By Taylor Clayton
The Guardsman Online
City College head coach George Rush has been coaching the Rams football team for 35 seasons, he has won 296 games over that time and six national titles.
With 47 seconds left to go in the State Championship game coach Rush made a gutsy call, as freshman quarterback Turner Baty hit Daniel Mckinney on a 20 yard pass play on forth down for the final score of the game, making it 52-42.
It was the play that ended up clinching the win and his seventh national title, avenging last year’s loss in the state title game to Mt. San Antonio.
After all those wins and championships Rush has seen it all. We asked if it ever gets old.
“No, never. Every team is different, every challenge is different and you just see how hard these guys work to prepare themselves for this,” Rush said. “Last year’s freshman swore they would get back to this game, they swore they would win it and they did so I couldn’t be happier for them.”
With his team up a field goal on the opponents 20 yard line and little time left, Rush was faced with either a field goal and relying on his defense to hold on for the win, or to go for it.
“A field goal did us no good, up six didn’t do us any good… so we’re going for it,” said Rush.
“The better play would have been to push for a first down and run the clock out, because they had no timeouts left. That’s what I wanted to do was take it there and kneel… (the official) said I couldn’t do it. I didn’t know you couldn’t do that, it doesn’t make any sense to me, but decided we’d worry about that later.”
The Rams had a 28-0 lead with just 2:49 left to go in the first half until Mt. San Antonio scored two touchdowns. One TD on a 10 yard pass play and the other on a 45 yard interception return, cutting the lead to 28-14.
After two scores, the Rams regained their momentum and their 28 point lead heading into the fourth quarter. They almost handed the state championship away.
The Mountains scored 21 unanswered points, 14 of them coming off of two Rams fumbles deep in their own territory. With the Rams lead down to just three with over six minutes left, the two teams exchanged touchdown passes. The Rams were then able to recover an onside kick and drive down the field for that final score.
“It’s 4th down and I saw they were playing man with no safety,” Turner said. “So I knew I could hit Daniel on the post one-on-one and I know that my guy is going to make the play. Daniel McKinney, a sophomore wide receiver, he’s going to West Virgina, he’s a hell of a player, made a hell of a play.”
Turner was awarded MVP of the State Championship game and finished with 348 yards passing and 5 touchdown passes.