Fullerton, American River, College of San Mateo and Riverside all advance in CCCAA Football Playoffs

Fullerton, American River, College of San Mateo and Riverside all advance in CCCAA Football Playoffs

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FULLERTON, Calif. - In the SCFA Semifinal game, the #1 Fullerton College Football Hornets will advance to the finals after ending #4 Saddleback College's season on Saturday 33-21.

It was a home game for Fullerton, who had to play at Whittier College because of CCCAA bylaws forbidding community college football teams from playing on a high school field. In their 101 years of football, the Hornets have never had their own home field playing games at Fullerton High, Anaheim Stadium, La Palma Park, Cal State Fullerton, Yorba Linda High, and now Whittier College.

The Gauchos forced a quick three-and-out on the Hornet's opening drive, and then took over at their own 30 yard line. From there, Saddleback drove down for the game's first score, a 6-yard touchdown run by quarterback Max Gilliam. The Gauchos went for two and got it on a pitchout to the kicker Mateo Thompson.

The FC offense continued to sputter, and Saddleback took advantage scoring again at 14:08 in the second quarter. Gilliam hit receiver Chris Spiering in stride who took it 20 yards to the end zone.

For the first time this season, the Hornets were down by their largest deficit at 15-0.

Hornet quarterback Johnny Feauto woke the offense leading the team to the Promised Land on a pass to Kedryan Wilson for a 20-yard score.

Fullerton was on the board and back in the game, but the Gauchos were not done. After a fumbled punt, in which Saddleback recovered on the Hornet 43, Gilliam struck again on the second play throwing a 43-yard touchdown pass to Chris Spiering (9:58 2nd quarter).

The Hornets answered the call on their next series. Justin Manyweather put FC in great field position taking the punt 55 yards to the Gaucho 45 yard line. From there Feauto led a 6-play 30-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard pass to Markus Grossman (8:11 2nd quarter).

Fullerton's defense held strong forcing the Gauchos to go for it on fourth and four on the Hornet 34 yard line. FC's Caleb Johnson broke through the line and sacked Gilliam for an 8-yard loss. The Hornets took over on their own 42 yard line and they did not disappoint their fans scoring on a drive led by QB Ladarius Skelton, who took the rock in on a spinning run from five yards out. The extra point was no good and Fullerton trailed by a mere point, 21-20, with just over three minutes left in the first half.

FC got the ball back with a minute to go and drove down 36-yards in 8 plays scoring on long 45-yard field goal by Antonio Estrada as the last second ticked off the scoreboard before halftime. The Hornets went into the half with their first lead of the game 23-21.

The second half began with a couple of failed offensive drive for both teams, but the tables began to turn in Fullerton's favor with just over eight minutes into the third quarter when defensive lineman JeMycheal Mooreintercepted a pass that was batted on the line of scrimmage by fellow d-lineman Oscar Burgueno.

After Moore's rumbling run for 26-yards, Fullerton found themselves on the Saddleback 26-yardline. The Hornets ended the drive with a 20-yard field goal by Estrada furthering their lead 26-21.

At the start of the fourth quarter, the Gauchos were pounding on the Hornet's door preparing to take the lead back, but FC's Kameron Powell turned the game on its head intercepting the ball in end zone. Powell did it again a few drives later putting Saddleback's hopes of a score on ice.

On the ensuing drive, Fullerton delivered a back-breaking score off of the legs of Skelton who slashed in from the 3-yardline putting the Hornets up by the final score of 33-21.

The Hornet defense was truly impressive in a game where the offense put out their lowest scoring total on the season. FC held the Gauchos scoreless for the whole second half forcing 3 key turnovers with 8 sacks for a loss of 58 yards. Montre Bonner and Joey Noble both had 2 sacks in key situations. Taj Jones was all over the field totaling a game-high 11 tackles (9 solo / 2 assist).

For the record, the overall series between these two proud programs now stands 17-17.


Defensive Player of the Game - Montre Bonner, Fullerton

Offensive Player of the Game - Max Gilliam

MVP - Kedryan Wilson

(Courtesy Phil Thurman, Fullerton College Athletics)




SAN MATEO, Calif. -- Rajae Johnson caught six passes for 204 yards and two spectacular first half touchdowns as College of San Mateo rolled to a 52-3 opening playoff victory over visiting College of the Siskiyous in the California Community College Athletic Association state quarterfinals Saturday afternoon.

