FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Dec. 4, 2017 Contact: Fred Baer firstname.lastname@example.org
50th Anniversary State Football Championship Game:
CSM & FULLERTON TO DECIDE STATE/NATIONAL TITLES SATURDAY
A match of two of the nation's historic football programs will decide state and mythical national community college titles Saturday afternoon (Dec. 9) in Sacramento.
NorCal champion College of San Mateo (11-1) will play defending California Community College Athletic Association champion Fullerton College (12-0) in the 1 p.m. "50th Anniversary" title game at Sacramento City College's fabled Hughes Stadium to cap the USA's 2017 JC/CC football season. Both teams have defeated every foe (at least once) this season.
Fullerton is the USA's only remaining undefeated JC/CC football team after then 9-0 Arizona Western fell to 10-1 East Mississippi, 31-28, in last week's NJCAA title game (in which the West Coast is not included).
San Mateo, East Mississippi, and Iowa Western currently share the second best records in the country at 11-1, behind "perfect" Fullerton. CSM has the opportunity to move to the top on Saturday and provide an appropriate sendoff for retiring coach Larry Owens (130-90 in 21 seasons at the helm).
HOW THEY GOT THERE: In the Northern California Football Conference championship game (Nov. 25), CSM avenged its only season setback, defeating American River, 24-21. The Bulldogs had previously lost a non-conference contest by a point, 21-20, on a last minute blocked field goal. Fullerton romped over Riverside, 75-15, for the Southern California Football Association crown.
In the playoff opening round, San Mateo downed College of the Siskiyous, 52-3, and Fullerton got by Saddleback, 33-21.
PACESETTING OFFENSES – PLUS DEFENSE: The game matches the state's two highest scoring teams: Fullerton with 689 points (57.4 average) and 97 touchdowns; San Mateo with 520 (43.3 avg.) and 70 TDs. The Hornets have racked up 6,893 yards of total offense (574.4 avg.) while No. 2 CSM has 5,523 (460.3).
San Mateo has allowed just 16.9 points per game (No. 2 in state) while No. 4 Fullerton gives up 17.5. The Bulldogs defense has tallied a pacesetting five safeties.
TOP RANKING: Since winning official state and mythical national JC/CC football crowns in 2016, Fullerton has headed most polls throughout an unbeaten 2017 season. This includes the state coaches poll, conducted by the JC Athletic Bureau, and the JC Gridwire/jcfootball.com national poll. San Mateo finished the regular season No. 3 in the state coaches poll and was No. 4 in the most recent jcfootball national poll (before No. 2 Riverside and No. 3 American River lost in regional final games).
BULLDOGS NO. 1 IN STATE MASSEY RATINGS: CSM, following back-to-back 5-0 runs through the tough Bay 6 League, does head the respected (computer) state Massey Rankings of all 68 California CC teams. The strong schedule played by the Bulldogs earned them the current No. 1 spot, followed by American River, Fullerton, City College of San Francisco, and Laney. (California has the majority of the USA's 133 JC/CC football teams.)
STREAKS & 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF FIRST OFFICIAL STATE CHAMPIONSHIP: Fullerton brings a national-leading 18-game win streak to Sacramento. The Hornets won the first official state title game a half century ago, defeating American River, 41-0, in 1967 at Anaheim Stadium. They claimed their second crown in 2016, again beating visiting American River, 29-27. This will be Fullerton's sixth official appearance in the state championship game. (The Hornets were runners-up in 1969, 1970, and 2013.)
This is the winningest team in 96 seasons of football at CSM. The Bulldogs, riding a 7-game winning streak, are "tied" with NJCAA champion East Mississippi CC (11-1) with the second best records in the USA this season (behind Fullerton). (East Mississippi also tops the separate Massey Ratings for the NJCAA's 65 teams.)
San Mateo previously played in – and hosted – the 2009 state finals at College Heights stadium and suffered a narrow 7-6 loss in the rain to Mt. San Antonio College.
(Note: There were only bowl games and no official state championships from 1975 to 1996.)
