A previous version of this story falsely reported that ARC won its first division game on Saturday. In fact, Saturday’s game was the first league win.
Running backs Ce’Von Mitchell-Ford and Armand Shyne starred for American River College’s running game in a 49-31 win over the College of the Siskiyous on Saturday, rushing for two touchdowns each as the team scored five of its six touchdowns on the ground.
Mitchell-Ford went for 159 yards on 19 carries, including a 33-yard touchdown in which he barrelled into the Siskiyous defense before breaking free for the score.
Shyne had 64 yards on 12 carries, scoring on a 1-yard run early and a 31-yard play later on.
ARC’s running backs coach Michael Morris credited the preparation of his players for their performance on the field.
“That’s the big thing,” said Morris. They practice exceptionally well.”
Morris also gave kudos to the offensive line for allowing the backs open lanes to the end zone.
“They’ve worked very hard, battled through a lot of injuries,” Morris said. “It’s great that coach (Josh) Crabtree is able to move those guys around, and even that (the players) take to that.”
ARC quarterback Jihad Vercher finished the game 16 of 29 with 211 yards passing and threw for two touchdowns to receivers Jonathan Lopez and Malik Dumetz.
Vercher also had a rushing touchdown, scoring on a 7-yard quarterback keep.
ARC dominated the first half, scoring five of its touchdowns and holding a 36-3 lead at the break.
The team scored a touchdown in both the third and fourth quarters, but allowed 28 second half points and at one point let Siskiyous cut its deficit to as little as 11.
Head coach Jon Osterhout praised the team in his postgame speech for getting a win in its first league game, but stressed the importance of maintaining a certain focus level from kickoff until the final play.
“We dominated the game (in the first half), which gave us a 33 point lead,” Osterhout said. “We get a huge return (to start the second half) and we’re trying to put the game away right then and there. And then we throw a pick.”
Osterhout said that about 80 percent of the players seem to be in the right mindset and the other 20 percent need to catch up.
“That’s the challenge, right? Getting everybody on the same page toward a common goal, that’s the job as a head coach,” Osterhout said. “If we do that, we’ll establish ourselves as a prominent team in this conference.”
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Vercher agreed with the assessment of his coaches.
“Just loss of concentration,” Vercher said. “We got complacent and almost lost the game.”
Vercher added that the gap being closed was the result of poor offensive execution, not the defense being fatigued.
“None of that is on the defense,” he said. “We got to keep them on the sideline. That’s on the offense.”
“It’s a game of momentum and if we learn to finish, we’ll have a dynamite football team the rest of the year,” Osterhout said.
The team’s next game is Saturday at Feather River College in Quincy, California.
Osterhout said the long ride won’t affect the team.
“We’re not worried,” he said. “If we got to drive to Florida, we’ll drive to Florida.
“We’re going to show up, I’ll tell you that.”