City College of San Francisco quarterback Anthony Rodriguez completed 13 of 24 passes for 132 yards on Saturday. (ERIC SUN)
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In the first half of Saturday's Bay 6 Conference showdown between No. 2 College of San Mateo and No. 3 City College of San Francisco, both defenses lived up to its billing.
With almost identical defenses - CCSF (9-1) came into the contest allowing a meager 238.1 yards a game, while CSM's (8-2) defense being a tad stingier, giving up 237.9 yards - CCSF led an expected low-scoring affair 3-0 at halftime.
However, it was CCSF's offense who figured out a way to move the ball on the Bulldogs stout defense, scoring 20 unanswered points to start the second half en route to 23-7 win over their South Bay rival.
With the win, CCSF clinched the Bay 6 Conference championship, and earned the No. 1 seed in Northern California in the inaugural California Community College Athletic Association playoffs.
"I thought it was a well played football game by both teams. I thought it was a great football game, I really do," said CCSF head coach George Rush. "Both teams put it all out there, and didn't leave anything on the field. We were fortunate to make enough plays to win the game."
One of the plays Rush is referring to is a highlight made by freshman running back Elijah Dale. With CCSF clinging to a 3-0 lead with just over 11 minutes left in the third quarter, Dale took a handoff and cut to the sideline, using spin move on a CSM defender, and raced into the end zone for a 38-yard touchdown, giving the Rams a 9-0 lead and capping a 3-play, 73 yard drive.
The Rams added two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including Anthony Rodriguez' 21-yard touchdown pass to sophomore tight end Cole Hikutini, which gave CCSF a commanding 23-0 lead with 2:10 left in the game.
Overall, CCSF had 345 yards of total offense, with Dale rushing 30 times for 153 yards and that highlight reel worthy touchdown. The Rams defense was the story though, holding CSM to 12 first downs and 228 yards of total offense, with 69 of those yards coming on CSM's final possession of the game.
CCSF will host American River next Saturday in the first round of the playoffs, and will look to avenge a 13-0 loss in their week four meeting in Sacramento. Rush and company are looking forward to the challenge.
"We're looking forward to it," Rush said. "We went up there and we didn't play our best. Hopefully, this time around, we'll play our best."
CSM will host the Bulldog Bowl next week against a team to be determined.