Riverside City upsets top-seeded Ventura, 41-21; San Francisco, Golden West and San Mateo also advance to regional finals

Photo by Bobby R. Hester
Photo by Bobby R. Hester

City College of San Francisco 35, American River 17
College of San Mateo 31, Fresno City 14
Golden West 20, College of the Canyons 10
Riverside City 41, Ventura 21

VENTURA - For the fifth consecutive season, the Riverside City College football team has advanced to the Southern California Football Association (SCFA) Southern Regional Championship game after taking down the top-ranked Ventura College Pirates.

Riverside and Ventura clashed for the eighth time in the past seven years with half of their contests coming in Southern Regional playoff action. The trend continued tonight as both juggernaut programs battled it out in the SCFA Regional Semifinals where both teams have met twice before.

The Tigers bested the Pirates by the final score of 41-21 behind a staunch offense and a rejuvenated defense that forced a season-high four turnovers. Of the four turnovers, the Riverside offense capitalized and scored on each ensuing possession.

The defense came prepared for what the Pirates had cooking on their opening drive by taking advantage of a failed trick play. In an effort to catch the Tigers sleeping, the Pirates attempted a halfback pass that was underthrown and found the hands of freshman Demarco Moorer. Moorer handled the wobbling pass attempt and brought it back 25 yards into Ventura territory.

Riverside capitalized on the following possession and completed a 6-play, 64 yard drive capped by a 23-yard rushing touchdown from sophomore quarterback Jordan Barton. Barton shedded three potential tacklers on his way to the endzone.

The defense was back at it the following series as freshman linebacker Gage Summers forced a fumble on a Pirates fourth-down attempt. The ball squirted out of the tailback's grasp and was scooped up by sophomore Carlton Johnson who returned it 31 yards deep into Ventura territory. He nearly scored on the play.

Riverside needed just four plays the following drive which was sealed by a five-yard rushing touchdown from freshman Dean Connors to snag a two-score lead.

The Pirates answered with their lone touchdown of the first half, but Riverside followed by putting up 27 unanswered points that stretched through the third quarter.

Two more scores stemmed from the Tiger's stout defense highlighted by a 75-yard pick six from Johnson late in the second quarter. Johnson jumped a poorly thrown slant pattern and weaved 75 yards to the house.

On the possession prior, Barton connected with freshman wide receiver Marquise Ashley for a season-long 80-yard touchdown connection. It currently stands as the longest touchdown reception of the season.

The Tigers went on to score 13 more points highlighted by a three-yard screen pass to freshman wide receiver Juwan Tucker for a touchdown and two field goals from sophomore Ricardo Chavez. Chavez first boot was 43 yard conversion, while the second kick was a 24-yard chip shot.

Barton went 15-for-24 with 278 yards and two touchdown passes. He also carted the ball a season-high nine times for 47 yards and one rushing touchdown. He completed at least one pass to six different receivers highlighted by sophomore wide receiver Jammal Houston. Houston hauled in five grabs for a game-high 95 yards.

Sophomore Thomas Kinslow was the lead back due to early injury. He took advantage by rushing the ball a season-high 22 times for 72 yards. Connors followed with 16 totes for 54 yards and a score.

Defensively, Riverside had three sacks, three forced fumbles, two interceptions and four pass breakups.

Sophomore Noa Purcell led the defense with six tackles, while freshman Keithan Gooden and Summers followed with four. Summers had one sack for a loss of 10 yards.

Johnson was the most effective on the defensive end with three tackles, one pass breakup, an interception for a touchdown and a fumble recovery.

Riverside advances to the SCFA Southern Regional Championship on Saturday, December 4 against the No.2 seeded Golden West College Rustlers in a week four rematch. More information to come on www.rccathletics.com

(Nicho DellaValle, Riverside City Athletics)

No. 1 Rams advance to NorCal Championship with 35-17 win over No. 4 American River

City College of San Francisco quarterback Jack Newman tossed a pair of touchdown passes and ran in two TDs on his own to help lead the No. 1-seeded Rams to a 35-17 win over No. 4 American River College in the Northern California Regional Playoffs on Saturday at George M. Rush Stadium.

The victory sends CCSF to the Northern California Championship game where they will host No. 2 College of San Mateo on Dec. 4 at noon. CSM was a 31-14 winner over No. 3 Fresno City College in the other NorCal semifinal. The winner will advance to the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championship on Dec. 11 at the site of the Southern California champion.

The Rams improved to 11-0 on the season with Saturday's win, their second of the season over American River. CCSF had to overcome an early deficit before cruising to the victory.

ARC struck first, getting a 37-yard field goal on its opening drive of the game to take a 3-0 lead at the 10:36 mark.

The Rams responded with a seven-play, 67-yard drive that was capped by the first of two Newman one-yard TD plunges that put CCSF in front 7-3 with 6:59 to go in the first.

Just before the end of the first quarter, the Beavers completed a long 12-play drive with a 21-yard TD pass from quarterback Robert Jones to Sawyer Merrill. American River led 10-7 entering the second, but that advantage wouldn't last for long.

Newman connected with Daelin DeGraffenreid for a 24-yard touchdown strike at the 11:51 mark and closed out the half with a 34-yard TD pass to Jeffrey Weimer with 37 seconds left to send the Rams into the locker room leading 21-10 at the break.

After a scoreless third quarter, Newman ran in for his final TD to extend the Rams' lead to 28-10 with 10:27 to play. American River finally broke up CCSF's scoring surge with a two-yard touchdown run by Tariq Parker with 6:40 left.

