Article By Aaron Turner/ Photo By Eric Sun
Coming into last Saturday, both Butte College and City College of San Francisco had plenty of motivation. Both teams were coming off of gut-wrenching losses and were looking to avoid losing two straight games. Both teams were looking to set the tone with a hard physical running attack and dominate time of possession. Most importantly, both teams were looking to avoid costly turnovers.
While there were multiple turnovers last Saturday at George Rush Stadium by both the Rams and Roadrunners, it was CCSF that created them at the right time and was able to hold off a potential comeback by Butte in a big 35-24 home victory.
Sophomore running back Avery McCuaig rushed for 158 yards on 17 carries for Butte College, who saw him get off to a very strong start, marching right down the field on the opening possession of the ballgame for an early touchdown drive.
“Butte came out in a couple of formations that presented alignment issues for us and as a result, they had a very hot start to their run game,” Rams head coach Jimmy Collins said following the victory. “Their back was a very good player and did a very nice job making us miss early.”
McCuaig, who saw his 2018 campaign come to an end with a torn ACL against CCSF would average 9.3 yards per carry on Saturday, with 1 rushing touchdown. Butte had a much harder time moving the ball through the air, however. Kyle Lindquist threw just 9 times for 114 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. One of those interceptions would prove to be a huge momentum-shifter.
After seeing Butte score an opening drive touchdown then pick up a safety on a big sack in City's endzone, the Rams were staring at a 9-0 deficit late in the 1st quarter. That's when sophomore safety Trenton Holloway decided to spring into action with a big interception to end another potential scoring drive for the Roadrunners. Holloway, who would add another interception in the 4th quarter, along with 7 tackles, would be a catalyst to get the Rams’ offense firing after a slow start to the afternoon.
“Trent is getting better every game and we expect to see him improve a lot each week,” Collins said. “We truly believe he can be the best safety in the state.”
The Rams would score 21 unanswered points following Holloway's pick, all in the 2nd quarter. Quarterback Ethan Bullock finished the day with 220 yards passing and 2 touchdowns. Bullocks also threw 2 interceptions. Tight end Ezra Grace saw his number called often, finishing with 87 yards receiving on 6 catches to lead all receivers.
It was the combined running attack of Anthony Heard and Jarmar Julien, however, that would allow the Rams to keep the ball out of the hands of McCuaig and company and outgain Butte by over 100 yards of total offense on the day. Anthony Heard, who got the start for City, carried the ball 15 times for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jarmar Julien was able to relieve him in the 4th quarter and close the game out, preventing a mini comeback attempt from Butte to transpire at the end of the game. Julien would finish with 65 yards of his own on 13 carries, all in the second half.
“We have several backs that are very good,” Collins said, when asked about his running back rotation so far this season. “Anthony Heard is our starter, but we think when it's all said and done, they will all have great success this year. Each game we might see a different statistical leader.”
Now at 3-1, City College will host winless College of the Siskiyous (0-4) this Saturday at George Rush Stadium. The Eagles are coming off of a 30-20 loss at Chabot last Saturday and have struggled to move the ball on offense. As a team, they average just 11 points per game while passing for just 94 yards per game. Meanwhile, they have allowed 205 yards per game rushing through their first 4 games and have been outscored 159-53. Collins, however, is not buying for a minute that Saturday might be easy sledding for his team.
“We cannot let their record this week fool us,” Collins said, when asked about Saturday's matchup. “Siskiyous is a very well-coached team full of players that play very hard. They present a lot of problems schematically and will be a great challenge for us. This is the best 0-4 team we have seen.”