Fresno City College punt returner Mitch Brumfield was told all week by teammates that he needed to return a punt or kickoff for a touchdown. He had been close several times this season.
He finally delivered Saturday, in the Rams’ regular-season finale.
Brumfield ran back the game’s first punt for a 72-yard touchdown and the NorCal National Division ninth-ranked Rams defeated No. 14 Sequoias 49-17 in a Valley Conference game at Ratcliffe Stadium, giving coach Tony Caviglia his 136th victory to tie Clare Slaughter for the most wins in program history.
“Stretched it right, saw a hole, shot the gap, teammates did a great job blocking,” Brumfield said. “I just kept running. Saw nothing but daylight.”
Rams running back Nate Jones was among those who had been egging on Brumfield to get it done before the season came to an end.
“I grabbed him by his jersey and I was like, ‘Hey, I don’t want to go on offense, yet,’ ” said Jones, who rushed 17 times for 52 yards and a touchdown. “Just take it to the house, and he took it to the house and that gave us a jolt of energy.”
The Rams (6-5, 3-2) raced to a 14-0 lead on Chandler Cocklin’s 54-yard first-quarter interception return.
Fresno City cruised after that, with running back Briquez Alvies rushing for 88 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns.
The Rams earned an invitation to next Saturday’s State Center Bowl, and will learn their opponent when bowl pairings are announced Sunday.
“Really proud of our team,” Caviglia said. “Kept getting better and kept working hard. It’s all about them and how they played. These kids just kept coming, and we beat a rival in COS, which was an emotional game for everybody.
“With the veterans and what’s going on in Paris and the honoring of the late (wrestling and football coach) Bill Musick and to try to tie the record, it’s a lot to put on a football team and they responded well and played pretty darn good today.”
Giants quarterback Brian Chester was 33 of 50 for 433 yards and two touchdowns.
COS started the season with four consecutive wins, but lost its final six.
▪ American Division second-ranked West Hills claimed the Golden Coast Conference championship with a 19-13 victory over No. 1 Hartnell.
The Falcons improved to 9-1 and 6-0 and also are awaiting a bowl opponent. The Panthers fell to 9-1 and 5-1.
▪ Caleb Horton had two touchdown catches, including the go-ahead score in the third quarter, helping American No. 5 Reedley to a 40-28 victory over No. 7 Monterey. Horton finished with 109 receiving yards.
Tigers quarterback Austin Bray was 22 of 36 for 274 yards and two touchdowns. Reedley moved to 6-4 and 4-2 in Golden Coast play. The Lobos fell to 5-5 and 3-3.
Fresno City 49, College of the Sequoias 17
Sequoias (4-6, 0-5)
Fresno City (6-4, 3-2)
F: Mitch Brumfield 72 punt return (Eddie Padilla kick)
F: Caleb Cocklin 54 interception return (Padilla kick)
S: Malik Harrison 25 pass from Brian Chester (James Farrell kick)
F: Isaac Gonzalez 3 run (Padilla kick)
S: Dewayne Dawson 78 pass from Chester (Farrell kick)
F: Briquez Alvies 15 run (Padilla kick)
S: FG Farrell 28
F: Marquese Livers 15 pass from Christian Rossi (Padilla kick)
F: Alvies 11 run (Padilla kick)
F: Nate Jones 3 run (Padilla kick)
RUSHING: Sequoias, Devon Calhoun 9-33, Kelsey Dawson 2-7, Dewayne Dawson 2-4, J. Johnson 1-1, Brian Chester 8-(-12). Fresno City, Briquez Alvies 14-88, Nate Jones 17-52, Horace Odoms 5-13, Christian Rossi 2-10, Bryant Fisher 1-10, Isaac Gonzalez 1-3; Elijah Shufford 2-(-1)..
PASSING: Sequoias, Brian Chester 33-50-3-433. Fresno City, Christian Rossi 14-19-0-184, Anthony Monken 0-2-0-0.
RECEIVING: Sequoias, Devon Calhoun 10-45, Dewayne Dawson 6-204, Jewison Dawkins 5-55, Elijah Porchia 5-44, J. Dangerfield 2-39, Malik Harrison 1-25, S. Augustyn 1-9, Kelsey Dawson 1-7, Lalo Navarez 1-3; Jordan Arnold 1-2. Fresno City, Dwine Walls 4-19, Bryan Hall 3-47, James Whitfield 2-70, Marquese Livers 2-22, Kailon Carter 2-13, Mitch Brumfield 1-13..