By TRAVIS SOUDERS-Sports Writer
Posted: 12/14/2013 07:34:28 PM PST
BUTTE VALLEY — Since 1968, the founding year of Butte College's football program, nobody had ever seen a state championship game won on the Roadrunners' campus.
About 3,000 people became the first to change that on Saturday.
Butte beat Fullerton 28-13 on Saturday afternoon at Cowan Stadium to win the California Community College Athletic Association title, marking the second time in five years the Roadrunners have accomplished the feat and the first instance in which they did it on their own field. "I can't believe it. I'm just so happy for these kids," Butte head coach Jeff Jordan said. "It's a great day for college football, and I'm just happy for our community, our crowd — they were so loud — happy for everybody involved."
Butte (12-0), ranked No. 1 in the state in the CCCFCA/CCCAA poll, won its 16th straight game by snapping the 17-game streak the Hornets (12-1) were on. The game's MVP, Tommy Stuart, threw for 203 yards on 13-of-23 passing with three touchdowns and no interceptions, and converted quarterback Richard Murphy, a tight end who came away with the game's Offensive Player of the Game honors, had a career day with five catches for 143 yards and a 70-yard touchdown reception.
Robert Frazier led the Roadrunners with 86 rushing yards on 20 carries, while the Butte defense — the second-ranked unit in the state — forced six turnovers, including London Muse's 51-yard interception return for a touchdown in the game's final minute that sealed it for Butte. Two teams averaging more than 43 points per game found themselves in the midst of a defensive grind at halftime, with Butte leading 6-0 on Bo Brummel's touchdown pass from Stuart at 14:54 in the second quarter, but that's not to say both teams didn't have more chances. Fullerton had two drives deep in Butte territory end on interceptions, and another possession in the first quarter turned the ball over to the Roadrunners on downs when the Hornets couldn't convert a fourth-down attempt at the 3-yard line.
"We could have walked in there," Fullerton head coach Tim Byrnes said. "We should have been up in the first half, and then we're running our type of football. Instead, we're chasing the scoreboard, and when you're chasing the scoreboard, you're not going to win too many games."
Indeed, Butte took a two-score lead in the third period, when Murphy got loose on a third-down play-action play from the Roadrunner 30 and Stuart found him wide-open down the field. Murphy galloped the rest of the way for the score and a 14-0 lead before Nick Norman's 4-yard touchdown run at 1:18 in the same quarter made it 14-7.
Fullerton found itself down two scores once again at the beginning of the fourth quarter, when Stuart again found Brummel on a fourth-and-goal pass through tight coverage from 14 yards out. The Hornets made a comeback bid, getting a quick score with 4:33 left when Jose Escobar, playing with an injured throwing hand, converted a quick screen to Keondrick Daniels and the latter scampered through traffic 47 yards for the score. After a failed PAT, it was 21-13, and when the Hornets got a defensive stop a possession later, Butte was forced to punt.
Then came arguably the biggest play of the game: Eli Pleasant fielded Rigoberto Sanchez's punt near midfield and with plenty of traffic around him, and instead of calling for a fair catch, attempted to return it. He fumbled, Butte recovered, ran out almost 2 minutes of clock before Sanchez punted to pin the Hornets at the 5, and then it was all over when Escobar tossed a desperation throw downfield that Muse returned for six. "That's a great football team, number one," Byrnes said, "but you turn the ball over like we did, you're not going to win any football games, especially against good teams. We just didn't execute on offense."
Escobar finished with 237 yards on 20-of-36 passing, but he was intercepted four times and sacked twice. Fullerton's 1,200-yard rusher, Ryan Byrd, was limited to 62 yards on 13 carries; Butte yielded just 81 rush yards total while gaining 215 of its own. Fullerton's Justin Owens was awarded the Defensive Player of the Game. Butte will finish no worse than a consensus No. 2 pick nationally, and even could be in the running for the nation's No. 1 spot — which would mean a national title. The JCGridiron.com "Dirty 30" rankings and JCFootball.com's rankings are considered the two primary national systems that determine the country's champion; when Butte won the 2008 title, for example, it was ranked No. 1 in both polls. Both are expected to be released Sunday.
Regardless, a beaming Jordan said he admired the group that came together to bring Butte its second state title, closing out a two-year span in which the Roadrunners have gone 22-1. "It's a motley crew, a cast of characters — they're good kids that show up every day and work," Jordan said. "They take it seriously. They take that lunchpail to work every day and that's who they've been all season. It's been really fun coaching this group."
