The City College of San Francisco football team beat Fresno City College, 52-15, in the battle of the Rams in Saturday’s Hawaiian Punch Community College Bowl.
The victory marked the 11th time in 11 appearances since 1997 that the CCSF Rams won the Northern California football championship.
In a game played in San Francisco under blue skies at the outset, CCSF quarterback Steele Jantz led a six-play, 72-yard drive to open the game. After two short passes to tight end Daniel McKinney, two quarterback keepers, and an inside handoff to Kenny Haynes that drove the ball to the 21-yard line, Jantz found Aaron Horne alone in the corner of the end zone for the wideout’s 13th touchdown of the season.
Later in the quarter, San Francisco scored again after Nigel Malone returned his fourth interception of the year to the Fresno 4-yard line. Jantz ran untouched into the end zone to make it a 14-0 lead. Set up by CCSF’s second of four interceptions on the day, Allen Chapman’s sixth of the season, Edgar Castaneda kicked a 32-yard field goal to make it 17-0 early in the second quarter.
Fresno strayed from its conservative game plan on the next series as quarterback Lance Orender completed a 45-yard bomb to Trent Hicks that set up an 11-yard touchdown pass to Larry Overstreet.
The inability to convert two blocked punts in the first half into points was crucial for Fresno. Fresno was denied at the goal line by the impressive San Francisco defensive front as time ran out in the half.
“The key to the game early was the two blocked punts and no points,” CCSF coach George Rush said. “The game changer was the goal line stand.”
After an early third-quarter safety from an intentional grounding call in the Fresno end zone tightened the score, Steele, the NorCal Conference Offensive Player of the Year, took over the game. The quarterback with the legs of Tim Tebow and the haircut of Tom Brady impressed the Division I scouts on hand by running for three touchdowns in 10 minutes.
Haynes and Robert Burton added scoring runs to ice the game for San Francisco.
“Our offense came out like gangbusters, got a little lethargic in the second quarter, but picked it up in the third,” said Rush, the NorCal Conference Coach of the Year. “Enough cannot be said about our defense, and our coaching staff did a great job prepping for the game.”
CCSF will be playing for its seventh state championship Dec. 11 in Walnut, the home of defending state champion Mount San Antonio, winner of Saturday’s Southern California championship over Cerritos.