We headed up to Madera High School on Sunday, February 22nd to participate in the 2015 SJVFL Carnival. We had an 11am game against the Modesto Raiders, and our second game of the day was vs the Sanger Renegades. We arrived early to get ready, warm up, and check out some of this season’s competition. It looks as though the SJVFL has taken a step in the right direction. We have a pair of new teams from Stockton and Modesto. The usual teams in the league reconfigured and rebranded themselves which has resulted in the Valley Vikings, Cen Cal Stars, and Bakersfield Broncos. The upper echelon teams in the league are also back, including the Clovis Titans and the defending champion Southeast Dragons from Fresno.

Our first work of the day came against the Modesto Raiders. It seemed like quite a few of our plays were right on the cusp of going all the way. After a slow start we began to execute, and with time running out QB Tyler Jones threw a TD strike to WR Tyrone Leekins. Leekins had himself a nice day with several catches and a pair of TD catches. We played well below our standards offensively, and there were quite a few blown assignments, but overall our Defense had a solid Game 1. We held Modesto scoreless, and forced them into several negative plays.

Game 2 was a totally different animal. We played the Sanger Renegades, and our team looked out of sorts. Although everyone has to deal with the same issues, I think the layoff coupled with the rain took away from our focus. We had several missed assignments on defense, and our offense sputtered at the beginning of Session 2. Sanger scored 2 TD’s, and they were ready to play. We were still able to hang our hat on a pair of Turnovers and quite a few negative plays.

By the end of the Session we were beginning to click offensively as well. With less than 5 minutes to go and a running clock we reeled off a pair of scores. Our final drive landed us on the Sanger 3 yard line. We were unable to score in the final 20 seconds, and the referees declined our request for a Timeout. The game ended in a tie.

Overall, the Carnival was an eye opening experience. We have lots of potential, and we have a lot work to do. This year should be a project, but we’re willing to accept the challenge. All we have left is a pair of practices. On Saturday, March 14th it’s GO TIME! Bakersfield Broncos, we’ll see you very soon! #SwoopGroup

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