City College head football coach Dannie Walker spoke about how only 10 games on the schedule are guaranteed. An 11th would be a bonus. The Panthers earned that extra game by going 8-2 in the regular season and were rewarded with one last home game at Hughes Stadium for the Nov. 18 Capital City Bowl.
The problem was, they were short four starters — three serving a one-game suspension from ejections last week and one with injury — and they were facing an offensive juggernaut in the San Francisco City College Rams.
Although the Panthers only trailed by 10 points at halftime, they were blanked in the second half as the Rams cruised to a 55-21 victory in the final game of the season.
Once in the NorCal Conference together, the Panthers lost to the Rams in four straight seasons from 2002–2005. Both teams came into the game with a rich bowl history. City owns 13 bowl victories, including two in the past four seasons, while San Francisco has won seven national titles since 1999.
“If you look back at the history of Northern California’s football success, it’s always been San Francisco and Sac City,” said Walker after the game. “It was good timing, in terms of where their program is and where our program is, with the traditions of both programs. It was good to compete with those guys today.”
The Panthers had no answer for San Francisco’s Isaiah Floyd. The electric freshman running back showed the Hughes Stadium crowd why he’s the state’s leader in both rushing yards and touchdowns. Floyd ran 25 times for 136 yards and four touchdowns on his way to being named the game’s most valuable player.
Panther quarterback Jayden Machado connected with Carl Marc on consecutive possessions by scoring strikes from 39 and 16 yards out in the second quarter, cutting the Panthers’ deficit to three points. But Floyd’s second touchdown of the day returned San Francisco to a 10-point lead before halftime.
Marc was named player of the game for the Panthers, with 96 receiving yards to go along with his two TD grabs.
Sophomore Panther receiver Jordan Moore reeled in a 31-yard pass from Machado during the Panthers’ first drive of the game, finally breaching the 1,000-yard plateau for Moore this season. Two plays later, Moore corralled a one-handed grab in the end zone for a Panther touchdown, knotting the game at seven. Moore left the game with an apparent foot injury shortly after, making him the fifth starter the Panthers had to relinquish for the game.
“The game didn’t turn out how we wanted it to, but the season was a success,” said City safety Christian McFarland, who had a season-high 13 tackles. “There was a lot of unity in the team this year and a lot of hard work and dedication.”
The Panthers finish the 2017 season with an 8-3 record, the team’s best standing since 2000, when City went 9-2 and won the Capital Shrine Bowl. It is the first time City has had back-to-back winning seasons since 2006–07. The results of this season are an indication of the nearly year-round work the team has put forth, according to Walker.
“It’s a testament to their commitment and dedication and sacrifice to make it through an 11-game season, which started in January,” he said. “Months and months of dedication and time for 11 games; it’s tough. I commend those guys for the time and dedication and effort that they put into this thing to get this far.”
Although the Panthers’ season is over, there is still football to be played at Hughes Stadium this year. City College will host the Dec. 9 state championship game.
In the Northern California semifinals, No. 1 seed American River College defeated Laney College and will face San Mateo, who beat College of the Siskiyous, in the Nov. 25 Northern California final. In the southern bracket, top-seeded Fullerton eliminated Saddleback, while Riverside downed Ventura. The winners of the Nov. 25 regional finals will meet in the state final at Hughes Stadium.
For more stats and info on SCC football, visit http://sccpanthers.losrios.edu/sports/fball.