FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            December 10, 2016

Contact: Fred Baer          CCCAA State Football Statistician               frdbaer@aol.com




 YORBA LINDA (Dec. 10, 2016) -- A pass interception by Taj Jones with 1:15 left sealed a 29-27 victory by host Fullerton College over American River College for the 2016 California Community College Athletic Association Football Championship Saturday afternoon at Yorba Linda High School Stadium. It marked a second state title by Fullerton (12-1) over the same college a half century apart.


The two teams had previously met (only) in the first official state championship game in 1967. Fullerton won that battle with the Beavers, 41-0, at Anaheim Stadium – where the Hornets played their home games in those days.


The downfield theft by the Hornets' defensive back effectively ended Saturday's game in front of near full house of 4,000 spectators. The Sacramento-based Beavers (10-3) had used all of their timeouts in order to get the ball back for a hoped for winning drive over the final 1:42, starting on their own 20-yard line. After two first down passes by American River quarterback Griffin Dahn got the ball to his own 41, a long first down throw was picked off by Jones to end ARC's valiant comeback from an early third quarter 29-13 deficit.


Fullerton had appeared to take control on two third quarter scores: A 25-yard pick-6 interception return by Jeremy Lacey off of ARC back-up QB Chris Guillen and then a 30-yard run by Anthony Wood made it a 16-point margin with 8:10 left in the period. Fullerton quarterback Jordan Hoy, the game MVP, engineered the drives -- completing 20 of 31 passes on the day for 174 yards.


But Dahn returned to the game after being sidelined briefly with an injury to make it close at the end. He completed a 42-yard drive with a 6-yard scoring run and then a 2-point conversion pass to make it 29-21 with 15 seconds left in the third quarter.  The ARC defense stymied the Hornets in the fourth quarter and forced a punt from the two that gave the Beavers possession on the Fullerton 38 with 5:45 left in the game. Dahn struck quickly on second down with a 35-yard scoring pass to Jabarri Johnson to make it 29-27. But Dahn's 2-point pass try for a tie was intercepted. American River kicked off and used its defense and two remaining timeouts to get the ball back for the final failed effort.


TOP PLAYERS: In addition to game MVP Hoy, Dahn was the offensive player of the game. He completed 26 of 49 passes for 323 yards and two TDs. Fullerton defensive lineman Tyler Stepney won the Bob Stangel defensive player of the game award with six tackles, including a sack -- and had a pair of QB hurries.


FIRST HALF: American River scored first, taking a 6-0 lead on a pair of first half field goals of 41 and 35 yards by Max O'Rourke. But the Hornets came back to take a 7-6 lead after Jordan Hoy's 30-yard TD pass to Jerome Gross. Fullerton extended the margin to 14-6 on Phillip Butler's 11-yard TD run with 4:22 left in the half. But The Beavers struck back less than a minute later as Dahn hooked up with Arthur Jackson on a 62-yard TD pass which made it 14-13 at the break.


American River won the yardage battle, netting 378 to 335 for the Hornets. But Fullerton intercepted five passes to thwart the Beavers.

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