ARC would get no closer. With 23 seconds remaining on the clock, D'Andre Greeley sealed the CCSF win with a 49-yard interception return to a touchdown.

Newman closed out the game just shy of 300 yards passing, completing 21 of 31 passes for 299 yards with no interceptions and two touchdowns.

Shawn Allen led the Rams on the ground with 19 rushes for 73 yards. Roderick Gaskins Jr. led receivers with seven catches for 109 yards while Weimer caught seven passes for 85 yards and a TD.

The Rams' defense limited the Beavers to 290 yards. The D came up with four sacks in the contest and totaled nine tackles for loss. Elias Rantissi, Sincere Jackson, and Rocky Katoanga all had eight tackles to lead the Rams.

Samuel Siasoi totaled four tackles, including two for loss and a sack. Trenton Halloway had five tackles and broke up two passes.

(CCSF Athletics)

San Mateo returns to NorCal Regional Championship with 31-14 win over Fresno City

Luke Bottari threw four touchdown passes, three to Mason Starling, as reigning Northern California Champion College of San Mateo defeated visiting Fresno City College, 31-14, in a NorCal regional football semifinal Saturday afternoon at College Heights Stadium.
State No. 4 ranked CSM (10-1) faces a rematch at current  No. 1 City College of San Francisco (11-0) next Saturday afternoon (Dec. 4) for the regional title and a berth in the 2021 California Community College Athletic Association Championship game at the Southern California champion on Dec. 11. 
CCSF defeated visiting American River College, 35-17, in the other semi. San Francisco gave then state (and national) No. 1 San Mateo its only season loss, 31-27, in the Bay 6 league finale two weeks ago.  
Bottari, the returning all-state quarterback out of San Mateo's Serra High School, provided the Bulldogs with a 7-0 lead on a 31-yard pass to Jalen Lampley with 6:48 left in the first quarter. The Bulldogs then maintained control throughout, leading 17-0 at halftime – before a crowd of 2,712 and a live regional TV (KOFY) and national cable (ATT U-verse and DirecTV audience).
Bottari completed 26 of 33 passes for 276 yards, with no interceptions. Starling had 14 receptions for 154 yards. Lampley had five for 48 yards and added to his state lead in kickoff return average with one for 51 yards after the first Rams score, in the third quarter. That return set-up the Bulldogs on Fresno's 26-yard line and they needed just three plays for Bottari to hit Starling with a 13-yard TD pass for a comfortable 24-7 lead. 
Bottari, following in a tradition extending from multiple Super Bowl ring wearers / CSM alums Bill Walsh to Julian Edelman, set a Bulldogs career record with 44 touchdown passes. He has thrown for 2,168 yards and 26 TDs in 2021 -- with a 171.2 collegiate efficiency rating.
CSM also had a successful ground game, with freshman Ezra Moleni rushing for 84 yards on 12 carries and all-stater Darrell Page 45 yards on 14 trips. San Mateo totaled 384 yards of offense. Page is now No. 4 on the all-time CSM rushing ladder with 1,628 career yards. 
Northern California kick-scoring leader Gabe Plascencia had a 20-yard field goal, giving him a CSM-record equaling 13 for the season (including a record 51 yard goal). The freshman, out of Oakland's Bishop O'Dowd High, also had four PAT kicks to set a Bulldogs season kick-scoring record of 94 points. 
Starling has caught 39 passes for 600 yards and 11 TDs this year with career marks of 68 for 1,041 and 14 scores.
Leading CSM tacklers were linebackers Justin DeWitt (9) and  Kairo Reid (7), also combining for a key sack.
(Fred Baer, CSM Athletics)

Golden West dominates with six interceptions in win over Canyons, including three from game MVP Sauvao
HUNTINGTON BEACH - The SCFA regional semifinal game saw the Rustler defense shine as the game's most valuable player and Southern League defensive player of the year Codie Sauvao tallies three interceptions in the 20-10 victory at home to advance to the SCFA region finals.  

Golden West is one win away from its first State Championship berth in program history, but it took a total team effort this afternoon against a very tough #3 College of the Canyons. 

Each team traded possessions in the first quarter trying to figure each other's defenses out, but Golden West would strike first in the second quarter after the defenses first interception by Eman Lawoye. Lawoye picked off the pass on the Canyons 10 yard-line to setup Gianni Hurds 1 yard touchdown run to give Golden West a 7-0 lead. 

The Rustler defense forced a quick three and out and the offense went to work again as they drove 81 yards on 14 plays for a Jake Cipres 25-yard field to extend their lead 10-0. Golden West would take a 10-0 lead into the locker rooms for halftime. 

Canyons came out of halftime and scored 10 unanswered points to tie the game 10-10 with a 32-yard touchdown pass and 21-yard field goal. 

Golden West used a strong fourth quarter to control the momentum as they tallied three interceptions in the final quarter to close out the victory. Cipres converted his second field goal of the game to give the Rustlers the lead at 13-10 early in the fourth quarter. Wide out Tanner Branson caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from the Southern League offensive player of the year, quarterback Jake Retzlaff to make it a two-score game at 20-10. 

With the win, Golden West is set to host #4 Riverside City College on Saturday, December 4 at 12pm. Riverside City upset the #1 seed Ventura College 41-21 to advance to the SCFA Finals. 

(Tim Bremen - Golden West College Athletics)