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A Homecoming Game With Special Meaning for Jones


SACRAMENTO — It was homecoming at Cal State Sacramento on Saturday night and nobody knew it better than Cal State Northridge defensive tackle Shawnbay Jones.

The junior transfer from Sacramento City College grew up in North Highlands, on the northern part of town, and was an All-Metro League linebacker at Center High his senior season in 1995.

His parents and two younger brothers watched as Jones made nine tackles in Northridge's 35-21 loss.

"They're excited for me to be home and to see me play at this level," Jones said. "Every time I looked at the schedule it was, 'Sac State, here I come.' "

Jones, 6 feet 3 and 265 pounds, said Northridge Coach Ron Ponciano dangled a motivational carrot in his face during recruiting.

"He would tell me, 'You can come back and beat Sacramento State,' " Jones said.

Maybe next year.


Speaking of motivation, injured nose guard Sean Beard addressed his Northridge teammates before the game.

"He's the spiritual leader of the guys," Ponciano said. "He needs to be in that locker room to spark the guys. He has the ability to say the right thing at the right time."

Beard is sidelined with a broken right fibula sustained two weeks ago against Southern Utah. He spoke to the players before Northridge's 21-7 victory over Montana last week.

"I like to listen to him," said Jaumal Bradley, a junior running back who played with Beard the last two seasons at Mt. San Antonio College. "He motivates me a lot. He's real animated and lively and you get energy from him."


Bradley made his first start, sharing the backfield with Melvin Blue on a two-back formation in Northridge's first play from scrimmage.

He stayed on the field as the primary running back most of the game and rushed for 64 yards in nine carries.

Northridge coaches were impressed with Bradley's running the last few games, particularly his determination and his ability to swing outside. The Matadors also use him on passing routes because of his speed.

Blue, a senior transfer from Utah State, is more of a straight-ahead runner. He went into the game averaging 3.0 yards a carry, Bradley 2.1 yards.

Bradley said there's no rivalry.

"I'm Blue's No 1 fan," Bradley said. "We're good friends. I push him and he pushes me. It's not a matter of replacing him, it's just us adding another dimension."


The Matadors launched an all-out search Saturday afternoon for quarterback Marcus Brady's No. 8 uniform jersey, which wasn't packed in his travel bag.

Coaches told Brady he would have to wear Mitch Ryerson's No. 13, an alternative Brady didn't like because he's superstitious.

Brady didn't have to sweat it, though. The jersey was found in another player's bag, where it had been placed by mistake.


Julio Alcala's mother, Consuelo, died of leukemia Friday in San Diego at the age of 45.

The junior center missed practice all week to be with her.

"It's been very hard on Julio," said Aron Gideon, Northridge's line coach.

Beau Cherry, who started at center but was injured in the opening game, replaced Alcala.

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