MJC clubs Hartnell

Now that's how you get back on the winning track. Yes, facing a weaker team helps, but the Modesto Junior College football team made the most of its opportunities in a 56-21 victory over Hartnell on Saturday.

The Pirates scored after three Hartnell turnovers in their Golden Gate Conference opener. An early lead allowed Modesto to substitute before halftime against a Hartnell team which fell to 0-6. It was the most points MJC had scored in one game this season, and the the first time since beating Gavilan 44-14 on Sept. 8 the Pirates had held a team under 40 points.

Every Modesto unit scored. Linebacker Eddie Abbasi returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown with 1:54 left in the third quarter, putting the Pirates ahead 40-13. Tim Brown, who also intercepted a Hartnell pass, returned a punt for 45 yards to put Modesto up 48-13.

Starting quarterback Chad Draper played just one quarter after suffering what he called a "slightly separated" shoulder. Draper completed all five of his passes for 95 yards. A 29-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Allen was Draper's longest pass.

Back-up Joey Estrada threw for 102 yards on six passes in the second quarter, his long pass a 34-yarder to Marquell Colston which took the Pirates to the 5-yard line as the halftime buzzer sounded. Estrada finished with 141 yards, completing nine of 20 passes.