MERCED — Sam Young said Teejay Gordon was tight.
It's tough to argue with the Modesto Junior College head football coach's assessment.
The Pirates sliced through the Merced College defense with minimal resistance on their opening drive, marching 71 yards in five plays.
The yards came a little tougher for MJC after that, with the offense's usual fluidity out of sync. Gordon was a part of that with his passing accuracy off and not able to create anything in the running game.
It was the sophomore quarterback's feet that finally got things going again for the Pirates. Gordon turned a number of broken plays into big gains and everything else fell into place after that. He accounted for 376 yards of total offense and three scores as the Pirates poured it on in the second half for a 46-13 victory over Merced College at Stadium '76 on Saturday night.
"I thought getting some positive plays on those scrambles is when Teejay started being Teejay," Young said. "He came out a little tight. A lot of our guys did. I think his passing was off a little bit to begin the game because of it.
"Once he got his confidence going, things picked up for us."
Despite the convincing scoreline, Young was pleased to get out of Merced with the Pirates' sixth straight win over the Blue Devils.
MC had a 71-yard touchdown catch called back just before the end of the half and had a pair of sure TD passes dropped. Each time the Blue Devils (0-1) missed a chance, MJC was there to take advantage.
Touchdown runs by Anthony Cota and Gordon and a 27-yard TD pass from Gordon to Chris Souza sent MJC into the half up 22-7.
MC had a chance to get back in the game on its opening possession of the second half, but Trunell McMillon had a touchdown pass bounce off his hands in the end zone. The Pirates took full advantage of the miscue, marching 87 yards on 13 plays to deliver a back-breaking blow to the Blue Devils. Cota scored his second touchdown run of the game to make it 29-7.
"Those sequences were huge," MC coach Bob Casey said. "We get a touchdown called back, so we go into the half a little deflated. Then you try to build things back up and you miss a great chance to start the next half.
"Once momentum was on their side, it was tough to slow them down."
The Pirates put the game away with a Adam Maisch 47-yard field goal, a touchdown pass from Gordon to Jake McCreath and a Marcus Hernandez fourth-quarter TD run.
"We just didn't execute like we have in practice," Young said. "You can kind of expect that when a good portion of your big contributors are freshmen making their first collegiate start.
"Merced played us really tough. People will look at the score and think it was easy, but in my mind it was really a one- or two-score game until the end."
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