Connect with Sports Writer Travis Souders at twitter.com/TravisSouders.
By TRAVIS SOUDERS-Sports Writer
Posted: 12/01/2013 12:24:07 AM PST
BUTTE VALLEY — The Butte College football team is the Northern Division champion.
The Roadrunners still aren't done yet.
Thomas Stuart threw five touchdown passes and the Roadrunners, ranked No. 1 in the state in the CCCFCA coaches' poll, beat fifth-ranked Fresno 41-21 in the Gridiron Classic Bowl on Saturday at Cowan Stadium to earn a spot in the California junior college championship game Dec. 14 against Fullerton, which beat Riverside 23-14. "We're really excited. We've been working toward this all year since spring," Stuart said. "It's great to see the fruits of your labor."
Stuart was a touchdown shy of matching Aaron Rodgers' single-game record of six, though he had four in the first half. He was 9 of 14 passing for 181 yards and no interceptions, hitting six different receivers while five of them scored touchdowns. He connected on first-quarter strikes to Wes McCoy for 37 yards and C.J. Grice for 30 to give Butte a 14-0 lead it never abdicated.
The Roadrunners (11-0) will now get a shot at No. 2 Fullerton at Cowan Stadium on Dec. 14 in the state title game, the first time Butte will be on that stage since their national championship season in 2008. "There's only two teams left going to be playing, and we're fortunate it's going to be us," Butte head coach Jeff Jordan said. "This is great for our college, great for Butte nation, and it's exciting. I'm really happy for these players and my coaching staff, because they've worked really hard." David Brannon, Timazray Shepherd and Jon Parks all hauled in scoring passes from Stuart, with Shepherd's coming on a 42-yard bomb immediately after Jariah Booker picked off Fresno quarterback Marcus Montero near midfield in the second quarter. All told, Butte scored 20 points off turnovers — three Montero interceptions and a Ram fumble — and that was literally the difference in the game.
"We took advantage of things when we had the opportunity," Jordan said. "I thought we came out the way we needed to. We wanted to get up on them early and force them to change their offensive style, and they did some." Indeed, Montero easily surpassed his season high in pass attempts, throwing for 352 yards on 27-of-50 passing with a touchdown to Brayden Sanchez in the third quarter from 18 yards. But Montero also was picked off by Booker to set up Shepherd's score, and Parks snatched Stuart's back-corner fade from 12 yards out at the end of the third period right after Anderson intercepted a shallow Montero toss in Fresno territory. Unlike most of Butte's opposition in this dominant season it's enjoyed, the Rams (7-4) weren't buried early — in fact, when Montero snuck in from 2 yards out at 9:25 in the second quarter, Fresno found itself down just 14-7 and a big play away from tying it up. Instead, Stuart hit Brannon on a 5-yard cross to make it 21-7 at the 5:51 mark of the second period, the first of 21 straight points for the Roadrunners that pushed the game out of reach for the Rams, despite the guests creating loads of offense. But, as has been the case all year, big numbers didn't equal big scoring for Butte's opponent. So while the Roadrunners stagnated with just six points after McCoy's 95-yard halftime kickoff return for a touchdown, it scarcely mattered. "I can't say enough about the defense in the second half. They played their heart out," Stuart said. "They got us some really big stops when we needed it. I feel like the offense kinda let us down late in the game, so it's a great team win." Shepherd, a wide receiver and return specialist, was Butte's leading rusher with 62 yards on two carries on a day the Roadrunner rushing corps was slowed by Fresno's able defensive line. Now, Butte gets another two weeks to prepare for Fullerton, the Southern Division champion that also can boast an undefeated record at 12-0. In a format where the host alternates annually, the Roadrunners have the luxury of staying home this time around. Unlike the 2008 season, Butte will not enter the state title game with a chance to earn a national championship. In 2008, two national polls had the Roadrunners as the consensus No. 1 team in the country; this year, Butte is ranked No. 3 in the JCGridiron.com national poll, behind Fullerton and East Mississippi, and the latter is already set to face Georgia Military for the NJCAA title on Dec. 8. Nonetheless, the sense of accomplishment for the Roadrunners on Saturday was substantial — after all, Butte is now in the midst of a 21-1 run over two seasons, the first two-year group ever to do that in the program. "We need to keep cleaning things up and we've got a lot of work to do these next couple weeks," Jordan said. "We know we can tighten it up a little bit. But I'm really happy we get the opportunity to keep playing."
