Battle Of The Pump: Fresno City College beat Reedley College for the seventh consecutive year, 24-21.


Photo by: Daisy Rodriguez

Nate Jones, running back for the Fresno City College football team, dashes to make the touchdown with Reedley right behind him. Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015.

In a fight to the finish, the Fresno City College Rams defeated the Reedley Tigers 24-21, in the Battle for the Pump rivalry game on Oct. 3 at Reedley High School, with a game winning touchdown by running back Nate Jones.

The Rams were coming off a two game losing streak, even though they have won the last six consecutive meetings with Reedley College. The average margin of victory in the rivalry games was 21 points, so this game was not what anyone was expecting.

The game was at a standstill for the first quarter as both teams were having trouble getting out of the gates. That quickly ended as the Tigers’ quarterback Austin Bray threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Terrell McLaughlin at the start of the second.

The Rams responded as quarterback Christian Rossi, who was 20-31 for 111 yards that night, threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Kallon Carter, late in the second to help the Rams take a 10-7 lead into halftime.

“The defense was playing a zone package that was giving us trouble all night, and on that play, our receivers cut out giving me a big open window to throw it to Kallon to come down with touchdown,” Rossi said.

The Rams had momentum going into the second half but one of the biggest problems throughout the night was the number of miscues they had. Those miscues ranged from penalties, putting themselves in bad positions, turnovers and failing to convert on third-and-15 play. Reedley was able to score a touchdown after recovering an FCC fumble.

Rams’ head coach Tony Caviglia expressed frustration.

“Reedley was showing us some things that we didn’t expect,” Caviglia said. “Playing hard, inspired ball and us making mistakes that killed drives giving Reedley points on the board.”

The Rams struck back as running back Nate Jones broke free for a 61-yard touchdown run, giving the Rams a 17-14 lead early in the third quarter.

“It was all the offensive line, I told them to get me through the line of scrimmage and I’ll do the rest,” Jones said. “Once they opened that hole I took off and never looked back.”

The Rams’ lead wouldn’t last long as Bray and the Tigers moved down the field to score on a 26-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Horton that gave the Tigers a 21-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.

The Tigers would rack up 250 yards of total offense.

The game felt like a boxing match from beginning to end and it seemed like the team that had the opportunity to score last was going to win the game. Down 21-17, the Rams went on offense with five minutes left in the fourth and were able to put together a hard-fought drive.

They constantly moved the ball down field, converting on third downs to the red zone all the way to the Tigers’ 2-yard line.

The Rams would hand it off to their star running back Nate Jones who had a 61-yard touchdown run earlier in the game. Jones was able to make a play by running to the outside of the field and find his way into the end zone to score for the game-winning touchdown.

“It felt so good to do that for our team, the pump has been in Fresno for a while and it’s good to keep it here,” Jones described what it was like to win the game and keep the Pump at FCC. “We needed this win to help us move forward into the season. It was nice to have The Pump, but we got bigger goals to look forward to.”

The Ram would improve to 3-2 while Reedley falls to 3-2.

“This was a good win against Reedley,” Rossi said. “This is considered the Super Bowl between our schools.”

“I’m proud of this team and Reedley,” Caviglia said. “These games are what rivalry games are made of.”