The Northern California Football Association's Coast Conference de-facto championship on November 12 pitted two different natural rivals against each other.
With their schools being less than 15 miles apart, the Monterey Peninsula College Lobos and the Hartnell College Panthers have become intense rivals. To further this rivalry the winner gets to keep the Presidents' Cup Trophy for a year.
As natural as the rivalry between the schools is, this particular game pitted even more natural rivals against each other. This particular rivalry, which could be referred to as the Fales sibling rivalry part II, pitted MPC quarterback David Fales against his younger brother Austen Fales, who is Hartnell's starting quarterback. David Fales came out on top in their meeting in their meeting as the Lobos squeaked by the Panthers 27-24 in 2010.
However, it was Austen Fales that got to raise the Presidents' Trophy this year as Hartnell defeated MPC 36-24 in Salinas. David Fales, who was 17 of 31 for 165 yards and one interception, got the Lobos on the scoreboard first with a two-yard scamper in the first quarter. MPC then scored three times in the second quarter to go up 24-10 before Hartnell cut the lead to eight (24-16) prior to halftime.
The loss drops the Lobos to 4-1 in the Coast Conference and ends their seven-game winning streak. The loss also forces MPC, which is 7-3 on the season and Hartnell, who also ended the season 7-3 overall and 4-1 in the Coast Conference, to split the conference championship. The good news for MPC, which is ranked 12th in the NCFA, is that they will face Yuba College (6-4) in the Silicon Valley Bowl. This marks the Lobos first bowl game since going undefeated (10-0) in 2008.
The Lobos defense has been the difference between winning and losing this season. In all three of their losses to Hartnell, Contra Costa and De Anza College, MPC's defense gave up at least 30 points. In the seven wins, the Lobos defense only surrendered an average of 15 points a game. MPC's victories have come against West Hills, Laney, Solano, West Valley, Cabrillo, Gavilan and San Jose City.
Other team news:
- MPC is located in Monterey, Calif.
- Fales, who has thrown for 2,517 yards and 25 touchdowns, ranks fourth in the NCFA in passing yards per game and fourth in pass efficiency.
- In their 45-16 victory over San Jose City, MPC pulled out a couple of tricks on the offensive side of the ball. Using the Wildcat formation, running back Jovahn Lualemana scored from 13-yards out. Then after falling behind 14-7, MPC pulled out their an end around option. On this play wide receiver Ronald Saxton hit fellow wide receiver Gerran Gordon on a 60-yard bomb to knot the game up.
- WR/KR/PR Davon Taylor has returned three kicks for touchdowns this year. Taylor's punt return touchdowns came against San Jose and Hartnell while his kickoff return was against De Anza.
- MPC is ranked second in the NCFA in third down conversion rate (43.2%)
- The Lobos rank seventh in the NCFA in fewest penalties with 66.Daniel Benjamin has followed small college football for 14 years.
- Northern California Football Association