CSM (10-1) will play the winner of Saturday night's Laney at American River game in next Saturday's Northern California finals. Siskiyous, runner-up to American River in the NorCal League, finished at 8-3.

The Bulldogs scored the only touchdown they needed on a first quarter 18-yard Miles Kendrick to Johnson pass and moved out to a 24- 0 halftime advantage on a 95-yard hook-up between that duo. Kendrick completed nine of 18 passes for 280 yards, 219 in the first half.

It was a game of big plays by the Bulldogs. CSM thwarted the most successful Siskiyous drive of the game, 73 yards, at the start of the third quarter when Jordan Hendy picked off an Eagles pass at his own five yard line for a 95-yard pick-six romp.

On San Mateo's next possession, Raymond Sanders completed an 80-yard drive with a 7-yard TD run and the Bulldogs were up 38-0.

But Kendrick suffered a knee bruise on that series and left the game. Shawn Akina took over and completed both of his passes attempts for 73 yards, including a 58-yarder to Elijah Harper that made it 45-0 by the end of the third quarter.

San Mateo had 541 yards of total offense and limited Siskiyous to 257. The Eagles had only 53 net yards in the first half.

CSM HAS STATE'S MOST EFFICIENT PASSERS: Akina improved his passer efficiency rating to 183.7, the best in the state – just ahead of official NorCal leader (third in the state) Kendrick at 180.7. Akina has thrown for 895 yards this season but does not have enough attempts to officially qualify as the state ratings leader. Kendrick has passed for 1,766 yards.   

Game MVP: Rajae Johnson, CSM WR

Offensive player of the game, Miles Kendrick, CSM QB

Defensive player of the game, Daniel Hardy, Siskiyous LB (10 tackles, 7 solo; 1 sack, 3 tackles for loss).

(Courtesy Fred Baer, College of San Mateo Athletics)




RIVERSIDE, Calif. - It is said by some that it is a tall task to defeat any team twice in one season. The Riverside City College football team defeated the Ventura College Pirates, 42-34, in late September and looked to hold a perfect record against them in a rematch Saturday night under the lights of Wheelock Stadium for the first round of the Southern California Football Association (SCFA) SoCal Regional playoffs. The second-seeded Tigers and third-seeded Pirates exchanged scores tirelessly in the opening three quarters. However, it was the Tigers who packed a heavier punch in the final round as they scored 21 points in the fourth quarter en route to a 49-33 victory.

The Tigers averaged 8.1 yards-per-play leading to 537 yards of total offense. They dominated the ground game with over two bills of rushing yards on approximately the same amount of carries.

It was all Ventura early on as strong defense led to offense. After two interceptions by the Ventura defense, the Pirates worked their way to a six-point lead after a set of field goals with under three minutes remaining in the opening frame.

The Tigers stayed poised and charged down the field on the following possession off of a five plays, 77-yard drive. The drive was capped off by an eight-yard touchdown run from sophomore quarterback Vic Viramontes (Norco, CA) to snag Riverside's first lead of the game at 7-6.

Both teams went blow-for-blow in the second quarter as there were four lead changes. Ventura grabbed the lead back early in the second quarter with a field goal, but Viramontes snatched the lead right back by leaping over a pile of defenders at the one-yard line for another rushing touchdown.

The Pirates added their first touchdown of the contest on a 30-yard touchdown pass shortly after the Tiger touchdown, but Viramontes continued to push down on the gas pedal and pound his way through the pylons for his third rushing downtown of the game. Ventura added another field goal with under a minute left in the second quarter leading to a 21-19 Tiger advantage at halftime.

The third quarter was a defensive battle with each team trading a mere score. Ventura connected for another long touchdown pass, but Viramontes continued to attack on the ground by slipping into the end zone for another rushing touchdown thus grasping a 28-26 lead.

When the fourth quarter rolled around, the Tiger offense became lethal. Viramontes began a 21-point Riverside outburst with a 45-yard bomb to sophomore wide receiver Cam Sutton (Moreno Valley, CA) to extend their lead.

