After Falling to 2-3, Is the Giant’s Season Slipping Away?

Story by Joe Kersten, Box Score by Spencer Beair


Jessica Botello

Head Coach Travis Burkett leads his team onto the field

Early in the season the Giant’s dropped two games out of the gate but roared back with back-to-back commanding victories evening out at 2-2. After starting 0-2, 2-2 felt euphoric, and the promise of a championship run was once again in the air. After today’s 28-27 loss to Fresno City the Giants at 2-3, are now well behind Fresno City standing atop the Central Valley Conference at 5-1, and second place Reedley City at 4-2. Factor in that the Giants are now mathematically at the halfway point in their season and this weekend’s loss doesn’t just feel glum, it borders on soul-crushing.
Make no mistake Head Coach Travis Burkett knows what the deal is moving forward,
“You’re in a situation in our level of football where I mean, every game is a bowl game. You know what I mean, and this happened to be a rivalry to start our conference (play) you know so that’s a bowl game mentality the entire time.” And Burkett is right, the Giants winning outputs them at 7-3, meaning they need Fresno to finish 6-4 to avoid a tie-breaker scenario, and assuming Reedley City keeps up their play they will very likely have to beat Reedley City when they face them in their home game finally on November 6th if they want to play postseason football. So, if your intuition was to think that Coach Burkett may have been exaggerating before, factor in all that and you’ll forgive him for describing every game from here on out as a bowl game.
What makes this 2-3 record all the more painful is the Shakespearian way that two of the Giants three losses came in close games where the Giants in some ways self-sabotaged. Week one’s loss to Butte came after the Giants were up 21-17 with 1:33 left in the game on an 89-yard kickoff return by DJ Jackson of Butte. This weekend’s 28-27 loss to Fresno City came despite the Giants widely limiting the impact of star Fresno City quarterback Justin Holaday even forcing him to throw two interceptions. The Giants passed on a 14-yard field goal opportunity electing to instead to go for it on fourth down. Fresno City would take that opportunity to drive the ball 86 yards down the field for what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown, and yet the Giants ultimately lost after failing to convert an extra point opting to go for the win rather than the tie by going for two instead of kicking the field goal to tie the game with ten seconds left.
Don’t think though that the refusal to settle for field goals shows a lack of confidence in their special teams though, rather Coach Burkett is looking to instill an attitude, “That’s just the mentality, yeah we’ll do it again, I mean we’ll do it again.” Coach Burkett is right, with the Giants looking at playing four of their last five games on the road they’re running out of chances, if there was ever a time to go for broke and leave what you have on the field this is it. To borrow from a line from Bob Dylan, it’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.

Box Score from COS vs Fresno City College
Here are all of the impact plays during the game, starting with all of the scoring plays for both teams.
Scoring Plays:
1Q – 07:40 – Fresno City, Justin Holaday makes a 12 yard run for a touchdown, and the kick is good. The drive included 13 plays and went for a distance of 73 yards, the score went to 7-0.

2Q – 09:12 – Giants, Kelsey Demps makes a 10-yard run to complete a touchdown on a drive of 11 plays for a distance of 80 yards, and the kick is good. The score goes tied at 7-7.

2Q – 01:12 – Fresno City, Justin Holaday on a 2-yard plunge after 15 plays on 71 yards, and the extra point are good. Score changes to 14-7, with Fresno in the lead.

2Q – 00:07 – Giants, John Littlejohn caught a 26-yard pass sent by Nathan Lamb, the drive lasted 7 plays and went a total of 70 yards. The extra kick was good and the score was once again tied at 14-14

3Q – 09:45 – Fresno City, Justin Holaday scores a touchdown on a 35-yard run in a drive of 6 plays for 57 yards. The score goes in Fresno’s favor, at 21-14.

4Q – 12:13 – Giants, Nate Lamb does it himself with a 1-yard plunge to tie the game up at 21-21. The drive lasted 4 plays for a total yardage of 53.

4Q – 01:15 – Fresno City, Justin Holaday connects with Aaron Blancas for a 50-yard pass for a touchdown that put Fresno City up 28-21. The total yardage in the drive was 86 yards on 8 plays.

4Q – 00:10 – Giants, the final touchdown of the game was a pass thrown from Nathan Lamb to receiver John Littlejohn. This brought the score to 28-27, which forced head coach Burkett to decide whether to kick the extra point or to trust in his offense to convert for two points.

The final play of the game was a failed two-point conversion from Nathan Lamb, which lost COS the game and put them 0-1 in their conference.

COS Quarterback Nathan Lamb threw more passes than his counterpart on Fresno City, Justin Holaday. Lamb completed 25 out of his 43 passes, while Holaday completed 16 of his 24.

Holaday was also the leader in rushing yards for the Rams, with a total of 50 yards on 11 carries. While on the Giants side, Kelsey Demps ran for 40 yards on 8 carries.

For receiving on the Giants, Coleman Jones had a fantastic game and led the team with 8 receptions for a total of 117 yards, and averaged 14.6 yards per carrying. Fresno City’s leader in receptions was Aaron Blancas, with only 4 receptions totaling 72 yards, reflective of Holaday’s ability to be a running quarterback.

As a special note to end off, COS Defensive Back Micheal Wessel caught both interceptions that Justin Holaday relinquished, although it was for only 4 yards total.