By TRAVIS SOUDERS-Sports Writer
Posted: 11/17/2013 12:31:52 AM PST
BUTTE VALLEY — Sharing is overrated.
Top-ranked Butte smashed NorCal Conference rival City College of San Francisco 47-18 on Saturday at Cowan Stadium, winning the conference outright and securing a berth to the Northern Division championship game on Nov. 30 against Fresno City College, which won the Valley Conference on Saturday. A year ago, one-loss Butte was shut out by two playoff points. This time around, the Roadrunners (10-0, 5-0 NorCal) left no doubt as to who the best team in the conference was this season. C.J. Grice had five catches for 109 yards with touchdowns of 19 and 34 yards, Tommy Stuart completed 15 of his 18 pass attempts for 203 yards and three touchdowns and Butte rushed for 234 yards after a slow start on the ground to ruin any hopes for No. 2 San Mateo, desperately hoping for a win by the Rams (7-3, 3-2) to muddle up the playoff picture. Instead, Butte turned in yet another signature performance in a magical season full of them, forcing five turnovers while never giving away one. "I never know what to expect anymore," Butte head coach Jeff Jordan said. "Just unbelievable efforts all around, and I'm really proud of the character of our kids and my coaching staff. They all show up for work every day, and they showed up again today." Faced with the challenge of slowing the conference's leading passer, Turner Baty, the Roadrunners were more than equal to the task, picking him off three times, sacking him twice and never letting the Rams get into any kind of sustained offensive rhythm. Deonte Flemings had perhaps his best game of the season, with six tackles, a pass breakup and two interceptions, including one that he returned 22 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to put a cherry on top of an admittedly sweet win for the Roadrunners.
Even Jordan, who so dearly loves to keep his team grounded when it comes to its own perception, gave an inch when asked if this was a "statement" victory.
"....Maybe," he said with a smile. "Maybe. I just know we achieved our second goal, to be the outright NorCal champions, and that we controlled our own destiny and came through. To do that is exciting." Over the years, this quality San Francisco program has given Butte fits in critical games; the last time the Rams were in Butte Valley, they trucked the Roadrunners and ruined what was otherwise a perfect season. No such outcome was on the docket this time around, as the hosts took a 7-6 lead on Grice's 19-yard touchdown pass 5 minutes in after Baty's 10-yard scoring throw to Xavier Amey, and never looked back. Butte scored 31 straight points until the Rams finally answered back with 1:15 left in the third quarter, and by then, it was too late. Robert Frazier led the Roadrunners with 78 rushing yards and Marvel Harris added 75 more with a touchdown to lead the Butte run game, which averaged under 2 yards per carry in the first half but broke free in the second. Rigoberto Sanchez had field goals of 25, 25 and 22 yards before Stuart hit Richard Murphy on an 8-yard touchdown pass with 5 minutes to play in the third period to make it 31-6. After Harris' 5-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter, Flemings snagged Baty's first throw of the ensuing drive and returned it all the way for the score.
"We had a good game plan for him," Flemings said. "He's a good player, he has good chemistry with his receivers, but we knew we could force some turnovers and capitalize on them." Amey led City with six catches for 77 yards, and Baty still ended up around his season averages, with 291 yards on 30-of-50 pass attempts and three touchdowns. But the Rams fumbled twice in the first half and lost them both, and those big swings in momentum were absolute killers for the visitors. Even when the Rams got their third touchdown in the fourth quarter, there was a setback — Flemings picked off Baty's 2-point conversion attempt and returned it for a score. "Deonte Flemings played an unbelievable ballgame. Wes (McCoy), Chris Edwards. So many good efforts," Jordan said. "I'm really happy for our guys, because they deserve it." Butte now turns its attention to a place it's been trying to block out all year — the postseason. The Roadrunners will play host to Fresno (7-3), which won the Valley Conference by virtue of a Sierra upset over conference-leading American River. ARC had a 3-1 record in the conference, including a head-to-head win over Fresno, so a win Saturday would have sent the Beavers to Cowan on Nov. 30. Instead, Sierra knocked off ARC and Fresno (4-1 Valley) throttled Sequoias 78-42, its third straight victory, to force a Northern Division showdown against the Roadrunners for the right to play for a state title. "We're up for the competition, for any team," Flemings said. "We need to focus on whoever it is like we did this week and just be ready to play."
