Sierra College football fans get a chance to 'Meet the Wolverines'

By: Joshua Gutierrez / Special to Gold Country News Service
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ROCKLIN — The Ben Noonan era officially got under way Saturday at Homer “Buzz” Ostrom Stadium, as the new head coach and the Sierra College football team hosted a “Meet the Wolverines” event.

The event included the first full-padded scrimmage between the offensive and defensive units and concluded with an on field meet-and-greet among players, coaches and fans.

Noonan inherits a well-established football program, which under the tenure of Jeff Tisdel, who retired in November, has won six conference championships and played in 10 bowl games since 2001.

Coming over from Citrus College, where he was the offensive coordinator for the last four years, Noonan brings with him a highly regarded system to Sierra College.

As the scrimmage got under way, it was the quarterback competition that took full notice, as four different quarterbacks took snaps under center in a little more than 60 offensive plays.

With the majority of snaps coming from the shotgun position, with varying formations of multiple receiver sets, the Wolverines' offense impressed early.

“I was pleased with how the quarterbacks operated as a group,” Noonan said after the event. “First time in this offensive system, which they never ran before, I thought they did a good job operating the offense and moving the chains, especially early on.”

The sole sophomore in the competition, Daniel Harding led the first-team offense in the opening drive. Harding went 5-for-5 in the opening series, which included a 22-yard completion to Ernesto Torres. Calvin Burns finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run.

Freshman Kyle Robbins out of Robert McQueen High School in Nevada, was the signal-caller for the Wolverines in the following two series. Robbins combined to go 7-for-10 for 72 yards and completed a behind-the-shoulder pass to fellow Nevada native Devin Gray to give the offensive team two scores in the opening three drives.

Freshman Anthony James Silva, another potential Wolverine out of a Nevada football program, opened his three series with five-consecutive completions, each to a different receiver. But the defensive unit, which had given up a total of 13 first downs since the scrimmage began, clamped down.

Silva finished his remaining snaps under heavy pressure and finished by going 2-for-7 with an interception thrown to freshman Darian Thomas, a defensive back out of Miami.

Javon Tillman, a freshman out of San Leandro High School, finished the scrimmage by leading a touchdown-scoring drive after his two previous series ended in turnovers. David Malvitz scored a on 2-yard touchdown run up the gut.

Under defensive coordinator Ed Eaton, the defensive unit seemed to liven up after an intermission from the scrimmage between the fourth and fifth series

After allowing scoring drives in two of the first four series to start the day, Eaton's unit held the Wolverines' offense to one scoring drive and forced three turnovers.

Led by Valley Christian product out of Roseville, Serge Lazaresku disrupted the interior line as the defensive unit consistently moved the quarterback out of the pocket or batted down passes at the line.

With the Wolverines set to open the season on Sept. 7 at Sacramento City College, Noonan said there’s still work to be done on both sides of the ball.

“We have a long way to go, but for the first time under live action, I thought we did good,” Noonan said. “We have to tackle better and take care of the football better. We had a couple of turnovers and some silly mistakes. For a first day, it wasn't bad but we got a lot of cleaning up to do.”

Sierra College will host its first home game on Sept. 14 against Feather River College.