The No. 1 ranked American River College Beavers used a strong first half showing to beat Sacramento City College on Saturday 38-24, handing their crosstown rivals their first loss of the season.
The Beavers opened the scoring with a 23-yard field goal by Julian Diaz, before Sac City quarterback Jayden Machado responded with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Tayvian Cunningham two minutes later.
ARC running back Evyn Holtz scored from 7 yards out on the following drive before Panthers kicker Elijah Siemering tied the game at 10-10.
From there, the Beavers kicked it up a gear, scoring three more touchdowns before the end of the half to bring the score to 31-10.
Coach Jon Osterhout said that while the defense struggled somewhat in the first half, the offense picked up the slack for them.
“In the first half, it was just a matter of us playing complimentary football,” Osterhout said. “The defense was struggling a little bit with defending the pass game and the offense was continually answering. Playing complimentary football is what we’re all about.”
Beavers quarterback Hunter Rodrigues, who went 17-25 with 207 yards and two touchdowns, said that the his job was made easy by the coaches and receivers.
“Offensively, we had a good game plan,” Rodrigues said. “The coaches put us in good positions and we executed everything we needed to. The receivers got open and made my job easy.”
The third quarter was a dull affair from both teams, with ARC punting the ball twice and Sac City missing a field goal, turning the ball over on downs, and punting.
The Panthers managed to break through in the fourth quarter after Machedo threw two passes to wide receiver Carl Marc for 49 and 31 yards, leading to a short one yard completion to fullback Roy Sanders to make it 31-17.
On the ensuing kickoff, a fumble by Beavers running back Dante Davis was recovered by Sac City, who threw a 18 -yard touchdown to Marc to bring the game within one score.
Two interceptions by defensive back Lenny Nelson and a touchdown reception from wide receiver Arthur Jackson inside the last six minutes sealed the game for the Beavers as they won 38-24.
Holtz led ARC’s rushing game with 127 yards and two touchdowns, Jackson was the lead receiver with 71 yards and two touchdowns, and linebacker Rahsaan York led the team with 8 tackles.
Osterhout said that the while their second half play wasn’t great, he was glad they hung on for the win.
“I’m disappointed with how we performed in the third and fourth quarters but overall you look at it as a win,” Osterhout said. Whether a win is a beautiful thing or an ugly thing, a win’s a win and we’ll take it every time.
Nelson said that they have encountered rough patches before and that it doesn’t slow the team down.
“We just kept it together. We’ve been through adversity all year so it wasn’t anything that we haven’t seen,” Nelson said. We need to finish off strong, finish out four quarters throughout every single game. Our next game is our best game.”
The Beavers will play host to Feather River College on Oct. 28 in the annual Breast Cancer Awareness game.