Defense and special teams carry the Rams to victory in the rain

City College Rams' cornerback Kenronte Walker and safety Jarrell Harrison tackle College of San Mateo's quarterback Wes Price at Rams' Stadium on Nov. 1. ANNE-MARIE STARK / GUARDSMAN

By Bonta Hill

With rainy weather, poor field conditions and wind blowing through Rams stadium, the City College Rams gutted out a 14-7 win over the College of San Mateo Bulldogs on Nov. 1. The win was the Rams’ second in a row, and put them back on track for the conference championship (5-3, 1-1).

The Rams’ special teams came through with four blocked punts while the defense did the rest to keep the Bulldogs out of the end zone, which preserved the victory. Even with poor weather conditions, Rams’ Head Coach George Rush was pleased after the game with his team’s performance.

“I’ll be real honest, I don’t know when the last time somebody held that [San Mateo] offense without a score,” Rush said. “It’s been a tough year, but we got right back in the mix.”

In the first quarter, the Rams’ first touchdown came after their first blocked punt. Running back David Henderson took the hand-off from quarterback Kevin Vye and scampered around the right for a 14-yard touchdown.

Rams safety Jarrell Harrison, who had another strong game with an interception at the goal line, blocked the third punt allowing the offense to get the ball in a great position on the field, but the Rams’ failed to capitalize.

On the fourth down from the two-yard line, Rush elected to go for the field goal. Center Daniel Curtin snapped the ball over the kicker but after a game of hot potato with a slick ball Bulldogs linebacker Ratu Rabela finally got hold of it and took it all the way to the end-zone to briefly tie the game 7-7. Rush didn’t second guess himself about the decision to not go for the touchdown.

“In this weather, they may not score another point, and that may be the difference in the ball game,” Rush said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get it through the goal post.”

Corner back John Mark Henderson was able to pick up the loose ball on the fourth and final blocked punt with the help of the Rams’ defense. The Bulldogs then lined up in their offensive formation and tried to fool the Rams by attempting a quick kick, which was soundly blocked, and cornerback Henderson scooped up the loose ball giving the Rams the lead at 14-7.

In the second half, the Rams took away the Bulldogs’ running game and forced them to pass. The Bulldogs looked very uncomfortable passing and couldn’t get anything going to tie the game. The Rams were just having a fun day in the rain.

“It was real fun out there and it made the game even more intense,” said Rams’ corner back Devin Mays, who had an impressive interception in the end zone to thwart another Bulldog drive. “The front seven made it easier for the secondary to stop the pass.”

Beating the Bulldogs puts the Rams in a second place tie with Foothill College, whom they play this Saturday at Foothill.

“Special teams won this game for us,” said Vye. “Now we’re just going to come to practice, study up on Foothill and go from there. Hopefully we can get three in a row.”

Hopefully the weather will be better, but as the Rams proved against San Mateo, they can win in almost any circumstance.