Notebook: CCSF win gives ARC momentum heading into San Mateo game


American River College head coach Jon Osterhout argues with the referees during ARC’s 20-17 defeat of City College of San Francisco on Sept. 26, 2015. ARC is ranked no.1 in NorCal after the 20-17 win. (Photo by Barbara Harvey)

Kevin Sheridan

After defeating City College of San Francisco, ranked No. 3 ranked in the state on Sept. 21, American River College’s football team will head back out on the road to play College of San Mateo, formerly ranked No. 2 in the state, this Saturday.

San Mateo (3-1) is coming off a 43-30 loss against San Joaquin Delta College.

San Mateo is ranked No. 2 in the state in total points scored at 172 points through four games, and is ranked No. 3 in points per game with 43 points per game.

“The game of football goes back and forth. To use an analogy it’s a pendulum. (It’s an) extremely tough challenge next week against San Mateo,” said ARC head coach Jon Osterhout.

San Mateo’s offense is led by freshman quarterback Dru Brown, who is averaging 11.2 yards per attempt and wide receiver Johnny Niupalu’s 21.8 yards per catch on 15 catches.

It has also rushed for an average of 232 yards per game, led by freshman running backs Joey Wood and Isiah Williams who have rushed for 267 and 236 yards on the season respectively.

Williams is coming off a three touchdown performance in his team’s loss at SJDC.  

Vercher catching fire through four weeks

Since he was pulled from the game in a week one loss at Modesto Junior College, ARC quarterback Jihad Vercher has thrown for 9 touchdowns, 768 yards and no interceptions.

Four games into the 2015 season, his state-wide rankings put him at No. 10 in touchdowns with 10, No. 11 with 1,027 yards and No. 14 with 256.8 yards per game.

Against CCSF, who ranked No. 15 in the state defensively and allowed 19.5 points per game,  Vercher threw for 269 yards, his second highest total of the season.

Vercher said that going forward, the win over CCSF will be huge for the team’s confidence.

“I get emotional talking about it because these dudes, they work so hard everyday.” said Vercher.

“For us to come out here and beat a team like San Francisco City, No. 3 in the state, that’s a big deal for not just me, (but) for everybody on this team all 114 guys and it feels good to be able to put this win together against all odds,” he continued.

Keil’s game-winning boosts his confidence, bonding moment for team

Sam Keil said the thoughts crossing his mind were he needed to “just focus, keep my head down, do my regular routine, and everything will be fine if I do that,” during the timeout called prior to his game-winning 25-yard field goal Saturday at City College of San Francisco.

Keil said it was the first game-winner of his career.

“First one and it feels good,” he said of the kick.

After struggling to find a rhythm during training camp, Keil appears to have turned it around.

“That’s the most nerve-wracking kick you can do in a game ever,” he said. “After I made that, everything else is just a breeze.”

ARC getting ahead big early on

ARC ‘s offense has come out of the gates firing in two of its last three games, scoring 33 points in the first half against SJDC and 31 in the first half against De Anza College.

The majority of these first half points came from Vercher, as he threw for seven touchdowns and ran for one more in wins over De Anza and SJDC.