by Chris Ruiz, CCCSIA
Mt. San Antonio Captures Fourth State Championship with 27-17 Win Over San Francisco
Quarterback Justin Alo passed for 283 yards and ran in for a pair of touchdowns while a stingy Mt. San Antonio College defense intercepted three passes and totaled five sacks to lead the Mounties to a 27-17 win over the City College of San Francisco Rams in the 2014 California Community College Athletic Association Football State Championship at Hilmer Lodge Stadium in Walnut on Saturday.
Mt. SAC capped its state championship season with an 11-2 overall record to earn its first state title since 2010 and fourth overall (1997, 2009, 2010).
After a slow first quarter that saw each team kick field goals, San Francisco jumped ahead 10-3 after quarterback Jeramiah Peralta capped a seven-play, 55-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run at the 10:43 mark in the second.
But the Mounties responded and jumped ahead for good by scoring the game's next 17 points.
After a big 56-yard reception by sophomore wide receiver Derrick Macon, Alo ran in from six yards out to tie up the game at 10.
On the ensuing drive, CCSF threatened, moving down to the Mt. SAC 23-yard line. But corner back Tyquwan Glass picked off Peralta's pass to halt a potential Rams scoring drive. The Mounties came right back down the field to score, getting a 22-yard field goal from Alberto Reyes-Villareal, his second of the game, to take a 13-10 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the Mounties' defense clamped down. CCSF's lone score in the third quarter was an impressive record-setting 100-yard fumble return for a touchdown. With Mt. SAC driving, Alo fumbled at the Rams' goal line before linebacker Tavita Faaiu ran it back from his own end zone for the TD.
Mt. SAC got a big play of its own on special teams when Aaren Vaughns ran back a punt 84 yards for a touchdown midway through the third quarter. Alo ran in from four yards with 3:24 left in the third to close out the scoring for both teams.
"I just feel like it was destiny for our team," said Alo who was named State Championship's Most Valuable Player. "We weren't even supposed to be in the playoffs or in this game. We had to persevere through all the adversity. We got here and I can say nobody wanted to play us in the playoffs"
Macon also had a big game, catching four passes for 120 yards on his way to earning Offensive Player of the Game honors for the Mounties.
But it was the Mt. SAC defense that really shined in the contest as the Mounties allowed just 277 offensive yards. Anuanu Poleo led the Mounties with a pair of sacks. Sitiveni Tamaivena had a team-high seven tackles while Joseph Bryant had two interceptions to go with two tackles.
"The defense has been playing like this all season," said Mt. SAC head coach Bob Jastrab. "We had the third best defense in the state. When you think about it, the defense really only gave up seven points."
Northern California champion San Francisco closed out its 2014 season with an 11-2 overall record. Peralta threw for 180 yards on 15 of 28 passing and also ran for 49 yards on 15 carries. Defensive back Shalom Luani was named the game's Defensive Player of the Game after leading the Rams with eight tackles.