MODESTO – The unbeaten Modesto Junior College Pirates received more good news Monday.
Quarterback Danny Velasquez’s knee injury, incurred during the first quarter of Saturday’s impressive 38-7 victory at American River, does not appear to be serious.
Velasquez, injured during a carry, was held out of practice Monday but is expected to split the reps Tuesday with Brett Neves.
“His knee is sore. We’ll be taking it day to day,” coach Rusty Stivers said Monday night. “If it was more serious, we probably wouldn’t see him until Thursday or Friday, so that’s a pretty good sign.”
Velasquez, the Turlock High graduate who served as MJC quarterback in 2017 and then bounced back from Portland State, opened the American River game with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Ologundudu. The Pirates drove deep into ARC territory on their second drive when Velasquez was injured.
MJC fans already have learned that the Pirates have more than one good quarterback. Neves entered the game and extended the Pirates' lead to 38-7 before the Beavers closed the margin in the fourth quarter.
“Everyone has a lot of confidence in Brett Neves, too,” Stivers said. “No one was saying, ‘We’re in trouble now’ after Danny got hurt.”
Neves, who’s contributed in a big way to all four MJC victories, completed 17 of 21 passes for 177 yards at American River. Lucas Curtis rushed for two touchdowns and Michael Ramos carried 25 times for 120 yards and a touchdown as the Pirates won for the first time at ARC in many years.
“That was our most complete game so far,” Stivers said earlier in the day at the weekly Modesto Quarterback Club luncheon. “I think everyone on both sides was surprised (by MJC’s dominance).”
The MJC victory resulted in the Pirates’ move to seventh, up three spots, in JC Gridiron’s “Dirty 30” national rankings. Trouble is, the Pirates travel to College of San Mateo’s hilltop campus Saturday afternoon to face the Bulldogs (4-0), who are ranked third.
Modesto and San Mateo are Northern California’s only 4-0 teams at the Division I level. To further set the stage for Saturday, San Mateo is No. 2 and MJC No. 3, both behind Riverside, in the JC Athletic Bureau coaches state poll released Tuesday.
The MJC defense was led by Dominic Silva, who logged eight tackles, two for losses, against American River.
QB CLUB NOTES – Edison’s heavily recruited running back Raleek Brown exceeded his advance billing as the Vikings handed Enochs its first loss 48-10. “He’s definitely the fastest running back we’ve encountered,”said Enochs coach James Stacy, whose Eagles were special guests at the QB club. Brown also caught Enochs attention by scoring with 27 seconds left in a long-before decided game. “Coaches have their own philosophies,” Stacy said. Enochs (3-1) opens Central California Athletic League action Friday night at Pitman. … Central Catholic, after starting 0-4, is 2-0 in the Valley Oak League after its 49-36 victory over Sierra. The Raiders built a cushion to offset their 20-point allowance in the fourth quarter. “We’re still working hard to get healthy,” assistant coach and athletic director Billy Hylla said. “I think we’re in a good place right now.” Next up for the Raiders is a trip to East Union. …
Downey (3-2), off last week, will welcome Turlock in what should be a fascinating CCAL opener. “It should be a big-time game,” Downey coach Jeremy Plaa said. “This is the peak of our season. We’re getting healthy at the right time.” … Modesto coach Dylan Miller called the Panthers’ 30-14 loss to Stagg “a Murphys law game.” The Panthers (1-4) open their CCAL season as the home team against Gregori at Don Lanphear Stadium. … The Beyer defense forced five turnovers and also scored two special-teams touchdowns during its 43-0 homecoming win over Ceres. Jalen Munoz tipped a field-goal attempt that sophomore Ryan Williams scooped and stepped 99 yards for the exclamation-point touchdown. The Patriots (3-2, 2-0) continue the WAC season at Lathrop. …Johansen coach Scott Sacuskie believes Mountain House, at the foot of the Altamont, is “the coldest and windiest place in the WAC” after the Vikings’ 28-21 win. “We let a team hang with us that shouldn’t have hung with us,” Sacuskie said. Jesse Arriola (15 carries, 199 yards, TD) anchored Johansen’s 337-yard rushing night. Johansen (4-1, 2-0) welcomes Ceres for homecoming Friday night. …
Big Valley Christian (2-3), after three losses by a combined 20 points, felt better after its 47-9 victory at Delta of Clarksburg. Andrew Contreras accounted for four touchdowns and Josh Petero rushed for 115 yards and two TDs for the Lions, who were helped by the addition of several transfers. The Lions open the defense of their Central California Athletic Alliance title at Stone Ridge Christian of Merced. … Grace Davis’ first loss, 24-17 to Los Banos, stung. The Spartans couldn’t hold onto a 17-7 second-quarter lead. Late in the game, their bid for the tie or the win was stopped 12 yards short of the goal line. “We could’ve gone up up 14-0,” coach Tim Garcia said. “We couldn’t get the momentum back.”’ Davis (4-1, 1-1) travels to Pacheco in WAC action Friday night. …Gregori (3-2) used last week’s bye to recover from bumps, bruises and a few illnesses. The Jaguars look forward to their annual “cat fight” against Modesto.