San Mateo Hands Rams First Loss of the Season


Photo by: Ben Hensley

Rams’ sophomore running back Rico Rosario pounds the ball ahead during the Rams’ 17-3 loss against the San Mateo College Bulldogs. The loss was the first of the Rams’ 2019 season.

The Fresno City College football team dropped to 3-1 after a loss to the College of San Mateo Saturday night by a score of 17-3. 

The Rams’ evening was characterized by a 25% third down efficiency for both teams. Throughout the night, the defense kept the Bulldogs from biting too hard, but the offense was plagued by incompletions and drops. 

The first quarter was a stalemate between FCC and San Mateo, with both teams using their running game to push down the field to no avail.

“We always like to run the ball because we think we have good running backs and a good running game,” said head coach Tony Caviglia.

FCC opened the scoring in the second quarter with a 20-yard field goal by freshman Jack Cooper, but this would be the only time the Rams put points on the scoreboard.

Almost six minutes later, San Mateo responded with a touchdown from freshman running back Darrell Page, who leaped over the defensive line into the end zone. 

Bulldogs sophomore kicker Dylan Moghaddam’s good kick placed San Mateo above the Rams 7-3.

San Mateo quieted the crowd by adding to the score with five seconds left in the first half after their freshman quarterback Luke Bottari connected with Bulldogs’ freshman wide receiver Mason Starling for another touchdown.

Moghaddam’s second good kick put them ahead of the Rams 14-3 heading into halftime.

The Rams returned to the field with a revived energy after the Bulldogs went 3-and-out on their first drive of the second half. After fumbling the ball, Bottari was driven back to his own 20-yard-line following a sack by Rams’ sophomore linebacker Toa Scanlan. The sack was Scanlan’s second of the season.

Following the turnover, the Rams hit the field with newfound energy from the crowd. Though, that energy would be short lived after sophomore quarterback Jonah Jonhson fumbled the ball just outside the red zone, leading to the Rams’ only turnover of the night – a costly one that would see San Mateo regain possession.

However, the scoring would come to a stall for the rest of the game. San Mateo would make the only other change to the scoreboard after Moghaddam made a 25-yard field goal with just over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Johnson was not the only cause for the Rams’ offensive woes but he did face some of his own struggles, completing only 17 of 35 pass attempts. He was also sacked by the Bulldogs’ defense a total of five times.

The Rams’ quarterback racked up a total of 200 passing yards, but 52 of those came on a single deep pass late in the fourth quarter when the Rams had already fallen behind.

“If you hold a team like that to 17 points, you think you could score at least 17 points on offense,” said Cavilglia. “We didn’t get that done, but it’s just going to be a growing and learning experience for our young team.”

The change in weather possibly played a role in the Rams’ performance. They last played against Butte College in sunny, 95 degree weather on a turf field, while Saturday night’s game was played in windy, 60 degree weather on a grass field.

While Caviglia acknowledged the multitude of drops and incomplete passes, he refused to lean on the weather as an excuse. He instead insisted that the team simply wasn’t clicking how they have before or how he knows they could’ve.

When asked how the team plans to regain the receivers’ sticky hands that kept them ahead all season, Caviglia said, “We’re just going to practice. If you want to get good at something, you’ve got to practice it.”

Altogether, the Rams held the ball for 43:12, only to score in the single digits for the first time this season and be held to zero touchdowns for the first time since they last played San Mateo on Sept. 22, 2018. 

Caviglia says the Rams will work extra hard to get the bad taste out of their mouths before their next game.

“These kids already vowed to me that they’re going to come back next week and have a great week of practice and work to get better,” said Caviglia.

The Rams return to Ratcliffe Stadium to take on the American River Beavers next Saturday, Oct. 5 at 5 p.m.