The Modesto Junior College football team did something it hadn’t done in 60 years: beat City College of San Francisco.
Behind a rushing game propelled by Devan Bass and Darus Nelson, the Pirates beat the Rams 28-20 in the Golden State Bowl in San Francisco on Saturday afternoon.
“Winning a bowl game is a big deal,’ MJC coach Rusty Stivers. “We’re competing against the best teams in Northern California and having success.”
Bass rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns and Nelson had 74 yards and a TD as the Pirates held on after taking a 21-3 halftime lead.
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The Pirates hadn’t beaten CCSF since Nov. 15, 1958.
In that game, Garry Norvell scored on an 8-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to lead the Stan Pavko-coached Pirates to a 7-6 victory. Ray Podesto, Phil Larson and Jerry Campbell also made contributions on that seven-play, 65-yard winning drive that kept MJC in the hunt for the Big Eight Conference title.
Stivers said the team wasn’t aware of that fact until the week of the game, and actually he’d been receiving more calls about his opportunity to avenge a 1990 bowl loss to San Francisco when he played for MJC.
Thanks to Bass (Pitman), Nelson (Oakdale) and Austin Martins (Orestimba), a linebacker who was named the game’s most valuable player, they helped their coach come away with a victory — their first after six straight losses to the Rams over the 50 years.
This season, San Francisco beat the Pirates 49-16 in September, but this was a different MJC team that entered the stadium located at the campus in the southwest part of the city.
“We were definitely a different team,” Stiver said. “We had moved around quite a few players, and I think guys have improved during the duration of the season.”
After holding the Rams to a three-and-out to open the game (which included a Martins sack), the Pirates scored on their first two possessions — a 26-yard TD pass from Jack Weaver (East Union) to Jordan Porter (Turlock) and a Bass a 4-yard run. Another Bass 4-yard TD in the second quarter helped MJC take a 21-3 lead into halftime.
The Rams cut the lead to 21-10 before MJC essentially put the game away on a Nelson 13-yard TD run off a fly sweep with 4 minutes, 50 seconds left in the game.
The victory was another notch for a program that continues to improve with Stanislaus County athletes.
In addition to Saturday’s historic win, the Pirates this season swept three Sacramento-area teams — Sac City, American River and Sierra — for what Stivers believed to be was the first time in school history.
Stivers said there is a lot of talent in the area, and he and his staff have been working hard to recruit them. He points to star University of Colorado defensive end Mustafa Johnson, a Turlock High and MJC product, as one of the staff’s success stories.
But there are others, including running back Jay Green Jr. (Beyer) at Southern Utah, Sacramento State quarterback Wyatt Clapper (Pitman) and quarterback Danny Velasquez (Turlock), who saw action in two games this season for Portland State.
“I would say the talent pool in our area has improved and we are working really hard on keeping the kids in the area better than before,” Stivers said. “Young people are motivated to move away and do something. A lot of time, the local community college might be the last resort. But I think people are finding out you can get everything you want in your back yard.”
STAN STATE MEN: Darius Scott made two 3-pointers in the final 78 seconds to help put the game into overtime, and two of his teammates did the rest in overtime as the Stanislaus State men’s basketball team beat No. 7 Cal Poly Pomona 78-71 at Ed & Bertha Fitzpatrick Arena in Turlock on Saturday night.
Vasilije Saraba and Andy Cleaves hit treys in overtime, and the Warriors’ defense limited the Broncos to just 38.5 percent shooting from the field.
Stanislaus State improved to 4-3 overall, 1-2 in the California College Athletic Association. The Broncos fell to 3-1, 1-1.
The Warriors made five of their last six 3-pointers, including Scott’s game-tying shot from the wing with 33 seconds left in regulation.
Cleaves had 21 points, Scott 17 and Ty Davis 13 to lead the Warriors, who next play at Chico State on Thursday.
STAN STATE WOMEN: The Warrior women dropped to 1-4 overall and 1-2 in the CCAA after a 75-64 loss to Cal Poly Pomona. Kyanna Davis led Stanislaus State with 21 points. The Broncos improved to 5-1, 2-0.
On Thursday, the Warriors won their first game of the season with a 59-49 victory over Sonoma State behind behind 15 points from Angelica Baylon and 11 from Caitlin Keding.