Ventura struck once more via passing touchdown, but freshman wide receiver Tyrone Marshall (Los Angeles, CA) had other plans. Viramontes located Marshall on a short out route to the near sideline. Marshall carted the ball up the sideline after seeing a nice block from fellow freshman wide receiver Tanarious Achan (Lafayette, LA) and followed his back. A Ventura defender attempted to make a play on Marshall, but Marshall read the defender and hurdled him with ease and took off on a foot race. He beat three more defenders up the Riverside en route to the end zone.

Viramontes sealed the deal late in the fourth with his fifth rushing touchdown of the night leading to the win.

Viramontes was named the game's Most Valuable Player (MVP) after rushing for a career-high five touchdowns on 23 attempts for 126 yards. Furthermore, he went 17-for-26 through the air for 332 yards and two touchdowns.

Marshal was named the Tiger's Player of the Game after his incredible hurdling touchdown on a 53 yard pass. Furthermore, he returned six kickoffs for 138 yards.

Achan led the squad in receiving by snagging five catches for 113 yards with a 61-yard reception. Sophomore wide receiver Malik Holcomb (Chicago, IL) followed with four grabs for 65 yards. Sutton had a lone catch for a touchdown.

Freshman linebacker Jash Allen (Portland, OR) was a monster on the defensive end by recording 12 tackles and two sacks for a loss of 15 yards. Freshman linebacker Mitchell Agude(Corona, CA) followed with eight tackles and one and a half sacks.

The Tigers (10-1) will face off against the top-seeded Fullerton College Hornets next Saturday, November 25th in the SCFA Southern California Championship game at Whittier College at 1 p.m.

(Courtesy Nicho Dellavalle, Riverside City Athletics)



By John Hull, Elk Grove Citizen

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Lenny Nelson’s 21-yard interception return for a touchdown was supposed to be an exclamation point for American River College’s CCCAA Northern California Regional playoff football game against Laney College from Oakland. Instead, it was the difference in the Beavers’ 41-35 victory Saturday night at Beaver Stadium.

Nelson grabbed the pass out of the hand of an Eagle receiver and sprinted up the near sidelines to give his club a 41-21 advantage with 8:33 left in the game.

Come to find out, Laney College mounted a furious comeback with 14 points over the next seven minutes of a game that, up to that point, had been all American River.

A recovery of the onside kick by ARC after Laney scored its final touchdown with 1:09 remaining sealed the win for the Beavers, who now will move on in the CCCAA playoffs. American River, the No. 1 seed in Northern California, will host College of San Mateo Saturday at 6 p.m. for the right to play in the State Championship game Dec. 9 at Hughes Stadium.

“For us to win this football game, it’s about playing complimentary football,” ARC head coach Jon Osterhout said. “We’re just very fortunate we had a really strong first half. The special teams, a kickoff return for a touchdown after they had scored. For us, that was huge. Then the pick-six. gave us an opportunity to put the game away, at least in our mind. Congratulations to Laney for continuing to fight.”

The Eagles’ eight first half penalties, most of them unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness calls, hurt badly, giving ARC good field position and big gains. The Beavers led 27-6 at halftime despite gaining just eight yards rushing in that half. However, they were 6-of-7 on third down conversions, mainly because ARC quarterback Hunter Rodrigues was successful with finding receivers open over the middle of the field. He was 11-of-14 passing for 176 yards and a pair of TD’s in the first two quarters.

“We’re going to do whatever it takes to win a football game, that’s why we are extremely balanced,” Osterhout added.

On a roster made up primarily of boys from Elk Grove Unified schools and from the Roseville/Rocklin area, the Beavers will try to defend its Northern California championship Saturday against a team in San Mateo they beat on the road, 21-20, thanks to a blocked extra point on the game’s final play.

“It’s tough to beat a good team twice,” Osterhout said. “The good thing with where our program is currently at is that we play a tough schedule week in and week out. We’re looking forward to a tremendous opportunity to play in the Northern California championship game. San Mateo is an unbelievable football team. But, we had to beat Modesto (Junior College) twice last year, so we will be prepared. We will be ready. And, we’re extremely ecstatic we get to host here at home.