By TRAVIS SOUDERS-Sports Writer
POSTED: 11/10/2013 01:45:21 AM PST
LOS ALTOS HILLS — The best defense is a good offense. The best offense is a good defense.
Whatever. The No. 1 Butte College football team excels in both, and the Roadrunners are the NorCal Conference champions with or without a nifty phrase to summarize it.
Butte set a school record for points scored in a game and in a season on Saturday, pounding Foothill 84-7 in its most lopsided win of its still-perfect season. The Roadrunners (9-0, 4-0 NorCal) can do no worse than tie for a share of the conference, and will set up an outright berth to the state playoff game if they can beat City College of San Francisco next week at Cowan Stadium.
This weekend, though, Butte can enjoy the memories of its win over the Owls (2-7, 0-4) — and there will be plenty of them. Tommy Stuart completed 14 of his 18 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns, and the Butte defense returned three interceptions for touchdowns in a track meet that never saw Foothill get off the starting blocks. From the moment Kendall Williams gave the Roadrunners their first lead at 8:50 in the first quarter with his first touchdown run, a 4-yarder, Butte was in control. Williams added a 53-yard score later in the game as well, and Timazray Shepherd took an end-around 42 yards to the end zone to make it 28-0 in the first quarter.
"One of our goals is to get a piece of the NorCal championship, and we were able to do that today," Butte College coach Jeff Jordan said. "We've been wanting to get off to a faster start, too, so it was good to see that."Jariah Booker, Denzel Conyers and Deonte Flemings all picked off Foothill quarterback Richie Mathieson — the Owls' fourth-stringer who truly is a tight end — and each returned it for a score, helping pad the point total that eclipsed Butte's former record of 73. With starting cornerback Wes McCoy out of action with an injured shoulder, the Roadrunner secondary more than made up for his absence, limiting Mathieson to 10-of-24 passing for 99 yards. Only Sammy Fanua's goal-line dive in the second quarter served to keep the Owls from being shut out."We came out as a team, did what we had to do — everyone stayed focused, played their role and finished out strong," Flemings said. "Everybody had good chemistry. People stepped up big time."Jon Parks, David Brannon and C.J. Grice each hauled in a long touchdown pass for Butte — Grice's was a 49-yarder on the first play of Butte's second drive; Brannon scored a 42-yarder 2 minutes later and Parks' came on a 34-yard bomb from Eric Ascencio in the third quarter. It was by far the most productive performance from the receiving corps this season, one so heavily highlighted by strong rushing games."(Receivers coach Bobby Bernal) told us this week to be ready, that this would be our best game of the season," Parks said. "We knew we had to have a hard week of practice and make the most of it." On top of that, reserve backs Michael Faggett and Quinta Thomas added touchdown runs to the mix for Butte, which forced six turnovers and churned out more than 500 yards of offense." Everybody got to play, and lot of kids got involved, which was great," Jordan said. "It was neat to be able to get those kids an opportunity."
By TRAVIS SOUDERS-Sports Writer
Posted: 11/03/2013 01:05:50 AM PDT
BUTTE VALLEY — So dominant all year long, with such gaudy numbers on both sides of the ball, the No. 1 state-ranked Butte College football team finally found itself in a a tight matchup with another heavyweight contender. In the end, it came down to what coach Jeff Jordan always insists is so important: assignment football. Tyler Adair stopped Casey Wichman short of the goal line as time expired and the Roadrunners maintained their perfect season by beating No. 3 San Mateo 28-20 on Saturday at Cowan Stadium. Every bit the marquee matchup one might expect from two undefeated teams in conference action, this one lived up to its billing as the Roadrunners (8-0, 3-0 NorCal Conference) came up with just enough big plays to hold off the Bulldogs (7-1, 2-1) in an otherwise physical, slug-it-out affair typical of the two hardest-hitting teams in the region. "They needed two yards, and, well, they didn't get it," a smiling Jordan said. "I'm so happy with our defensive effort. They're such a physical ballclub, so to get that stop, in that situation, that was awesome. We knew it'd take a great team effort, because that's as good of a team as I've seen in a long, long time." San Mateo had cut a 28-14 lead down to an eight-point game with 10:04 left in the third quarter, when Wichman, the Bulldogs' quarterback, took an option keeper and jetted 93 yards on a third-and-2 play all the way to the end zone. It was the last scoring play of the game, but a loud, rowdy Cowan audience was forced to wait to the very end to discover that. San Mateo put together one final drive in the game's waning moments, with a big 26-yard reception by Kevin Kutchera that brought the Bulldogs to a first-and-goal situation from the 8 with 1:53 to go. San Mateo's vaunted triple option attack, which put together 397 rushing yards on the afternoon, could not pick up the final four — three straight runs brought up the fourth-and-goal play and, after each team took a timeout with four seconds left to prepare for it, Wichman faked a handoff, ran right for 2 yards, and met Adair, who bulled forward to snag the quarterback and deliver the game's biggest tackle. "I was coming down on the edge, just doing my job, and it was my time," Adair said. "The tackles blew up the guards like they were asked, he was right there and I scooped him up." Butte built its lead on big plays, the final one being Wes McCoy's 92-yard return of the halftime kickoff for a touchdown. That play, along with Tommy Stuart's 14-yard touchdown pass to Jon Parks at the end of the first half, bookended the intermission and also gave Butte 14 points in the span of 28 game seconds.
