The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
With the CCCAA Northern California championship game set to be played a week from Saturday over in Oroville, the College of San Mateo football team felt it was necessary to send a message to the higher powers of junior college football.
At 9-1 coming into the eighth edition of the Bothman Bulldog Bowl, every man in the CSM locker room believed they should be playing for a spot in the state championship.
So on Saturday, against a solid American River College squad, the Bulldogs decided before kick off that, come game time, they would let their football do all the talking.
And boy, it said more than a couple of mouthfuls.
The College of San Mateo set various Bulldog Bowl records en route to an absolute whopping of the Beavers. In a game that was way over before the halftime buzzer, CSM won its seventh home bowl game 75-9.
Yes, do not adjust your newspaper, the 75-9 outcome is not a misprint. Neither is the Bulldog Bowl record 675 yards of total offense by CSM — 582 of which came on the ground.
“It just shows what kind of football team this is,” said CSM assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Tim Tulloch. “This team is special. They play hard every down, it doesn’t matter the score, doesn’t matter where. And this was really the best team on the other side of the conference. This was to make a statement that we should be playing in that championship game. We should have an opportunity to do it.”
The message was loud and clear considering that the Beavers came into the game ranked in the top five (for northern California) and, in theory, they were the toughest opponent the Bulldogs could schedule for the bowl game. But, with the way CSM played on Saturday, it wouldn’t have mattered who was on the other sideline — the Bulldogs came out ready to roll through anyone.
The closest the margin of the game was four point, after American River kicked a field goal to make it 7-3. From there, the Bulldogs stepped on the accelerator and went full throttle on the Beavers.
Raeshawn Lee tied a Bulldog Bowl record before halftime by catching three touchdown passes — two from bowl Most Valuable Player Casey Wichman. Lee’s touchdown catches were the meat of a TD sandwich that included scoring runs by Offensive Player of the Game George Naufahu (11 and 8 yards), Wichman (49 yards), Dewone Young (33 yards) and a 36-yard interception return by Jordan Sheppard. Heck, even slot Quincy Nelson got in on the fun by throwing a 55-yard touchdown pass to Lee.
By the time halftime rolled around, CSM was up 48-6.
“We were able to do everything,” Wichman said of that first half. “Nothing that we called didn’t work. They never see our offense … so they’re not used to it. And, our coaches were telling us, if we think we deserve to be in the NorCal championship game, we have to make a statement today and that’s what we did.”
Naufahu, who was chasing down some career records at CSM prior to the start of the Bulldog Bowl, kept the points coming to start the third with an 8-yard touchdown run. Wichman added another touchdown with 24 second left to play in the third quarter. Then Durrell Crooks found the Promised Land with a 66-yard TD run three minutes into the fourth quarter.
The cherry (or maybe like the fourth cherry) on top was Robert Johnson’s unbelievable 73-yard touchdown dance and run that put an emphatic stamp on what will go down as the most dominating Bulldog Bowl performance ever.
Defensively, CSM held American River to 185 yards of total offense — most of which came in garbage time when the Bulldogs were already firmly ahead.
“Really, we just did the same thing we do every other week,” said defensive tackle Rika Levi. “We game planned strong and I don’t know, it turned out really, really good this week. I think the sophomores brought a lot of intensity to the game. We felt like we didn’t get what we deserved. … Our story didn’t go unrecognized.”
Levi’s line mate, former Daily Journal Athlete of the Year and El Camino Colt, Trevor Kelly, was the game’s Defensive Player of the Game.