Undefeated San Francisco, defending champ Riverside to meet for CCCAA Football State Championship

Riverside City and City College of San Francisco will meet for the CCCAA Championship on Dec. 11 (Photos by Bobby R. Hester/Eric Sun)
Riverside City and City College of San Francisco will meet for the CCCAA Championship on Dec. 11 (Photos by Bobby R. Hester/Eric Sun)

SACRAMENTO - Top-ranked City College of San Francisco and defending champion Riverside City College posted wins on Saturday and will meet for the CCCAA Football State Championship on Dec. 11. The Rams downed rival College of San Mateo 20-17 while the Tigers, seeded fourth in the Southern California Regional Championship, beat previously unbeaten Golden West 27-23.

CCSF will be looking for its eighth state title and first since 2015 while Riverside will be trying to tack another banner onto the inaugural championship in win in 2019. There was no state championship in 2020. Kickoff for the state championship game is set for a Southern California site to be announced later Sunday. Time of kickoff will also be announced on Sunday.

CCSF headed to State Championship after 20-17 win over San Mateo in NorCal final

SAN FRANCISCO - City College of San Francisco punched its ticket to the 2021 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championship thanks to its 20-17 win over College of San Mateo on Saturday in the Northern California Championship at George M. Rush Stadium before a standing room crowd of 5,000 fans.

CCSF heads to the championship final as the lone undefeated team in the state at 12-0. The Rams will face Southern California champion Riverside City College after it knocked off the South's only unbeaten team remaining, Golden West College, by a final score of 27-23 on Saturday afternoon.

The Rams and San Mateo met for the second time this season with a trip to the state championship on the line. And once again, the two rivals battled in another close game.

CCSF grabbed momentum early in the contest, scoring on the opening drive. Four plays in, quarterback Jack Newman connected with his favorite target, Jeffrey Weimer, for a 56-yard touchdown strike. For Weimer, it was his state-leading 17th receiving touchdown of the year, and the Rams led 7-0 at the 12:54 mark.

San Mateo used an eight-play, 90-yard drive to tie up the game in the first. Luke Bottari tossed a 12-yard TD to Mason Starling at the 5:10 mark to even the score at 7-7.

Early in the second quarter, the two squads exchanged field goals. Gabe Plascencia was good from 37 yard out for CSM and the Rams' Nick Hill connected on a 30-yard attempt to tie up the game at 10-10 with 10:39 left in the half.

Bottari and Starling connected once again for an eight-yard touchdown to put CSM in front 17-10 at the 8:03 mark before CCSF rallied to tie up the game a final time thanks to a Newman to Aaron Espero 10-yard TD catch with 4:37 left in second. The teams went in to halftime tied up at 17-17.

Both teams' defenses tightened up in the second half. Hill's 31-yard field goal with 5:21 to go in the third quarter would be the lone points over the final two quarters for either team and would end up being the game-winner for the Rams.

But just as in their last meeting, with CSM driving into Rams' territory late in the game, the CCSF defense came up with a big play to seal the win.

On first and 10 at the CCSF 46-yard line, Bottari was once again picked off, this time by D'Andre Greeley at the CCSF 30-yard line. It was his state-leading ninth interception of the season and iced the victory as the Rams were able to run out the clock from the 5:35 mark.

CCSF totaled 405 yards on offense, led by a 26 for 36 passing, 290 yards effort from Newman. Weimer had another big game, catching 7 passes for 154 yards. Shawn Allen ran 10 times for 51 yards to lead the Rams on the ground.

Frederick Thompkins led the CCSF defense with 9 tackles, Elias Rantissi totaled 8 tackles, while Harold Brooks had 6 tackles, 1 sack, and a pass break up.

The Rams return to the state championship for the first time since 2015. They will face Riverside (10-2) on Dec. 11 at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut. Kick off is set for 1 p.m.

(CCCSF Athletics)

Football Reaches Second Consecutive State Championships, Claims Southern Regional Title

HUNTINGTON BEACH - It came down to the final play in the Southern California Championship game between the Riverside City College Tigers and the Golden West College Rustlers. After scoring a last-minute touchdown, Golden West followed by successfully recovering an onside kick to keep their championship hopes alive.

With no timeouts remaining and just seconds left on the clock, the Rustlers drove down to Riverside's 15-yard line and connected on a slant pattern that nearly sent them to the CCCAA State Championship game. Thankfully for the Tigers, sophomore linebacker and SCFA Central Defensive Player of the Year Noa Purcell was standing between the Rustler wide receiver and the goal line.

Out of Purcell's team-high 60 tackles on the year, his 60th stop proved to be the biggest of his intercollegiate career. He broke down on the one-yard line, stuff the potential game-winning score and sent the Tigers to their second-consecutive California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championship contest.

For the second-consecutive season, the Riverside City College football team has claimed the Southern California Regional Championship title. The Tigers have now reached the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championship for the second-straight season under Head Coach Tom Craft.

No. 4 Riverside defeated No. 2 Golden West, 27-23, to advance to the big dance despite losing to the Rustlers in week four of the season. Riverside defeated top-seeded Ventura, 41-21, in the Southern Regional Semifinals to begin their journey.

The state championship game will be hosted in the South at a location to be determined, likely at Riverside City College or Mt. San Antonio College. Riverside will face off against the Northern California Champion City College of San Francisco Rams who defeated the College of San Mateo Bulldogs, 20-17.

The last team to win back-to-back CCCAA State Championships was Mt. San Antonio in 2009 and 2010. Furthermore, the last program to reach consecutive state championship contests was CC San Francisco in 2014 and 2015.

In his 11th season at the helm, Craft and his coaching staff has built a Southern California juggernaut that has won 112 total games featuring two Southern California Championships and 10 conference championships. Additionally, Riverside has never suffered more than three losses in the last 11 campaigns.

It was tough sledding for both teams as the first half ended at a three-all draw. Riverside's only points came from a 51-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Ricardo Chavez. It was a result of a successful two-minute drill led by freshman gunslinger Jordan Barton.

Things began to heat up in the second half where the majority of the scoring took place. The Tigers found the end zone first with freshman wide receiver Devvin Gitchuway connected with Barton for a 39-yard touchdown reception.

After the Rustlers answered with a touchdown of their own on the following possession, freshman running back Dean Connors got into the end zone for a one-yard score to close out the third quarter of action.

Golden West followed by tying the game up at 17-all early in the fourth quarter, but Riverside was able to connect for another touchdown on a 74-yard bomb from Barton to sophomore wide receiver Jammal Houston. It was the second-consecutive 70+ yard touchdown pass Barton had thrown in postseason action.

A 29-yard chip shot from Chavez extended the Tigers' lead to 27-27 in the fourth quarter which seemed to be the end of the Rustlers. However, they added a late touchdown and nearly another, but the season-saving play by Purcell led to the Tiger victory.

Purcell was the catalyst to the Tigers defense with seven tackles and a forced fumble. Sophomore corner Carlton Johnson recovered the forced fumble for his third turnover of the postseason. He finished with eight tackles and three pass breakups.

Freshman linebacker Gage Summers led the team with a career-high 12 tackles – four being solo.

Barton went 28-for-38 with 312 yards and two touchdowns and completed at least one pass to nine receivers. Houston hauled in five grabs for a career-high 120 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Juwan Tucker reeled in six grabs for 73 yards, while freshman Walter Brooks had five snags for 49 yards.

Sophomore Thomas Kinslow led the charge on the ground with 17 carries for 64 yards. Connors tallied a touchdown and 60 yards on nine carries.

(Nicho DellaValle, Riverside City Athletics)