Indeed, this matchup was by no means devoid of action, but while some Roadrunner fans might have found it jarring to not be up 21 points throughout regulation, as has been Butte's norm so far this year, the players and coaches themselves certainly knew they had a battle on their hands. Attrition was the name of the game throughout the second half, with just McCoy's kickoff and Wichman's long run standing out. In between, San Mateo's massive, talented offensive and defensive lines did their fair share of punishing, limiting Butte's normally dominant run game to just 127 yards and 3 yards per carry while the Bulldog offense rushed at nearly 7 yards per tote. "Hey, this is what we came here to do, play smashmouth football," Adair said. "All these boys want to do is hit, so we love games like this." Butte's defense, as it's done all year, stiffened when it needed to most. San Mateo had another shot at points in its penultimate possession, an eight-play, 51-yard drive that took up 3:11 in the fourth quarter. But on fourth-and-goal, Wichman's fade to the end zone for Raeshawn Lee, very nearly hauled in by the Bulldog receiver, was instead ripped away by McCoy on the way down. The Roadrunners got off to a hot start, building a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. After a first-quarter touchdown run by Stuart from 1 yard out, Butte employed one of its patented gadget plays, with wide receiver C.J. Grice taking a handoff on a reverse and then finding wide-open tight end Bo Brummel for a 21-yard touchdown. It was Grice's second touchdown pass of the season. As expected, however, San Mateo countered. George Naufahu ripped a 67-yard touchdown run at the 6:22 mark of the second period, and after a Butte three-and-out, he struck again, scoring on a 17-yard dash to even it at 14 with 4:03 left in the half. The Bulldogs never led, though, and once Stuart hit Parks 13 seconds before halftime, the Roadrunners didn't look back. Of course, to Butte, the only numbers that matter are these ones: 8 and 0, and with two games left, the state's top-ranked team can feel its momentum potentially building toward a big postseason. "We all came here to play big games and get big wins. It's a great feeling," Adair said. "This is exactly where we want to be."
By TRAVIS SOUDERS-Sports Writer
Posted: 10/26/2013 06:55:29 PM PDT
BUTTE VALLEY — With each spread-'em-out, 90-play offense the Butte College football team sees, the more important it seems like the Roadrunners' tried-and-true method of ground and pound is. The passing game might be all the rage these days. But Butte is sticking to its guns — and it's paying off. Kendall Williams had 211 rushing yards on 25 carries to lead another 300-yard running day for Butte, and the Roadrunners beat De Anza 52-21 on Saturday at Cowan Stadium to improve to 7-0, setting up a matchup of undefeateds next weekend when San Mateo comes to town. "The team needed me, so I stepped up," Williams said. "I just have to put it all on my O-line. They make it easy for me." Williams, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Louisiana product that wasn't even the starter at the beginning of the season, filled in for a second straight week for injured Robert Frazier and was the offensive engine for the Roadrunners (7-0, 2-0 NorCal Conference). Its wagon securely fixed to its powerful tailback, Butte ran over the pass-happy Dons (3-4, 0-2) in front of 1,475 in Butte Valley as Armand Bokitch added a pair of short touchdowns of his own. Bokitch's first score, a 1-yard dive, came at the 10:46 mark of the first quarter and was the first of five scoring drives the Roadrunners put together before De Anza could answer. Tommy Stuart's goal-line keeper inside of 7 minutes in the first quarter made it 14-0, and after Rigoberto Sanchez kicked a 50-yard field goal into the wind at 10:33 in the second period, C.J. Grice opened things up to 24-0 when he returned a Don punt 61 yards for a touchdown a minute before halftime. Not until Bokitch poked in another TD run, this time a 3-yarder on Butte's opening drive of the second half, did the Dons respond. Bryan Fobbs, who had a monster individual day with 14 catches for 152 yards, caught a 9-yard touchdown pass at 7:18 in the third quarter and, just a minute later, Tyler Lucas caught one from 4 yards out from quarterback Jack Singler, who finished with 273 yards on 36-of-59 passing. He added another touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, a 12-yarder to Tarik Ballard, but by then it was just about making the score more respectable. Stuart threw touchdown passes to Bo Brummel and David Brannon, the latter on a short slant that saw Brannon slip a tackle and outrun the entire De Anza defense for an 83-yard score. Williams capped off the game at the 9:25 mark in the fourth quarter, ripping a 