College of San Mateo finds path back to state championship by shutting out Modesto, 41-0, in NorCal final

College of San Mateo kickoff returner Terrell?Carter takes the opening kickoff back 84 yards during the
Bulldogs? 35-12 win over?Modesto in?Week 5. The teams meet Saturday in the Nor Cal title game. (Photo by Patrick Nguyen, San Mateo Daily Journal)
College of San Mateo kickoff returner Terrell Carter takes the opening kickoff back 84 yards during the Bulldogs’ 35-12 win over Modesto in Week 5. The teams meet Saturday in the Nor Cal title game. (Photo by Patrick Nguyen, San Mateo Daily Journal)
SAN MATEO – Jermaine Jackson rushed for two first half touchdowns and totaled 112 all-purpose yards as undefeated College of San Mateo recorded its second straight playoff shutout, 41-0 over visiting Modesto JC, for the Northern California Football Conference football championship Saturday afternoon.
 
At 12-0, the Bulldogs will take the best record in the college's 98 football seasons to Bakersfield College Memorial Stadium on Dec. 14 for the California Community College Athletic Association title game -- against either Riverside CC or College of the Canyons (who were scheduled to meet for the SoCal title Saturday night). San Mateo is currently top-ranked among all 125 JC/CC football teams in the USA, with Modesto in the No. 4 spot.   
 
"Our guys were ready to play," said CSM coach Tim Tulloch. "Today was a very good milestone for us in all three phases, offense, defense, and special teams." And all three phases contributed to the final point total.
 
The San Mateo defense stole the show and forced five Modesto turnovers. It provided the only score needed in the first quarter on a 4-yard fumble return by freshman defensive back Dillon Juniel. He forced the Pirates (9-3) to fumble their punt attempt from the 34-yard line, then recovered the bobbled ball on the four before taking it to the end zone.  
 
A pass interception by All-Bay 6 defensive back Bennett Williams set-up the Bulldogs on the Modesto 49 for the next TD. Jackson rushed for the final 32 yards to make it 14-0 in the second period. San Mateo settled for a 28-yard field goal by Dylan Moghaddam on its next possession, then allowed the Pirates just one offensive play before Trey Smith recovering a fumble on the Modesto 24. Jackson scored quickly from a yard out on the fifth play to make it 24-0 at halftime.
 
The San Mateo offense did not take the field again until it was 38-0, midway through the third quarter. A sack by Noah Lavulo stopped Modesto on its first series after the break, forcing a punt which Terrell Carter returned 64 yards for a 31-0 lead. Modesto's next series ended with a 51-yard pass interception "pick 6" by Isaiah Downes.
 
After another 3-and-out by the Pirates, the well-rested San Mateo offense finally took the field with 8:20 remaining in the third quarter. The Bulldogs drove for another field goal, 28 yards by Moghaddam. He remains perfect on the season at 10 for 10. It was 41-0 with 3:33 left in the period and the Bulldogs were able to rest their top players the remainder of the game.   
                                                                                                                                         
Defensive player of the game sophomore linebacker Anuanu Tuiono had eight solo tackles and two quarterback hurries, plus a forced fumble. He has averaged a team-pacesetting 7.8 tackles a game since becoming a starter for the last five games. "He's been huge for us," said Tulloch. "He is one of those guys who just waited for his turn. And he has earned his way to the next level."
 
Jackson was the offensive player of the game Jackson, rushing for 77 yards on just eight carries (9.5 average), catching three passes for 19 yards, and returning the only Modesto kickoff (game opener) for 16 yards.  
 
Freshman quarterback Luke Bottari directed the CSM offense, completing 7-of-12 passes for 87 yards and rushing for 32 yards. His All-Bay 6 backfield mate Darrell Page rushed for 62 yards on 18 carries.
Carter totaled 94 yards, adding a pair of pass reception for 30 yards to his 64-yard punt return.
 
--CSM has allowed only first quarter points all season and has the only "single digit" defense in the state, giving up only 9.7 points per game. The Bulldogs outscored their two playoff opponents, 62-0.
 
(Fred Baer, College of San Mateo Athletics)