By TRAVIS SOUDERS-Sports Writer
Posted: 11/18/2012 12:19:25 AM PST
FRESNO — The Butte College football team didn't get to prove its No. 1 ranking in Northern California merited a shot at a state playoff title. The Roadrunners funneled all the frustration toward the game they did get. Butte beat Fresno City College 31-17 on Saturday at Ratcliffe Stadium, winning the State Center Bowl and achieving the sixth 10-win season in program history. Derick Seward ran for 90 yards and he, Cameron Mikell and Armand Bokitch all had touchdowns for the Roadrunners, who capitalized on a hot-headed Fresno side that at times got in its own way. Butte (10-1), infamously left out of the Northern Division state playoffs in favor of a City College of San Francisco team that it defeated, could have come out with a letdown performance. Instead, the Roadrunners collected a victory that made for the program's first 20-2 stretch over two seasons. "Not many teams get a chance to say that. For these sophomores, that's awesome," Butte head coach Jeff Jordan said. "To go out this way, to be 10-1 with a convincing win, I thought we made a statement that maybe we are one of the best teams in the state." Mikell added 75 rushing yards, including a 32-yard scoring run, and Wes McCoy threw a touchdown pass to Bo Brummel on a gadget play out of the Razor formation. And the Butte defense, the team's most dependable crutch throughout this impressive season, came up big once again, forcing three turnovers, including a pair of interceptions by Donzale Ashley that killed Fresno's first two drives and set up scores for the Roadrunners. "As Coach (Jordan) always says, perfect practice makes perfect, and all we did was keep fighting to get better every week," said linebacker Lamonthe Johnson. "We knew all along it'd come together if we kept it up." A Fresno field goal made it 14-3 in the second quarter, but Butte pulled away 5 minutes after that kick when Seward capped off a 10-play, 81-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run that made it 21-3. Rigoberto Sanchez later added a 22-yard field goal. The Rams (8-3) looked perhaps ready to push for some late-game dramatics, cutting it to 24-10 with a 13-yard Robert Johnson TD run, but Butte responded immediately on its next drive. Armand Bokitch's 2-yard touchdown run with 6:40 left all but sealed it for the visitors, who yielded a quick 50-yard touchdown pass with 2 minutes left but weren't legitimately threatened after. "A lot of special people have been a part of this program, but we're the first to say we're 20-2," Seward said. "It's pretty cool to be a part of." Quarterback Nelson Fishback, so efficient a week ago against San Francisco, simply wasn't needed as much on Saturday and went 4 of 8 passing for 32 yards for Butte. That the Roadrunners could win so convincingly despite not having to throw it was just another potential indicator of the power that earned them the No. 3 spot in the CCCAA state rankings. If nothing else, the victory held some moral vindication, too. The Roadrunners got on the bus back to Butte Valley convinced they deserved a state playoff game. "There's no question about it. We belonged there," Seward said. "We couldn't get there, but everybody on this team, the whole community, everyone knows we should have been there."
By TRAVIS SOUDERS-Sports Writer
Posted: 11/10/2012 05:16:12 PM PST
SAN FRANCISCO — Rams Stadium, the football home of powerhouse City College of San Francisco, is rife with historical nods to greatness of the past, dating back to 1946. A plain black and white sign lists the Rams' great accomplishments, from national titles to conference championships. The school will put a NorCal Conference title designation up for 2012. But when Butte College comes to town, the Roadrunners will forever know that year belongs to them, too. The Roadrunners defeated City 31-21 on Saturday, beating the state's No. 1 ranked-team and ending the Rams' 19-game winning streak to claim a share of the NorCal Conference title. "I'm just super proud of our players, super proud of our coaches," Butte head coach Jeff Jordan said, beaming. "(San Francisco) has been running things for a long time. It's just a great thing to come in here and beat them — not many teams do it here. I'm pleased with our effort, with our physicality. I'm so proud. We've got a really good group." Three rushers — Derick Seward, Cameron Mikell and Armand Bokitch — cleared the 130-yard mark for Butte (9-1, 4-1 NorCal) in a largely dominant showing on the ground and the defense limited the conference's leading rusher, Kristoffer Ogulbode, to 44 yards on 14 carries. What the Roadrunners' defense did against an offense averaging more than 40 points per game was remarkable, but Butte also entered with one of the state's top defenses — the outcome wasn't nearly asoutrageous to fathom as the Roadrunners' sheer dominance in the run game. Mikell had 167 yards and Seward added 132, but the surprise was Bokitch, the previously seldom-used tailback who busted loose for 131 yards on 14 carries, including two touchdown runs. More impressive was that Bokitch didn't even get involved until the second half. "Toward the end of the game, we needed that second push, and I was just the guy that was there to give it," Bokitch said. "I definitely came in ready to work, every play." Butte took the game's first lead in the first quarter, when Nelson Fishback hit Wes McCoy on a screen play that went 14 yards for a touchdown. City drew even in the second quarter on an Andrew Spivey touchdown pass to Kyani Harris for 25 yards, and the Rams then took the lead after the halftime break at 8:55 on a 4-yard TD run from Ogulbode. Appearing to have lost momentum, the Roadrunners instead rallied. And it was the diminutive third-string Canadian tailback who sparked it, ripping a 31-yard touchdown at 4:44 in the third period to even the score at 14 and start Butte's surge. And he wasn't done. Three minutes after the Butte defense forced a punt, Bokitch took another carry 33 yards to set up his own 7-yard TD run that made it 21-14. "He got some bursts, out in the open, really changed the game a lot," said defensive end Damien Borel. "Nobody really got to see too much of him, and then he comes out and does his thing. We're all proud of him." Butte extended its lead in the fourth quarter at the 10-minute mark, when Seward took the first carry of the possession 68 yards for a score; Rigoberto Sanchez added a 38-yard field goal after an 8-minute scoring drought by both teams. With the win, Butte at least enters the conversation for a state playoff game, though it's muddy at the top of the rankings. Bowl games are expected to be announced Sunday. Regardless, Butte's one-game accomplishment stands on its own merits. "We were so excited for this game, and it showed today," said defensive back Donzale Ashley, who had three pass break-ups. "We came out prepared, were ready for a physical game. We had our minds right and came to play physical and it definitely showed." Spivey finished 25 of 44 passing for 326 yards with a pair of touchdowns — he got one late to Drake Whitehurst, when the game was pretty much decided and City was in desperation mode — but the game plan appeared to be out of necessity. Butte simply shut down the run game. "Our defensive coaching staff, our players, they all deserve a ton of credit," Jordan said. "It's just unbelievable to see the whole plan come together."