City College of San Francisco is seeking its 21st NorCal Conference football title under coach George Rush this year. But as usual, the Rams will need to get past rival College of San Mateo first.
Despite losing their top passer, rusher and defender from last season, the No. 1 Rams (6-0) appear poised to repeat as California Community College Athletic Association champions. But the quest could be put into jeopardy Saturday if No. 8 San Mateo (5-1) snaps CCSF’s 18-game winning streak at Rams Stadium.
“There’s a lot at stake,” Rush said. “It’s a game you really need to win if you want to take that path to the conference championship.”
The game could be a high-scoring affair with the conference’s top two offenses squaring off. The Rams are No. 1 in points per game (48.3) and yards per game (453.5), but the Bulldogs are a second in both statistical categories, averaging 37 points per outing while amassing an average of 444.2 yards per game.
The Bulldogs run a dizzying option offense that features a trio of explosive running backs: Quincy Nelson (8.8 yards per carry), Jerrel Brown (4.7 yards per carry) and Levi Wilson (8.2 yards per carry).
Rush said his defense will need to play with structure to contain San Mateo’s ground game.
“When you’re playing an option team, you can pay for your sins dearly if you don’t play with great discipline,” he said.
The Bulldogs’ most prolific offensive player is quarterback John Willis, who has rushed for five touchdowns and passed for seven this year. But Willis was benched for last week’s game against Foothill and his status for this week is uncertain.
But the Rams will need to put points on the board regardless of who’s playing under center for the Bulldogs. The Rams’ attack features the conference’s top rusher, Kristoffer Olugbode (145.5 yards per game, 11 touchdowns), and its second-leading passer, Andrew Spivey (17 TDs, five interceptions), and receiver, Kyani Harris (39 receptions, six TDs).
Rush said his team’s greatest attribute might be its resilience. The Rams trailed Diablo Valley College 41-27 in the second half of their season opener Sept. 1 before they came back and snagged a win in overtime. CCSF trailed No. 3 Fresno 31-14 at halftime three weeks later, but the defense pitched a shutout in the last two quarters and the Rams pulled out a 35-31 win.
“I don’t like coming from behind,” he said. “But it’s refreshing that when we get in that position people keep their poise, keep their composure and make plays to win.”