In a game that wasn’t decided until the last minute, the American River College football team hung on in a closely contested battle against the Butte College Roadrunners on Nov. 2 at ARC’s Beaver Stadium. The final score was 14-7 in favor of ARC, their fourth win in a row.
Both ARC and Butte started the game on a three game win streak, shared similar records in 5-2 and were both 2-0 in games within their conference this season. One way or another, one streak was going to end while the other would keep going.
On ARC’s second drive of the game, the Beavers drove down the field on a 70-yard drive, which ended up with ARC putting the first points on the board. Quarterback Marco Baldacchino connected with wide receiver Eric Davis Jr. for an 11-yard touchdown pass to make the score 7-0 early in the game.
With the early touchdown setting the tone for the game, Davis Jr. said he was really happy with how his offense executed on the scoring drive.
“Our offensive line really stepped it up and our running backs did a tremendous job on that drive,” Davis Jr. said after the game. “We were playing together as a unit, and it resulted in a touchdown.”
Defense played a big part in ARC’s victory over Butte in this game. Later in the second quarter, with the score still 7-0, Butte was driving the ball down the field when ARC’s defense forced a fumble and then recovered it with 2:40 left on the clock in the first half.
ARC would start that next drive on its own 24-yard line, and would go down the field on 9-play 76-yard drive to score another passing touchdown. This time, Baldacchino threw a 9-yard pass to wide receiver Sivonte Jordan, making the score 14-0 with 34 seconds left in the first half.
On the ensuing kickoff, ARC was penalized for an off sides call, which prompted Butte to ask for a re-kick. On the second attempt, ARC decided to do a squib kick. However, it backfired on them and the ball bounced off one of Butte’s players instead of going to the middle of the field. Butte was able to recover the ball on ARC’s 46-yard line with 34 seconds left on the clock.
Butte would take advantage of ARC’s mistake to execute a four-play drive that took 26 seconds off the game clock and ended up scoring an 18-yard pass from quarterback Kyle Lindquist to wide receiver Marshal Brose, making the game 14-7 at the end of the half.
Head coach Jon Osterhout said he was disappointed with how that sequence of events resulted for ARC, but said he was still happy his team was able to hang onto the win despite that mistake.
“That kick was probably something we didn’t practice enough,” Osterhout said. “Fortunately for us, we found a way to get a win here today and position ourselves to win another football game next week.”
After that first half, it was all defense from both teams until the end of the game. Neither team gave the opposing offense any chance to have a good drive or even get into field goal range to score three points. The game was similar to a heavyweight boxing fight, with both teams trading punches back and forth to see who would get that knockout punch.
With 5:08 left in the fourth quarter, Butte embarked on a long drive, trying to get that touchdown that would send the game into overtime. On 4th and 6 on ARC’s 15 yard line and 49 seconds left in the game, Lindquist’s pass to Brose was broken up by ARC’s defense, forcing a turnover on downs and earning ARC their fourth straight victory.
ARC’s defensive back Julian Reed said he was very pleased with how the defense performed in the game and felt his coaches drew up a good game plan.
“We ran a lot of zone and man-to-man on defense and they just couldn’t figure out our coverage,” Reed said. “This win feels good but it doesn’t feel great yet — we still got to finish out the season strong.”
The Beavers improved to 6-2 in the season so far. Their next game will be on the road against another team in their conference, the 7-1 Shasta College Knights on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 6:00 p.m.