Mt. San Jacinto wide receiver Taliq Brown (3) had five receptions, including a touchdown, to help the Eagle football team win 23-13 over Antelope Valley in their season opener. Valley News/Courtesy photo

The MSJC football team took the field for the first time since Nov. 23, 2019, last Saturday and came away with a hard-fought victory over Antelope Valley, 23-13.

The first scoring play of the season for the Eagles, who had to delay their season two weeks due to COVID protocols, came on an explosive 81-yard run from quarterback Robert Coleman. His run capped off a 5-play, 98-yard drive, which came after the MSJC defense made a huge play. Demond Young intercepted a pass at the goal line to prevent the Marauders from scoring first. The Eagle extra point attempt failed and after one period of play MSJC led 6-0.

The Eagles pushed the lead to 13-0 with 10:30 to play in the second quarter when David Vandenburg caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Coleman. This time Nick Sabilla’s extra point was good. Antelope Valley (AVC) responded later in the second period when a ten-yard touchdown run by Jackson Marshall cut the lead to 13-7. The Marauders would then tie the game on a three-yard run by Xavier Clay, but MSJC was able to block the extra point attempt to send the game to the half tied at 13 all.

Both defenses were strong in the third quarter and the Eagles caught a break when AVC punter John Henderson’s knee touched the ground while he was attempting to punt out of his own end zone giving MSJC a safety. The score would remain 15-13 in favor of the Eagles heading into the fourth quarter. The defenses on each side continued to bend, but not break, until MSJC finally took advantage of good field position and capitalized with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Coleman to Taliq Brown with just 1:49 to play in the game to ice the victory. A two-point conversion for the Eagles extended the lead to 23-13. Alonta Orange intercepted an AVC pass on their final drive to end the game.

Coleman finished the day rushing for 108 yards on seven attempts, he threw for 141 yards connecting on eight of 12 passes. Devan Freedland, who split time with Coleman at quarterback, ended his day completing 15 of 23 passes for 110 yards. Running back Sherod White ran the ball 18 times for 89 yards. Brown led the receiving corps for the Eagles with five catches for 89 yards, Rashoud Shelton also caught five passes.

On defense, interceptions came from Orange, Young and Kamari Ross. Young and Orange also led the team in tackles with 8 a piece, in all the MSJC defense came up with eight tackles for loss. Darryl Moody added seven tackles and a pair of pass breakups in the win. Article contributions made by the MSJC Athletic Department.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at