After four blowout wins, Saturday's victory was anything but easy for the Rams, who entered ranked #1 in the North by the CCCAA, #1 in the state by the JC Athletic Bureau and #1 in the nation by JCFootball.com. The Delta Mustangs entered 3-1, ranked #10 in the North, and earned a great measure of respect in what was nearly the upset of the season so far in JC football.
CCSF managed just one touchdown, which came on a 94-yard drive just after the Ram defense stopped Delta on 4th down as the Mustangs tried to extend its lead to 14-3. And CCSF got two field goals in the final 13 seconds of the first half, which turned out to be the final margin of victory. CCSF didn't score a point - or even come close, for that matter - in the second half and maintained the lead thanks to a blocked field goal early in the fourth quarter and an interception in the final minute.
Neither team scored in the first period, during which CCSF seemingly paid tribute to the late Al Davis and his rough-n-tough Raider teams by committing 8 penalties. CCSF had a field goal attempt from 47 yards out, but Castaneda's kick appeared to be tipped by the finger of a leaping Damion McMiller and sailed well wide to the left. The Rams also took what appeared to be a rather dicey gamble, going for a first down and coming up short at their own 32 midway through the quarter. But on the very next play, Darvin McCauley intercepted a Sam Hutsell pass to get the ball back and negate the Delta scoring threat.
Delta took a 7-0 lead early in the third quarter when backup quarterback Dennis Johnson scored on a 1-yard keeper, capping a short drive that started when Jeffrey Carter stripped CCSF receiver Dezmon Epps of the ball and Marc Porras recovered at the Ram 35. CCSF answered with an 11-play drive that stalled at the Delta 5 when Caleb Holley made a catch in the end zone but was ruled out of bounds, but the Rams came away with a field goal when Castaneda connected from 27 yards out and made it 7-3.
Delta nearly pushed its lead to double digits, capitalizing on a 41-yard kickoff return by Jack Killian and driving deep into CCSF territory behind the running of Johnson. But on 4th and 1 from the 5, Johnson tried one more keeper and CCSF's Steve Hill threw him for a 1-yard loss, giving the Rams the ball, still trailing by just four points.
That defensive stand seemed to inspire the CCSF offense, which went on its only touchdown drive of the game to take a 10-7 lead. It took 10 plays to cover the 94 yards, with Baty tossing a 12-yard scoring pass to Kyani Harris with 1:56 left to cap the drive.
Delta took the ensuing kickoff, but went three-and-out with CCSF using a pair of timeouts to conserve time. And that strategy worked, as the Rams got the ball back at the 40 following a short punt and a personal foul penalty against Delta on the kick. A short drive led to Castaneda making a 41-yard field goal despite the Mustangs calling all three of their timeouts in an effort to ice him.
With just 13 seconds left, it seemed the half was over. But on the ensuing kickoff return, Delta's Florishon DieuJuste was stripped of the ball by Ryan Hall, and Jamal Hale recovered for CCSF at the Delta 17 with 4 seconds left. Castaneda came on to try to cash in on the break. Holder Carl Cox had trouble handling a low snap, but alertly took the ball and ran out of bounds with one second left, giving Castaneda another chance. The sophomore kicker cashed in on his chance, booting a 34-yard field goal that made it 16-7 at the half.
Amazingly, those would be CCSF's final points of the day. In fact, the Rams only made it into Delta territory once in seven possessions in the second half, turning the ball over on downs at the Mustang 23 with 6:05 left in the third quarter. But those 16 points would turn out to be just enough to get the Rams their 5th win of the season.
After forcing a CCSF punt to start the third quarter, Delta quickly cut the deficit to just two points when Johnson scored his second touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run just 4:04 into the second half. The short drive of just 45 yards was kick-started by a 37-yard punt return by Killian, and took just 6 plays, including a 23-yard run by Hutsell that got Delta a first-and-goal.
But those would be the final points of the game for either team. Delta had a chance to take a lead early in the fourth quarter, driving to the CCSF 15, but came away empty after Bradley Hatfield's 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked. It was announced that Ruben Ibarra blocked the kick, though it looked like McCauley was the Ram who actually got the block. Regardless of whose hand hit the ball, that blocked kick with 10:46 left kept the Rams from falling behind.
Delta got the ball back with 6:48 left, but faced a 4th and long from its own 11. Hatfield came on to punt, but instead lofted a long pass down the right hash marks. It fell incomplete, but the play caught CCSF by surprise and the Rams were flagged for pass interference, giving the Mustangs a first down and keeping the drive alive. However, the Mustangs soon faced 4th and 14 from their own 46, and this time punted the ball away.
After forcing another CCSF punt - the Rams' 9th of the day - the Mustangs had one last chance with 1:18 left. And a 15-yard pass from Hutsell to Jeremy Mayfield got Delta to the CCSF 43. But on the next play, Hutsell was sacked by the combination of Tyrone Ward and Steve Hill, pushing the Mustangs back to the 50. After one more imcomplete pass, the Mustangs faced another 4th down, and when Hutsell's desperation pass was intercepted by CCSF's Trenton Trammell with 14 seconds left, the Rams finally had the victory secured.
For San Francisco, Baty completed 25 of 45 passes for 271 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Deshae Edwards led all rushers with 67 yards on 17 carries. Harris led all receivers with 9 catches, good for 58 yards, and scored the Rams' only touchdown. Hill, McCauley and Marcus Pierce-Brewster led a stellar Ram defense, and Castaneda had a rather key role, booting three field goals and accounting for most of the CCSF point production.