PREVIOUS 1956 MEETING BETWEEN STORIED PROGRAMS: Fullerton fielded its first football team in 1916, while San Mateo started playing football when the college opened in 1922. Research has uncovered an early season meeting between the two colleges in 1956 at Fullerton Stadium, with the Hornets winning 26-7. They have not met since that time.
MATCH-UP OF STATE'S MOST EFFICIENT PASSERS:
--CSM freshman All-Bay 6 League quarterback Miles Kendrick (5-11, 200) leads Northern California with a 180.7 passer efficiency rating. The all-conference star has thrown for 1,766 yards and 18 TDs and has rushed for 423 yards and 5 scores. Kendrick is spelled by another freshman, Shawn Akina (5-11, 175), who directed the NorCal title win over American River. Akina has thrown for 1,031 yards and 8 scores with a 174.0 rating – No. 4 in the state (just behind No. 3 ranked Kendrick).
San Mateo passers lead the state in yards per pass attempt (11.3) and yards per completion (18.9). CSM leads Northern California with 2,861 total passing yards.
--Fullerton regularly uses three quarterbacks on a huge roster that started the year with a turnout of 200 players. Sophomore Kane Wilson (6-4, 230) tops the state with a remarkable 183.3 efficiency rating. His has thrown for 1,570 yards and 15 touchdowns and has rushed for 289 yards and 4 TDs. Frosh signal caller Ladarius Skelton (6-2, 210) leads Fullerton in rushing with 1,112 yards (No. 8 in the state) and 18 TDs (No. 4 in the state) and has thrown for 992 yards and 9 TDs. But it was sophomore Johnny Feauto who was the SoCal championship game MVP. He has passed for 853 yards and 9 touchdowns. Together that trio has accounted for 55 scores! Wilson and Skelton were National Southern league co-offensive players of the year.
CSM freshman all-league running back Cameron Taylor will be chasing some milestones in the title game. The Hillsdale High grad is tied for No. 5 in the state in rushing TDs (17), which is also equal No. 2 on CSM's record list (along with Julian Edelman in 2005) – two TDs shy of the Bulldogs school record. He has rushed for 945 yards -- so is 55 yards from becoming San Mateo's seventh 1,000 yard season rusher (where Edelman holds the record with 1,253 yards).
Fullerton, with 55 rushing TDs, and San Mateo, with 38, pace the state.
CSM freshman wide receiver Rajae Johnson leads Northern California with 115.5 yards per game (1,256 net yards) and paces the state with 25.6 yards per catch (49 receptions). He has tallied 13 TDs, including a long of 91 yards. Sophomore Jared Latu has caught 47 passes for 781 yards and 9 scores. Both were all-league, along with a trio of up front linemen: Api Mane (6-2, 320), Edward Tatola (6-3, 310), and Michael Grandy (6-5, 305).
San Mateo kicker Justin Watts is the state's top punter (43.4 average), including a long of 74 yards, and is Northern California's top kick-scorer with a school-record equaling 88 points. He is CSM's career kicking record holder with 164 points.
The Bulldogs have the Bay 6 Defensive Player-of-the-Year in linebacker Colt Doughty (6-3, 240) with a pacesetting 84 tackles and another all-league linebacker in Dorrzel Hicks (5-11, 200), who has 73 tackles and a pair of interceptions. Their other all-league defenders are linemen David Musika (6-2, 335) and Mike Mounga (6-0, 255) plus DB's Jamarri Jackson (5-10, 175) with six interceptions and Jordan Hendy (6-1, 185) with two picks.
CHAMPIONSHIP CLAIMS: While there have been "only" 28 official state championship games, this year's participants can claim other previous "mythical" titles, based upon history and polls.
--San Mateo's first team, in 1922, went 5-0. Between 1923 and 1929 San Mateo competed in the California Coast Conference, with 4-year colleges, winning two titles and finishing second twice. The Bulldogs won eight championships in the Northern California Junior College Conference between 1930 and 1949. Many of those could be considered unofficial state "best" teams.
--Fullerton claims unofficial state titles in 1965, 1983, and 1988, based, primarily, upon polls.
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