2012 Eagles make history with 47-18 Bowl victory

  • Christian Reyes rushed for a school record 350-plus yards as College of the Siskiyous defeated Chabot of Hayward in the NFCA Central Division Bowl Saturday in Weed.
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  • Before he became the head coach for the winningest football team in College of the Siskiyous history, Charlie Roche was an offensive lineman for the Eagles then served a stint as their offensive coordinator.
    Roche knows what it means to be an Eagle, and after Saturday's historic 47-18 win in the NFCA Central Division Bowl in Weed, he put it this way: "We played tough and physical. That's the kind of team we are. If you're going to play up here (in Siskiyou County), why wouldn't you be... You have to be tough to live up here."
    The victory made this year's Eagles the first COS football team to ever win more than 9 games in a season (they finished 10-1) and only the second to host a postseason Bowl game.
    Tough is the right word to describe the running of sophomore Christian Reyes, who was the no-doubt-about-it offensive MVP of the game. On a wet and cold day, Reyes carried the ball 37 times from scrimmage for 357 yards, a new school single game rushing record.
    Reyes had already broken Patrick Lunney's COS record for most rushing yards in a season with 1,633, which was the third best total in the state this season before Saturday's game.
    At 5-foot-10 and 215 pounds, no four-year schools were interested in Reyes coming out of Rogue River High School in Oregon, Roche said. Now several are, including Boise State.
    Reyes' signature play in Saturday's Bowl win was a 74 yard run on the first play from scrimmage after Chabot made a field to cut the Eagles' lead to 20-16 early in the second half.
    Reyes took a hand off from quarterback Levi Cox, ran up the middle, and was quickly met by a host of defenders who appeared to have him stopped. But Reyes kept churning and the Chabot players fell away empty-handed, except one who was clinging to his left foot. As Reyes' pulled his foot loose, he lost his balance and put a hand to the ground to keep from falling. Then he had miles of open field in front of him before being chased down at the one yard line.
    When asked about the play after the game, Reyes said, "The offensive line did everything; I just tried to stay up."
    It's typical of these Eagles that they credit others for their individual successes.
    All star outside linebacker Myke Tavarres, who only seemed to be in on every tackle – special teams included – was named the game's defensive MVP.
    Asked how he felt after the game, Tavarres said, "Words can't describe it. I'm so proud of my team; it was a total team effort." Then he called to freshman running back Aaron Williams and told the two local newspaper reporters he was talking to how good Williams is.
    Page 2 of 2 - Williams, who scored two touchdowns in the game, said it meant a lot to become the first team in school history to reach 10 wins and also pointed to "overall team effort."
    Sophomore defensive back Jarrius James expressed appreciation for the support the Eagles get from Siskiyou County fans and predicted this season is the start of a dynasty for COS football.
    "Coach Roche has something special happening," James said.
    Freshman quarterback Levi Cox from Cottonwood threw for a touchdown, scored on a quarterback sneak, and made some key plays on a 95 yard drive that gave the Eagles a 33-16 lead late in the third quarter.
    After a punt pinned the Eagles on their own 5 yard line, Cox threw from the end zone and completed a 16 yard pass to a diving Sam Williams. Cox scrambled for a first down and completed another pass to Williams that put the Eagles on the Chabot 37. A penalty moved it to the 18, then Aaron Williams broke outside left and went into the end zone untouched for the score.
    But with just over a minute to play in the quarter, Chabot blocked an Eagle punt out of the back of the end zone for a safety, then got the ball on a free kick and drove deep into COS territory.
    A Chabot touchdown would have made it a one-score game early in the fourth quarter, but sophomore defensive back David Guthrie had other ideas, like an 80-plus yard pick six that upped the lead to 40-18 and took all the wind out of the Gladiators' sails.
    "It feels like mission accomplished," Roche said in his office after the game. "Our first goal was to have a winning season... then win the conference, and we wanted to make history... Now all those days, 68 days, of getting up at 5 a.m. and staying up until midnight feels like it was worth it."
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