City College of San Francisco stands one win away from making their second straight appearance in the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship game.
However, the Rams know they’ll be foolish to look past this Saturday’s Hawaiian Punch Bowl.
After surviving the rugged NorCal Conference, the Rams (10-0) are set to host undefeated Fresno City College for the Northern California Football Association Championship.
Coach George Rush and company are happy to be in this position, one they almost gave up against Santa Rosa on Nov. 12.
Their 40-38 victory over the Bear Cubs wasn’t clinched until Santa Rosa fumbled on a quarterback-running back exchange inside the Rams’ 3-yard line with less than a minute left in the game.
“The Santa Rosa game was more stressful than exciting, but the important part is we won the game and went undefeated in the [NorCal] Conference, which is no easy thing to do,” Rush said. “We’re very happy about the opportunity to represent our school and conference in this game.”
Fresno comes into the contest averaging 38 points a game, led by Valley Conference Offensive Most Valuable Player, quarterback Lance Orender.
Orender has completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,965 yards, 37 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. His receiving corps has equally been impressive.
Trent Hicks, Ronald Thompson and Leroy Travis, who all made the All-Valley Conference first team, have combined for 2,184 yards receiving with 32 touchdowns, easily making them one of the best dynamic groups in the state.
CCSF will count on NorCal defensive MVP, defensive lineman Marcus Pierce-Brewster, and the rest of a defensive unit that’s allowed only 12 points a game to slow down Fresno’s potent offensive attack.
“They have a lot of speed on offense, their very disciplined and very well-coached,” Rush said. “[Fresno] presents a huge challenge for our defense.”
CCSF has been no slouch on offense, if not better as they average over 43 points a game, but they’ll be playing against a Fresno defense that’s produced 25 interceptions.
Turner Baty has been good at keeping the ball away from opposing defenses, as the CCSF quarterback has thrown only five interceptions on the season, while passing for 23 touchdowns and 2,410 yards.
On paper, this matchup of Rams is about as even as they come, down to the spread offenses and to the color of the schools.
“We just have to play within ourselves and not do anything out of the ordinary,” Rush said. “The players just have to play, and do what they’re coached to do. If they do that, limit the mistakes, we should be OK.”
Hawaiian Punch Bowl
WHAT: Northern California Football Association Championship
WHEN: Saturday, 1 p.m.
WHERE: City College of San Francisco
RECORDS: Fresno 10-0, Valley Conference champ; CCSF 10-0, NorCal Conference champ
NEXT: The winner will host the Southern California champ in the state championship on Dec. 10