Despite a number of breaks going their way, the American River College Beavers lost to City College of San Francisco 17-14 in the NorCal championship game Saturday, in a heavyweight defensive punchout of a game that featured every form of drama that football can offer.
CCSF kicker Cristian Antezana missed two field goals in the game, but made the one that mattered. It was a 41 yard attempt that sailed through the uprights, giving the Rams a three point lead with only six seconds left for ARC to respond.
ARC running back and kick returner Wadus Parker was tackled at ARC’s 20 yard line just as the sixth second ticked off and the game expired. CCSF stormed the field in jubilation while ARC players deflated.
In his postgame speech to the team, head coach Jon Osterhout, whose first season as head coach also ended on Saturday, expressed regret for not having a better plan on the kickoff return.
His first point, however, was that no matter the outcome, the journey left him proud of his team.
“At the end of the day, we just didn’t have enough time, and didn’t make enough plays … I’m proud of every one of you guys,” said Osterhout to the solemn crowd of players surrounding him.
Both teams lived off of their strong defenses throughout the game, combining to force a total of 19 punts.
But at the end, the stats tell a story of ARC struggling in every facet of the game offensively. CCSF outgained them by 229 total yards, 429 to 200.
ARC gained only 33 rushing yards on 24 attempts against CCSF, one week after rushing for 178 yards against Butte College.
Deon Ransom, ARC’s breakout star running back the previous two games, was held to 27 yards on 16 attempts.
“They came out ready to play this time … Their defense is well taught, and physical, and they showed it today,” Ransom said.
Osterhout accounted the low output of the offense more to CCSF’s defense than any failings by his team.
“They’re a very good defensive unit. Very well coached, stout up front. We knew it was going to be difficult to move the ball, but it’s a full team game, offense, defense and special teams … at the end of the day, we didn’t execute in all three phases,” said Osterhout.
Safety Damion Sanders had an interception and recovered a fumble 90 yards for a touchdown in the game, but still felt he left something on the field.
“I felt like I could have made a couple more plays,” Sanders said.
Sanders, who along with Robert Sanders, Malcolm Scott and Kameron Williams makes up a terrific secondary for ARC, was nothing but complimentary to the entire team, despite the offense’s struggles.
“All of my brothers on this team played balls to the walls,” said Sanders.
ARC freshman wide receiver Namani Parker, who will return next season, finished with 27 catches on the season, third on the team.
Parker didn’t feel it any certain part of the team failed in particular against the Rams.
“It’s a team game. People make mistakes, everyone mistakes,” Parker said.