C.J. Cole and Ryan Rivera ran for touchdowns and Jalen Hamler hit Quentin Harrison with a scoring pass as the offense edged the defense 44-42 in Cal Poly’s annual Spring Game held Saturday afternoon at Doerr Family Field.
The offense sprinted to an early lead with Rivera’s three-yard run and Cole’s 70-yard burst up the right sideline before the Mustang defense settled in and turned things around, holding the offense to seven three-and-outs after falling behind 23-3 under the modified scoring system.
Only touchdown of the second half was an 11-yard pass from Hamler to Quentin Harrison. Xavier Moore returned a kickoff 90 yards for a score, but it was called back due to a penalty.
“The spring game was the culmination of what I said going in. One side of the ball dominated each scrimmage we had so far. Today, the offense came out and dominated early and the defense came back. That’s kind of the way it went all spring,” said 11th-year Mustang head coach Tim Walsh.
“The good news about that is we had some success on both sides of the ball, but the bad news is we have things we’ve got to fix,” Walsh added. “I was really pleased with the effort. I thought some guys stepped up and we got better in a lot of positions. That’s what we want to do — build some depth.”
Cole, a graduate of St. Joseph High School in Santa Maria, carried the ball twice for 72 yards and also caught a pass for 38 yards (pictured above) from Hamler.
“CJ Cole made some great plays, but in that first run there were a lot of air on that run,” said Walsh. “Then he made a great catch too, but I think all the slots improved over the spring.”
That group includes Dusty Frampton (pictured at left), the grayshirt from Saint Mary’s High School in Stockton who suffered a season-ending injury in the CIF-Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs. Frampton rushed for 42 yards on his first carry and finished with 67 yards on seven trips Saturday.
Senior J’uan Campbell added 18 yards on four carries
Among those battling to replace record-breaking fullback Joe Protheroe, Rivera (pictured below at left) netted 28 yards on two carries, Conner Edgar added 15 yards on four trips and Duy Trans-Sampson contributed 19 yards on six totes.
Among the top three signal callers, Hamler (pictured below at right) called his number a dozen times and gained 49 yards while also completing four of seven passes for 71 yards and the one score. He engineered the pair of 70-yard drive that culminated with Rivera’s three-yard touchdown run and Harrison’s scoring catch.
Jake Jeffrey was the quarterback when Cole sprinted 70 yards for a score and he completed his only pass attempt, a four-yarder to Moore. Kyle Reid completed his only two pass attempts and gained 16 yards on five rushes.
Jalen Hamler did some really good things at quarterback today and, all spring long, all three of the top quarterbacks have done a lot of good things,” said Walsh. “That position is still to be decided.”
Linebackers Matt Shotwell and Fenton Will, another St. Joseph High School alumnus, led the charge on defense with Shotwell collecting a team-leading six tackles.
“Defensively, I thought Fenton Will was flying around and did a lot of good things,” Walsh said.
The Mustang defense did not force a turnover — the offense fumbled four times but recovered them all — and Nik Navarro, James Williams, D’Angelo McKenzie and Saia Fonongaloa all notched tackles for lost yardage while Myles Cecil earned a sack.
In all, the offense gained 264 yards on 57 rushes, averaging 4.6 yards a carry, and completed eight of 12 passes for 76 yards. Moore and Harrison each caught a pair of passes.
“There are a lot of positives about where we are, but consistency is still something we’ve got to work on,” Walsh summarized.
On offense, one point was awarded for a first down and two points for plays 20 yards and longer in addition to the usual scoring — three points for a field goal, six for a touchdown and one for an extra point.
The defense earned points for holding the offense to no points on a drive (one), for a four-and-out drive (three), a sack (one), a turnover (three) and for an interception return or fumble return for a touchdown (nine points).
–Provided by Cal Poly