65-yard touchdown run up the left sideline. "You can have big plays, create 80-yard and 50-yard touchdowns and stuff, in the run game," Jordan said. "That's just our belief. They blitzed every down, they gave us multiple fronts and caused us issues, but we talked about being patient and boom, we started to pop some big ones." It was a small measure of revenge for the Roadrunners, who have won 11 straight and 23 of their last 24. The one loss in that run happened just a year ago in Cupertino, to the Dons. A sharp focus from the opening kickoff and an overwhelming performance from the offensive line — Butte rushed for nearly 7 yards per carry — made sure the result didn't repeat itself. "Our biggest emphasis during the week is always to be the more physical team, and it happened today," Brummel said. "The points show that, and that's a big part of the reason we can run the ball so well. It's our game plan and it's just what we do." Tasked with covering Fobbs, the most prolific receiver in the conference because of his uncanny route-running and ability to get open, Butte cornerback Deonte Flemings had his work cut out for him. Fobbs got his numbers, yes, but Flemings never let him go over the top for the big play, didn't miss a single tackle on the underneath routes and even had a pass break-up in the end zone that prevented points in the first half when the game was still somewhat close. "He had some really good coverage on him, and I was happy even when they completed 5-yarders, because he came up and made the tackle," Jordan said. "You can get as many individual stats as you want, but we're more concerned with the team stuff."
By TRAVIS SOUDERS-Sports Writer
Posted: 09/22/2013 12:26:26 AM PDT
The Butte College football team, ranked No. 2 in the state in the CCCFCA coaches' poll, overpowered rival Shasta College 65-0 on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. With a charged-up defensive unit that allowed just six rushing yards and that forced five turnovers, the Roadrunners (3-0) handed the Knights (2-1) their first loss of the year in brutal fashion.
"We wanted to get better this week, and with the exception of three or four series, I thought we did," Butte head coach Jeff Jordan said. "We were able to get a lot of our backups in and get them better, and we're going to need that. As you know, it gets to be physical football now."
Indeed, there's nothing but ranked teams the rest of the way for Butte, and surely tougher competition than what the Roadrunners have seen thus far. In the meantime, a thumping of Butte's longtime neighbor to the north was just fine. Butte racked up 522 yards of total offense, including 114 yards on the ground from Robert Frazier and 112 more from Kendall Williams, with each of the two backs scoring a touchdown. Tommy Stuart was 9 of 13 passing for 147 yards and two touchdowns, and Rigoberto Sanchez accounted for 17 of the Roadrunners' points with his kicking leg alone. Orland high product Austin Schmeltzer made the occasional big play for the Knights at quarterback, but his protection was shredded by Butte's defensive relentlessness. He ended up going 10 of 26 with two interceptions for 172 yards.
"All three phases, staying disciplined was important," linebacker Kyjuan Tate said. "We had to play to our tempo. Coach J stressed all week, 'Don't play your competition's tempo.'"
The Roadrunners, sure enough, established their own offensive pace quickly. It worked. Butte scored on each of its first-half drives but the last, with Stuart's 21-yard touchdown pass to Bo Brummel kicking off the offensive fireworks for the Roadrunners. Two Sanchez field goals, of 30 and 26 yards, flew through the uprights before Williams scored on a 13-yard rumble at 1:21 to close out the first-quarter scoring. Stuart then hit David Brannon on a 29-yard TD strike early in the second period, before Butte's defense got in on the act. Deonte Flemings picked off Schmeltzer and returned it 73 yards for a touchdown before another Sanchez field goal and Frazier's 54-yard TD run bloated it to laugher status, all before halftime. Marvel Harris added 58 yards on seven carries for Butte. Shasta's run game, not its priority in the first place, was nonexistent against Butte's fierce front six. Terrell Howard had a couple punishing runs, but he ended up being the Knights' leading rusher with 29 yards on 12 carries, and as team stats go, those were wiped out by the 29 Schmeltzer lost in sacks. Pleasant Valley High grad Eric Ascencio got his first collegiate TD pass in the fourth quarter, an 18-yard slant to C.J. Grice. Ascencio repeated the feat 6 minutes later, hitting Jalen Amis with 8:09 left to play. "We accomplished our goal — we got a win and we improved in a lot of areas," Jordan said. "I'm really pleased that our defense closed it out the right way."
By TRAVIS SOUDERS-Sports Writer
Posted: 09/15/2013 12:30:08 AM PDT
BUTTE VALLEY — The Butte College football team's offense had trouble finding its rhythm in the first half of its game Saturday against College of the Siskiyous. The Roadrunner defense bought it plenty of time. Ryan Holland's interception return for a touchdown, one of two picks on the day for the Corning High grad, started the scoring and it all snowballed from there in Butte's 45-14 rout of the Eagles at Cowan Stadium in the Roadrunners' home opener.
Butte (2-0), ranked No. 2 in the state and in NorCal in the CCCFCA coaches poll, held just a 14-0 lead at halftime and was lucky to have it, in truth. The Roadrunners were gifted a fourth timeout and an extra play at the end of the first half, and to their credit, they made the most of it when Tommy Stuart hit Timazray Shepherd on a 45-yard touchdown pass as time expired. But before that it was Holland's big play, a 25-yard pick-6 of Warren Johnson with 3:05 left in the second quarter, that jolted the Roadrunners, bogged down by the Eagles (1-1, No. 13 in NorCal) for most of the first half, to life. "I was just doing my job. It was the defensive call, and the defensive line made a great play to pressure the quarterback," Holland said. "I jumped it and happened to make the play." After that, Butte was unstoppable, racking up all 45 of its points in the final three quarters and threatening a shutout until there was 3 minutes left in the game. "It took our offense a while to get going, but our defense kept at it, play after play, series after series," Butte head coach Jeff Jordan said. "They did an unbelievable job. I couldn't be more proud of our defense. Ryan Holland is a guy who goes out there and does what he's coached to do, and then he was able to make something happen. That was a spark plug for our whole team today." Stuart was vastly improved from a week ago, completing 16 of his 24 passes for 225 yards with two touchdown throws; he also ran for a 3-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. His bomb to Shepherd improbably came one play after a 30-yard strike to Terez Cowan was negated by a penalty; he also hit Richard Murphy on a 22-yard pass off a flea-flicker that found the tight end wide open in the end zone. Butte's scoring was frequent and varied: Rigoberto Sanchez hit a 47-yard field goal, Wes McCoy ran in a 4-yard touchdown run from the single-back "Razor" formation and Michael Faggett burst forth with a 15-yard score. And while Butte didn't enjoy the rampaging rushing attack it imposed on Feather River in Week 1, the Roadrunners still ran for 238 yards at nearly 6 yards per carry. Kendall Williams led with 72 yards on 11 carries, while Faggett made the most of his three touches with 66 yards. Armand Bokitch added 55 yards on the ground. "(Siskiyous) gave us a few different fronts defensively, and it just came down to our conditioning," Jordan said. "We made a couple adjustments in the run game (after halftime), audibled a little better and really just made some plays. We made the catches we needed to, made a guy miss when we needed to, and a lot of those our defense set up for us." The Roadrunners forced three turnovers and sacked Johnson three times, including two by Tyler Adair, who has shone in his first two games on the defensive line for Butte. Johnson took over for Levi Cox, who left in the first quarter — reportedly with a broken arm — and wound up with a 10-of-21 passing line for 112 yards and a touchdown. But he also was picked twice by Holland, who knew the ball would be coming his way both times as he sat in zone coverage and waited for the Roadrunner line to flush Johnson from the pocket. "We knew they'd do a couple different things, try to pass to ball because we shut down their 'Power,'" Holland said, referring to Siskiyous' meager 2.3 yards-per-carry average. "We made good adjustments as a defense and played as a whole unit."
By TRAVIS SOUDERS-Sports Writer
Posted: 09/08/2013 12:09:25 AM PDT
QUINCY — The Butte College football team's offense all but completely grounded in its season opener. The Roadrunners wouldn't have it any other way. Butte, ranked No. 2 in the state in the CCCFCA coaches' poll and No. 1 in Northern California, racked up 435 rushing yards and dominated in a 45-14 victory over Feather River on Saturday night at the Eagles' Nest. Led by freshman tailback Robert Frazier, who had 18 carries for 145 yards, and backfield partner Kendall Williams, who had 135 yards on his 12 carries, including an 84-yard touchdown, Butte only built on a 17-0 halftime lead as it flexed its muscle on the ground. "It's gotta be fun to be a tailback in our offense," Butte head coach Jeff Jordan said. "It's no secret, that's what we do, that's Butte College football. I don't know what the stats are, don't really care, but what I care about is what they did with the ball and it was awesome."
For good measure, Armand Bokitch added 91 yards on seven carries in support of Frazier and Williams carrying the load. Frazier broke two long touchdown runs, from 33 and 32 yards, and Williams' 84-yard scoring dash in the third quarter snipped away any hope the Golden Eagles, stuffed offensively for most of the night, had of mounting an already improbable comeback. Butte's defense, with new faces in key spots, shone as well. Sie Doe Jr. emerged as a defensive star on Saturday night, with a pair of sacks, nine total tackles and four tackles-for-loss. Along with the strong play of Tyler Adair and Mike Fratianni, the Roadrunner defense got off to a rollicking start. "People don't understand — playing for Butte isn't just putting on a uniform," said Doe, clearly charged up from the victory. "There's a lot that goes into playing for this team. Everything is earned, every position is earned. We work harder than anybody and it's a blessing to be part of this win."
Where Tommy Stuart had his ups and downs as Butte's quarterback in his debut — he went 9 of 19 for just 97 yards with two picks and a touchdown pass to Jon Parks — there was little need for any kind of aerial attack for Butte. They simply ran, and ran, and ran again until they wore down the Golden Eagles' defense.
And aside from Farrell Victor's fine performance out of Feather River's backfield (he had 80 yards on 26 carries with a touchdown), the hosts' offense sputtered most of the night against Butte's defensive front. Feather River had just 37 total rushing yards on 41 tries, with 163 yards of total offense. "Our defense put us in a lot of great situations where we could be successful," Jordan said. Stuart also added a goal-line touchdown run, while Marvel Harris scored from 2 yards out with 23 seconds left to round out Butte's scoring. As hot as the Roadrunners' start was, the second half was an avalanche of offense, with visibly gassed Feather River struggling to keep Butte's run game in check.
By TRAVIS SOUDERS-Sports Writer
Posted: 09/08/2013 08:01:48 PM PDT
QUINCY — The most impressive overall performance from Butte's opener is up for debate, because there were so many strong ones. But there's no questioning that Robert Frazier's play from start to finish was a catalyst in the Roadrunners' opening-day victory over Feather River on Saturday night.
Frazier ran for 145 yards with two touchdowns, from 33 and 32 yards, pacing Butte's dominant run game. The Elk Grove product displayed speed, decisiveness and vision as the Roadrunners' lead tailback. He gave the credit to the offensive line. "Our linemen blocked great. It was great for me to get used to the speed of the game," he said. "They were opening up holes, making it easy for me to read. I was able to get used to the speed of it and it got easier."
Butte's dedication to the run game was a pleasant surprise for Frazier, who said he had heard that Butte's program revolved around power offense but didn't quite get to see it firsthand until camp started this season. Determined to make a name for himself away from home and thus looking beyond Sacramento-area recruiting powers Sacramento City and American River, Frazier said he was 100-percent dedicated to Butte from the minute the two sides were in contact.
"I'd heard throughout high school about the run game, did my research and knew this is where I wanted to be," Frazier said. "Our first game kind of showed that. They show good trust in the running backs and we had a good night on the ground."
Indeed, Frazier wasn't alone. Backfield mates Kendall Williams (135 yards) and Armand Bokitch (90 yards) picked up the slack and then some when Butte's starting tailback wasn't on the field, and Frazier said he's certain he'll be pushed all year long.
"You can't take a day off here. The depth chart can change at any moment," he said. "It's a good thing to have, that competition." Frazier said the season opener could be an indicator of Butte's success this season, particularly because so many of the "little things" — blocking assignments, play-calling and other adjustments usually not perfected until late in the season — seemed to be ahead of schedule. And, more than that, the talent screams out. "I feel this team has something special," Frazier said. "Everybody's all in and committed and we're looking great."