By Phil Thurman, Fullerton College Sports Information
Fullerton, CA -- The 2016 CCCAA State Championship features two teams that fought their way to the top becoming regional champions. The Southern California champs, Fullerton College and the Northern California champs American College will meet for the first time since the 1967 season, when both teams battled it out at Anaheim Stadium before 10,000 fans.
The Beavers and Hornets have played each other only one time, and that was the State Championship game in 1967. After narrowly defeating Bakersfield College 14-13 at Bakersfield, the Hornets hosted ARC at Anaheim Stadium and cruised past the Owls 41-0.
The American River Beavers (10-2 overall) enter the state title game for the second time in their program's history. Like the first time in 1967, they face the Hornets of Fullerton College. The Beaver's 2016 season has been a very successful one losing only two games under head coach Jon Osterhout. Their first loss was at the hands of last season's state champion San Francisco City College (51-36). The second loss for ARC was against this season's National Conference champion Butte College (21-14) in double overtime back on November 5th. Last week's 15-9 revenge-victory over Butte in the NCFA Championship was even sweeter for the Beavers as it propelled them to the state title game.
American River's offensive unit averages 29 points a game. They average 216 yards in the air and 163.8 on the ground. Defensively, the Beavers hold their opponents to 221 yards per game in passing and 145.1 on the ground.
ARC's freshman quarterback Griffin Dahn has guided the Beaver offense passing for 2,111 yards (132 comps. – 279 atts.) for 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Dahn is also second on the team in rushing with 492 yards on 146 carries with 9 TDs. Leading the way on the ground is sophomore running back Ce'von Mitchell-Ford. Ford has amassed 665 yards on 118 carries with 2 touchdowns. Sophomore RB Wadus Parker will also be a factor rushing for 365 yards on 64 carries with 2 TDs. ARC has a slew of receivers in Namani Parker (33 catches, 483 yards, 5 TDs), Damen Wheeler (26 catches, 512 yards, 4 TDs), Torian Williams (21 catches, 325 yards, 5 TDs), Lee Reed (18 catches, 270 yards, 2 TDs), Daliceo Calloway (17 catches, 245 yards, 2 TDs), and Jabarri Johnson (14 catches, 208 yards, 1 TD) that can hurt any team in the air.
Leading the Beaver defense is freshman linebacker Rahsaan York with 83 tackles. Sophomore defensive back Moises Valcarcel is right behind with 81 tackles. Sophomore defensive lineman Antony Luke has 66 tackles and leads ARC with 4 sacks. Sophomore defensive back Sammy Gray has 62 tackles and leads the team with 4 interceptions.
The Fullerton College Hornets (11-1 overall) will play in their fifth state championship, their second in the last four years. Ranked #1 in the south, Fullerton's lone loss came from Saddleback College (30-27) back on October 22nd. Celebrating their 100th anniversary, the Hornets made it back to the state championship after beating #2 Riverside City College 45-29 in last week's SCFA title game. Fullerton is the 2016 Southern Conference Co-Champions along with Saddleback College. The conference title is FC's sixth in the last nine seasons under head coach Tim Byrnes.