During the biggest game of his life — to that point anyway — City College of San Francisco quarterback Andrew Spivey found himself standing helplessly on the sideline as American River College desperately tried to reach the end zone in the final seconds of the game, with a trip to the state championship on the line.
Spivey had done his part, as he’s done all season, by throwing for 278 yards and four touchdowns in what would eventually be a 41-36 win in the NorCal title game, but he found himself in uncomfortable territory at the end.
“I was extremely nervous on the sideline,” he said. “I didn’t even want to watch. That was tough, having them get the onside kick and the game’s not in your hands, you can’t be on the field. That was tough. But our defense pulled through.”
The defense did its job, leaving the only blemish on CCSF’s record this season a loss to Butte in its final game of the regular season, ending a 21-game CCSF winning streak.
Spivey’s progress in his first season as a starter has been key to the Rams’ success as they try to repeat as national champions. After spending last season on the bench as the third-string quarterback — a roster spot essentially devoid of pressure and expectations — Spivey dedicated himself to winning the spot during the offseason.
“He said, ‘Coach, I’m going to work as hard as I can work,’” coach George Rush said of Spivey. “‘And I think I can beat [the starter] out even if he is here, because I think I’m a better player.’ I respect people that come with that attitude and I think he’s proven himself this year.”
That proof has come in the form of 2,657 passing yards and 31 touchdowns for the Rams, as he recorded multiple scoring throws in all but one game this year.
Spivey hasn’t been fazed by the expectations that come with leading a team that has won 12 NorCal titles, seven state titles and seven national titles since 1990. It didn’t matter that his playing days at Albany High School weren’t exactly full of winning seasons.
“That was one of the big points that the guys who were recruiting me were pointing out,” he said. “There’s a huge tradition here of winning. It feels really good to be a part of it, even as a greyshirt last year when I wasn’t starting, it still feels real good to be winning.”
Rush has felt comfortable letting Spivey call audibles at the line of scrimmage, noting that the
6-foot-3 signal-caller stays cool under pressure and forgets quickly about negative plays to focus on making the next move count.
Those traits will be needed when CCSF faces a hostile crowd when it hits the road to face Bakersfield for the state title game Saturday.
CCSF vs. Bakersfield
WHAT: California Community College Athletic Association Championship
WHEN: Dec. 8, 2 p.m.
WHERE: Bakersfield College
RECORDS: CCSF (10-1); Bakersfield (10-2)