For Delta, Hutsell completed 17 of 40 passes for 143 yards. Johnson only attempted one pass - a 20-yard completion - but rushed 7 times for 32 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Twelve different Mustangs caught at least one pass each. Carter, defensive end Joshua Banks, linebacker Nicholas Largent and McMiller were among the visible standouts for the Mustang defense.
San Francisco Rams 16
Delta Mustangs 14
Saturay, October 8, 2011 - 1 pm - Lawrence A. DeRicco Field, Stockton
D - Johnson 1 yd run (Hatfield kick) 13:40 (0-7)
SF - FG Castaneda 22 yds 9:53 (3-7)
SF - Harris 12 yd pass from Baty (Castaneda kick) 1:56 (10-7)
SF - FG Castaneda 41 yds 0:13 (13-7)
SF - FG Castaneda 34 yds 0:00 (16-7)
D - Johnson 4 yd run (Hatfield kick) 10:56 (16-14)
First Downs: Delta 20 (9 rush, 6 pass, 5 penalty), San Francisco 20 (6 rush, 11 pass, 3 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Delta 35-102, San Francisco 35-102
Passing Yds: Delta 163, San Francisco 271
Comp-Att-Int: Delta 18-41-2, San Francisco 25-45-0
Return Yds: Delta 119, San Francisco 59
Sacks-Yds: Delta 3-26, San Francisco 5-25
Fumbles-Lost: Delta 3-2, San Francisco 1-1
Penalties-Yds: Delta 13-101, San Francisco 20-170
Time of Possession: Delta 28:15, San Francisco 31:45
Rushing: D 19-Johnson 7-32, 9-Hutsell 15-32, 38-Vickers 3-21, 7-Miller 6-8, 2-Celestine 3-6, 84-Jeremy Mayfield 1-3; SF 17-Edwards 17-67, 13-B.Jantz 4-17, 7-Baty 10-17, 24-Burton 2-2, 5-Cox 1-0, team 1-(-1)
Passing: D 9-Hutsell 17-40-2-143; 19-Johnson 1-1-0-20; SF 7-Baty 25-45-0-271, 1 TD
Receiving: D 18-Killian 3-40, 84-Jeremy Mayfield 3-15, 16-Rhoads 2-20, 13-Contreras 2-18, 4-Nelson 1-20, 87-M.Brown 1-20, 2-Celestine 1-15, 5-T.Brown 1-9, 6-C.Seawell 1-6, 15-McGinnis-Parker 1-0, 34-D.Seawell 1-0, 85-Jerome Mayfield 1-0; SF 6-Harris 9-58, 12-Runner 6-59, 8-Epps 4-70, 4-Edwards 4-29, 19-McKinney 1-35, 81-Holley 1-20
Interceptions-Ret Yds: D none; SF 45-McCauley 1-0, 21-Trammell 1-0
Fum Rec-Ret Yds: D 32-Porras 1-2; SF 55-Steve Hill 1-4, 3-Hale 1-0
Sacks: D 44-Largent, 47-Saina, 98-Wilson; SF 46-Pierce-Brewster, 47-Ibarra, 48-Iosia, 99-Clark, 32-Ward 1/2, 55-Steve Hill 1/2
Punters: D 50-Hatfield 7-38.6 avg; SF 36-Sam Irwin Hill 9-41.7 avg
Kick Returns: D 18-Killian 2-70, 29-DieuJuste 1-11; SF 8-Epps 2-35, 15-Hudson 1-14
Punt Returns: D 18-Killian 4-36; SF 45-McCauley 3-6
Missed FG: D 50-Hatfield 32 yds (blk); SF 40-Castaneda 47 yds (wide left)
Notes: San Francisco entered 4-0, #1 in the North and #1 in the nation, having outscored its opponents 226-14 in the four games; Delta entered 3-1, #10 in the North. Hutsell and Baty were the starting QBs; Johnson and B. Jantz each saw action as well. And it was quite a game! CCSF turned the ball over on downs at its own 32 with 8:47 left in the 1st, but McCauley got the ball back on an interception on the next play. 58-McMiller appeared to get a finger on Castaneda's missed FGA. Delta's 1st TD came after Porras' fumble recovery (fumble caused by 20-Carter). Delta threatened to take a 14-3 lead but Johnson was stopped on 4th down on a TFL by Steve Hill; CCSF then went on a 94-yd drive for its TD. Castaneda hit his 2nd FG despite Delta calling 3 timeouts to ice him. Hale recovered a fumble on the kickoff after CCSF's 2nd FG (fumble forced by 57-Hall) with 4 seconds left. On the initial attempt, holder Cox had trouble with the snap but alertly ran out of bounds with 1 second left, allowing Castaneda to hit the FG as time ran out for the half. Delta had several chances to go ahead in the 4th qtr. But Hatfield had a field goal blocked (it was announced that Ibarra blocked it but it looked like it was really McCauley) with 10:46 left. Delta kept a drive alive with a PI penalty on a fake punt play that featured a pass thrown out of its own end zone, but had to punt the ball away with 2:44 left. Delta got the ball back one last time with 1:18 left and reached the CCSF 43, but a sack by Ward & Hill and an interception by Trammell ended the Mustangs' final threat.