In the junior college ranks, the NorCal Conference has repeatedly proven itself as the cream of the crop in California, with the champion having played in the past eight state championship games.
The winner of Saturday’s tilt between visiting City College of San Francisco and host College of San Mateo will be in prime position to represent the NorCal Conference this postseason.
“It’s two of the most athletic, well-coached teams in the conference,” CSM coach Bret Pollack said. “Both teams are shooting to go 3-0 in-conference, and it’s an important game. This is a game coaches want to coach in and a game players want to play in.”
CCSF, ranked No. 1 in the state, comes into the game with a perfect 7-0 record, outscoring its foes by a combined score of 342-57, while averaging 49 points a game.
However, the early success the Rams have enjoyed means nothing to coach George Rush, who’s well aware of the challenges the NorCal Conference presents.
“The thing about this conference is almost every game is a tough game,” Rush said. “You can’t get caught looking too far ahead and you can’t look back and pat yourself on the back for what you did yesterday.
“This is a big game and both teams will be ready to roll.”
After suffering a 43-7 loss in its season opener to Fresno City College, No. 8-ranked CSM (6-1) has reeled off six straight victories, including last week’s 42-10 mauling of Foothill College.
CSM is averaging 41 points a game, but in an unorthodox fashion. Miles Freeman, Blake Plattsmier and Jonathan Willis have all seen action at quarterback this season for the Bulldogs, and it’s anyone’s guess who will start Saturday’s big game.
“Some people have theories that you should start one guy, but I just don’t believe that,” Pollack said. “All three have started, all three have come in off the bench, and all three have gotten better since the season started, so we won’t decide on who’ll start until the end of the week.”
CCSF has juggled its quarterback situation as well, going with freshman Turner Baty at quarterback the past four games, which hasn’t slowed the Rams’ offense one bit.
“Turner has a real good presence in the [pocket], understands what the defense is trying to do, and throws the ball real well,” Rush said. “He spreads the ball around and has a little giddy-up in his game. He’s earned the position that he’s in.”
The schools that are separated by 21 miles have alternated wins the past two seasons, but CCSF overall has won 20 of the past 21 meetings.
“San Mateo has that tough spread offense and their defense looks real sound, one of the most physical San Mateo teams I’ve seen,” Rush said. “I expect this to be a good matchup, but at the end of the day, players make plays. I expect our guys to play real well Saturday.”
WHEN: Saturday, 1 p.m.
WHERE: College of San Mateo
LAST WEEK: CCSF beat Laney 56-10; CSM beat Foothill 42-10
LAST YEAR: CCSF beat CSM 33-0
RANKINGS: CCSF ranked No. 1 in the state, CSM ranked No. 8
RECORDS: CCSF 7-0; CSM 6-1