Offense sells tickets. Defense wins championships. Luckily for American River College, this season, the team has both in spades.
Flying very much under the radar, thanks to the second-ranked offense in the state, the Beavers’ defense has been just as dominant in 2011. Yielding just 15.0 points per game this season, the ARC defense, also ranked second in the state, has been stingy against the run and as opportunistic as any team in California.
On pace to break the school record of 22 interceptions in a season, the Beavers have 17 after nine games, led by Zane Petty with four picks.
The Beavers also broke the school record with a fourth interception returned for a touchdown against Feather River College on Oct. 29. The score also marked the fourth straight game the defense scored a touchdown for the Beavers.
“We feel we are helping the offense to where they are the number one offense and we are the number one defense,” sophomore defensive lineman Cortez Woods said.
After a slow statistical start to the season, Woods leads the team with 15.5 tackles for loss and has scored a touchdown on both of his interceptions.
“Every time we get the ball on a turnover, we are trying to score,” Woods said.
Following a 10-1 season, the Beavers are searching for the first undefeated season in program history. And returning starters like Woods have taken it upon themselves to be more vocal to the entire defense, because injuries have depleted the depth chart and given younger players a chance to shine.
Freshman cornerback Clifford Redmond started the season third on the depth chart, but has since started five straight games due to injuries and is seventh on the team in total tackles and intercepted passes in back-to-back games at the end of October.
“We have so much depth and everyone takes advantage of their opportunities when they get in,” Petty said.