CSM holds off late CCSF rally to remain undefeated

Eric Sun/Special to The S.F. ExaminerRaeshawn Lee hauled in two long touchdown passes to help CSM hold off CCSF on Saturday.

City College of San Francisco and College of San Mateo have come together and produced some wild and entertaining games over the years.

This year was no different.

The NorCal Conference rivals provided fans with plenty of entertainment, but it was CSM that sent its faithful home happy.

The No. 4 ranked Bulldogs (7-0, 1-0) remained undefeated on the season, overcoming 15 penalties and a furious CCSF rally before outlasting the No. 7 ranked Rams 30-25 in San Mateo on Saturday.

“Very emotional battle,” CSM coach Brett Pollack said. “Both teams are two talented teams, a lot of kids on both sides of the ball know each other. Great game and that's what junior college football is all about.”

CSM racked up 530 yards of total offense, including 331 on the ground, but it was the passing game — something the Bulldogs aren't known for — that put them over the top.

Bulldogs sophomore quarterback Casey Wichman, who was 7-of-12 for 199 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, connected with Raeshawn Lee for 55- and 58-yard touchdowns, with the latter giving CSM a 30-19 lead 1:49 into the fourth quarter.

“[CCSF] is very solid against the run and we're very good running the ball, but ultimately what it comes down to is make plays in the passing game against them,” Pollack said.

After falling behind 17-0, CCSF charged back to cut the lead to 17-13 behind two touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Turner Baty, who finished 20-of-53 for 262 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

Early in the third quarter with the momentum on the Rams' sideline, CCSF faced a 4th-and-2 at the CSM 9-yard line, but Baty was sacked by Bulldogs linebacker Michael Spivey.

The next play, backup running back Michael Latu sprinted through the CCSF defense untouched for a 77-yard touchdown, giving CSM a 24-13 lead with 5:41 left in the third quarter.

However, it took the Rams just 1:52 to go 87 yards and cut the Bulldogs' lead to 24-19 after Rams tailback Daivon Ballard punched in a touchdown from 8 yards out.

But CSM had an answer all day, with Lee's 58-yard touchdown reception giving the Bulldogs a commanding 30-19 lead.

The long touchdowns passes by CSM were something CCSF coach George Rush wasn't too pleased with.

“That might have been as poor of a performance in our secondary as I've seen in 10 years,” Rush said. “They practiced extremely well all week I don't know if they got antsy, I don't know what happened. The secondary did not play very well, and it cost us a bit.”

CCSF (5-2, 1-1) still has a chance to win out and possibly host the NorCal championship, but Rush is eager to see how his team responds to this latest setback.

“It's a disappointing loss, because we came in here with high hopes and aspirations,” Rush said. “Two things are going to happen: [we're] either going to get ourselves together and get after it, or we can go into the tank. We'll see what kind of men we have.”

For CSM, it will celebrate for two days before preparing for Butte College, the No. 1-ranked team in the California Community College Football Coaches Association. Butte is also 7-0 after defeating De Anza College 52-21.

“The coaches do a great job of not only preparing for an opponent, but making it about the week itself,” Wichman said. “Yeah, we'll be playing Butte, but our mindset is that we'll get ready for Week 8. We'll celebrate this win, but when it comes to Monday, it's a new season. We're 0-0.”

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