After losing due to a field goal in the final seconds of the 2014 NorCal Championship game, American River College’s football team will return to the Bay Area for the first time since last November’s 17-14 loss to face City College of San Francisco.
ARC and CCSF have played against each other in the regular season every year since 2012 and also matched up in the 2012 NorCal championship game, when CCSF defeated ARC 41-36.
ARC (2-1) is coming off two blowout wins against De Anza College and San Joaquin Delta College, and is in a good position according to head coach Jon Osterhout.
“We’re right where we want to be right now,” said the second-year head coach. “You want to see drastic improvement from week one to week two, and then more improvement from week two to week three, and we’re there.”
Osterhout, however, said he was disappointed in ARC’s energy in the second half against SJDC, and will challenge the team to do better going forward.
“We got complacent. We got to finish off the football game,” Osterhout said.
CCSF (3-0) has won two of its three games by less than a touchdown and defeated Laney College 28-0 in a shutout.
After ARC’s dominant win over SJDC Saturday, Osterhout predicted his team would respond well to the challenging opponent CCSF promises to be.
His players agreed, saying the game had already been a topic of discussion.
“Everytime we play San Francisco, it’s a big week,” said sophomore running back Austin Hines.
Hines was on the team last year for both games against CCSF and said thought has already gone into how the team will mentally approach the game.
“As veterans, we try to keep it as a regular game so our younger players don’t get psyched out,” he said. “But we’re all excited and I can’t wait, it’s going to be a great game.”
CCSF has a brand new head coach in Jimmy Collins, who replaced the now-retired George Rush after 38 years at the helm.
In the teams 2014 regular season matchup, ARC held CCSF scoreless in a 13-0 victory. It was the only time one of Rush’s teams failed to score during a game in his tenure.
One thing still unknown for ARC is what the team will look like in a close game scenario.
ARC opened the season on the road and with a blowout 41-10 loss at Modesto Junior College in a game it was favored to win.
In the two games following, ARC has gone into halftime with leads of 31 and 30 points, respectively.
Freshman running back Ce’von Mitchell-Ford had 115 rushing yards on 4 carries against SJDC, all in the second half, but ARC’s offense struggled to score as SJDC put up 21 points.
“We came out a little lax, being up by that much. We eased off the gas,” Mitchell-Ford said.
“It’s something that comes with team bonding. When half the team comes hard and the rest ease off … we all have to come hard together.”