Photo by Marauder Football Nation -


LANCASTER - It took a while, but the Marauder football team finally did it.

Nineteen ninety two to be exact.

That's the last time the Marauders (7-4) won a bowl game - 24-23 against Glendale in the K-Swiss II Classic.

But that 24-year drought ended on Saturday night, when AVC captured a 35-21 victory against Victor Valley College in the High Desert Bowl at Marauder Stadium.

Quarterback Blake Shepherd finished his career with 49 touchdown passes, including two more against the Rams helping propel his team to victory.

In fact, it was so much the Shepherd show - like it had been so many times in his two seasons - he was named MVP for the Bowl game.

After the Rams (6-5) came down the field on the opening drive to score, Shepherd took over and put the Marauders up 14-7 with two touchdown strikes.

The second one was to Donte Ross, who broke Alex Byers one year old record with 1082 receiving yards on the season.  Byers had 1072 yards in 2015.

In both cases, they were receiving passes from Shepherd, who ended his AVC career the only Marauder to pass for more than 4,000 and 5,000 yards in a career as well as 13 other records.

The Rams tied it up by the half, 14-14, and in the third the Marauders broke the close game open, led by - you guessed it - Shepherd but this time - you probably didn't - on the ground.

Shepherd, forced to scramble, found a huge hole and motored 45 yards for the score.  He finished the game 19-of-40 for 205 yards and two touchdown passes. He also rushed for 108 yards on seven carries and scored a touchdown.

After Tre Coleman put AVC up 28-14 at the end of the third with a 12 yard run, the Rams showed they were not done yet, driving right down and scoring quickly to close the gap to 28-21 with 13:37 left in the game.

But the Marauder defensive line was starting to get to Ram's quarterback Sam Taylor, and with seven minutes left in the game, a bad snap had Taylor scrambling for the ball, and just after he regained control, Dakota Palmer jarred the ball loose again allowing Robert Robinson to return the ball 17 yards for the final scoring in the game.

Robertson was named Player of the Game for the Marauders, while Anthony Palomares was named for the Rams.

It was also the first bowl victory for head coach Perry Jehlicka, who was 0-2 heading into the game. Jehlicka reached bowl games in his first two seasons as head coach for the Marauders.
AVC is now 3-13-1 in bowl games (AVC won twice in playoff games in the 70's but these were not considered bowl games as they are today).  It was the first time in seven tries AVC won a bowl game at home.