By Gene Thompson
Rams football is back!
The squad appeared relaxed and proficient on the first day of classes at City College as they ran their drills, their crimson and white uniforms brilliant under the occasionally bright sky at George Rush Stadium. “We will rock you” blasted from the speakers. The team was gearing up for their exhibition game against the Modesto Junior College Pirates on Wednesday, Aug. 23 at 4 p.m.
The exhibition scrimmage offers a sneak peak into the team’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing observers to speculate on their prospects for a successful season. Despite last year’s winning season and thrilling victory against College of the Sequoias in the Golden State Bowl, the 2022 season’s 7-4 record was a fall back to earth after the astonishing 13-0 record of 2021, which culminated in a state championship win. The title and perfect record have set the bar impossibly high.
A group of CCSF Rams linemen are on the sidelines having a chat with their coach during practice on August 30, 2023. Elodie Mefret/The Guardsman
But head coach Jimmy Collins spoke with great enthusiasm about the upcoming season. “We have a lot of reasons to be excited about this team and are excited to get a chance to start competing against other teams.”
Collins mentioned “two major contributors from our 2021 team” who would be rejoining the Rams, wide receiver Max Rodarte and linebacker Rocky Katoanga. Rodarte, a 6-foot, 185-pound freshman from Capitol Christian High School in Sacramento, finished the 2021 season with 403 total yards for an average of 40.3 per game, and 4 touchdowns. Katoanga, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound sophomore out of El Camino High School in Oceanside, California., had 40 tackles, and 2.5 sacks with one interception.
Collins said he was also looking forward to working again with veterans from last season, such as running back Tyrei Washington, linebacker Tyler Lepolo, defensive backs Elias Williams, Dylan Camp, and Garnell Wilds and offensive lineman Daniel Moleni.
Speed, attention to detail and skilled execution are features Collins hopes will give the 2023 team a winning edge. “We have three quarterbacks that are elite and expect all three to be major contributors, which is unique but exciting.” With three quarterbacks likely to get substantial playing time, there should be an entertaining variety of approaches to games.
Quarterback Jack Miller was a star athlete at San Raphael High School, excelling in baseball, basketball and football. Last year with City College he played in six games, winning 4 and losing two. He completed 55 passes on 120 attempts for a completion rate of 45.8%, gaining 599 yards and 4 touchdowns with six interceptions. He’s a big guy at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds.
Quarterback Teddy Booras just graduated from California High School in San Ramon where he starred in football and baseball. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound freshman was noted for the accuracy of his passing game.
Quarterback Dorian Hale graduated from De La Salle-Concord where he threw for 3,712 yards and 33 touchdowns and rushed for 912 yards and 15 touchdowns during his career. He played briefly at Sacramento State. He’s 6-foot-1, 185 pounds.
Players on the field were revved up and ready to roll. Rodarte said, “It’s been great fun–a lot of great guys here. We’re looking to go undefeated and get that title back.”
Teammate Nelson Ropati, defensive lineman, was also confident of success. “I’m excited about this upcoming season, we’ve got a lot of great players, new transfers that came in, and I think we’re going to be one of the top teams in the country.”
George Rush Stadium is on the east side of the City College campus, below Batmale Hall. While there, make sure to take in the huge billboard on the far side of the field boasting the litany of championships the team has won over the years.
And check out the schedule for the rest of the season, below: