The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
The College of San Mateo’s Sam Atoe got the touchdown party started — John Willis and Aaron Criswell kept it going.
CSM football moved to 4-0 on Saturday, traveling to Modesto and picking up a 60-35 victory. The Bulldogs sandwiched 21 points with a couple of huge 20-point quarters to begin and end the game. The CSM defense shut down Modesto in the final period after they had trimmed the Bulldog lead to just five points.
Modesto scored first with 8:57 left in the first quarter on a 17-yard touchdown pass.
But CSM responded immediately when Atoe took the ensuing kick-off and raced into the end zone on a 93-yard touchdown — the Bulldogs dominated for the rest of the half.
Criswell and Willis hooked up six minutes later on a 41-yard pitch and catch to make it 14-7 and just before the first quarter whistle, Quincy Nelson, who rushed for 159 yards in the win, used five of those yards to make it 20-7.
Criswell and Willis continued making beautiful touchdown music come the second quarter. Less than two minutes in, the duo dialed up a 60-yard touchdown, increasing CSM’s lead to 20 points. Kenya Price got in on the fun with 6:52 left in the half, taking the ball 30 yards to the house for another Bulldog touchdown. CSM looked in complete control.
But Modesto got a huge touchdown just before the half on a 22-yard run by Herb Whitehurst.
Modesto took that momentum and outscored CSM 21-6 in the third quarter. Jordan Dabney’s catch from Teejay Gordon with 29 seconds left in the period made it 40-35.
But Willis and Criswell put the CSM offense on their backs during the game’s biggest drive. The tandem found one another on a huge 41-yard catch that set up Willis’ 2-yard touchdown run to make it 46-35 with 14:20 left in the game.
From there, the CSM defense stepped up. They held Modesto to just four first downs in the fourth period. Willis added another touchdown run, this one from a yard away to cap a 10-play, 71-yard drive. He’d get into the end zone one more time with 3:07 left in the game to ice the win for CSM.
Willis finished with 209 yards passing and 37 on the ground. Criswell caught five of Willis’ eight passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns.
There were 25 total penalties in the game for 314 yards.