PLEASANT HILL — Down 16-10 against Diablo Valley College at halftime, City College had played in a lackluster fashion.
The Rams had attempted three fourth-down conversion in the first half, and missed all of them. Then, in the second half, everything changed.
City College caught fire, hitting on three straight fourth-down conversions, scoring 24 straight points to take home a 34-16 win.
“At the half I just gave them the message to continue to play better, we stalled out a couple times, and they hit some big plays on us in the run game,” City College head coach Jimmy Collins said. “I said, ‘We are a good a team and can play better,’ and in the second half we played flawless football.”
The Rams scored first with freshman kicker Dominik Suus nailing a 41-yard field goal to put the Rams up 3-0 but soon after they trailed 13-3 when the Vikings scored on back-to-back rushing touchdowns.
First, Ray Jackson scored on a nifty 49-yard rush, then Rai-Shan Alexander rushed for a 16-yard score. After a blocked extra point attempt, the Vikins led 13-3.
City College would respond with its own big play when quarterback Jack Newman found freshman receiver Christian Willis open on the right side for a short pass, and Willis danced his way through the defense for a 63-yard touchdown. Before the second half ended, the Vikings would hit a 20-yard field goal to put the score at 16-10.
The Rams kicked off the ball to start the second half, and after a bobbled return, the Vikings were pinned at their own four-yard line. The defense forced a quick three-and-out, and after a bad punt, the Rams got the ball at the Diablo Valley 33-yard line. On second down, Newman found sophomore running back DeShawn Collins wide open in the flat for a 30-yard touchdown to put the Rams up 17-16 after they hit the extra point.
“On offense we executed against a tough defense, and our defense played with considerable more effort then the first half,” Jimmy Collins said.
After the defense forced another three-and-out, the Rams offense got the ball again at the Vikings’ 45-yard line. In 10 plays, the Rams drove all the way to the end zone, converting on two fourth-down conversions in the process.
To cap the drive off Newman hit quite possibly his most spectacular throw of the season on fourth-and-goal at the 13-yard line. While being hit, Newman threw the ball off his back foot, and it sailed slowly through the air before finding freshman receiver Jahvon Patton in the back left corner of the end zone. Patton hauled the ball in while falling backwards, in the midst of being tightly covered, to put the Rams up 24-10.
“That was a very, very fun play,” Newman said.
Newman finished the game completing 12-of-23 passes for 216 yards with four touchdowns.
“We told Jack to go make a play for us and he did,” Jimmy Collins said. “There was no X’s and O’s to that, sometimes you just got to have your best players make plays. Jack Newman is just special is every positive way you can use special. Like I told you last week you never have to worry about his mental frame of mind.”
The Rams finished the rest of the game strong. They would score on two more drives, with Newman finding Willis again for a touchdown, this time for 26-yards at the end of the third quarter. Willis finished with three catches for 101 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
City College’s final score came on another field goal by Suus, this time for 29 yards.
On defense, sophomores Tyriq Mack, Gamon Howard, and Jairus Woodson all came up with interceptions. The pass defense terrorized Vikings quarterback Jarrod Hoyer, who completed only 9 out of 22 passes for 69 yards with the three picks.
The Rams are now 5-2, including 1-1 in conference. They play Chabot College (5-1) on Oct. 27 at home at 1 p.m. in must-win game, if the Rams hope to win the Bay-6 conference.