CCSF headed to State Championship after 20-17 win over San Mateo in NorCal final

The Rams are 2021 Northern California champions (Photo by Eric Sun)
The Rams are 2021 Northern California champions (Photo by Eric Sun)

City College of San Francisco punched its ticket to the 2021 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championship thanks to its 20-17 win over College of San Mateo on Saturday in the Northern California Championship at George M. Rush Stadium.

CCSF heads to the championship final as the lone undefeated team in the state at 12-0. The Rams will face Southern California champion Riverside City College after it knocked off the South's only unbeaten team remaining, Golden West College, by a final score of 27-23 on Saturday afternoon.

The Rams and San Mateo met for the second time this season with a trip to the state championship on the line. And once again, the two rivals battled in another close game.

CCSF grabbed momentum early in the contest, scoring on the opening drive. Four plays in, quarterback Jack Newman connected with his favorite target, Jeffrey Weimer, for a 56-yard touchdown strike. For Weimer, it was his state-leading 17th receiving touchdown of the year, and the Rams led 7-0 at the 12:54 mark.

San Mateo used an eight-play, 90-yard drive to tie up the game in the first. Luke Bottari tossed a 12-yard TD to Mason Starling at the 5:10 mark to even the score at 7-7.

Early in the second quarter, the two squads exchanged field goals. Gabe Plascencia was good from 37 yard out for CSM and the Rams' Nick Hill connected on a 30-yard attempt to tie up the game at 10-10 with 10:39 left in the half.

Bottari and Starling connected once again for an eight-yard touchdown to put CSM in front 17-10 at the 8:03 mark before CCSF rallied to tie up the game a final time thanks to a Newman to Aaron Espero 10-yard TD catch with 4:37 left in second. The teams went in to halftime tied up at 17-17.

Both teams' defenses tightened up in the second half. Hill's 31-yard field goal with 5:21 to go in the third quarter would be the lone points over the final two quarters for either team and would end up being the game-winner for the Rams.

But just as in their last meeting, with CSM driving into Rams' territory late in the game, the CCSF defense came up with a big play to seal the win.

On first and 10 at the CCSF 46-yard line, Bottari was once again picked off, this time by D'Andre Greeley at the CCSF 30-yard line. It was his state-leading ninth interception of the season and iced the victory as the Rams were able to run out the clock from the 5:35 mark.

CCSF totaled 405 yards on offense, led by a 26 for 36 passing, 290 yards effort from Newman. Weimer had another big game, catching 7 passes for 154 yards. Shawn Allen ran 10 times for 51 yards to lead the Rams on the ground.

Frederick Thompkins led the CCSF defense with 9 tackles, Elias Rantissi totaled 8 tackles, while Harold Brooks had 6 tackles, 1 sack, and a pass break up.

The Rams return to the state championship for the first time since 2015. They will face Riverside (10-2) on Dec. 11 at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut. Kick off is set for 1 p.m.