Contra Costa turned to a strong running attack and pressure defense to pin a 32-2 non-Coast Conference loss on the host Gavilan College Rams at Garcia-Elder Sports Complex on Saturday night.
Coach Spencer Gilford’s Rams (1-2) go back on the road Saturday afternoon, taking on the College of Redwoods Corsairs in Eureka.
“They are an ‘A’ level team,” explained Gilford after the Rams finished with 122 yards of total offense against the Comets.
“They have nine players with Division I offers. We had to be aggressive on defense. We played more physical than last week. Our guys didn’t quit. We had a better effort on defense.”
Contra Costa produced 355 yards of total offense, all but 27 yards on the ground.
“We knew we had the size advantage on both sides of the ball,” said Comets coach Alonzo Carter.
“We hadn’t been able to run the ball yet this season, so getting back two starters helped to get the running game going. We controlled the line of scrimmage. Defensively, we tried to apply pressure. Gavilan’s very disciplined and were able to slow our passing game.”
Rashad Hall rushed for 125 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries for the visitors. Davonte Sapp-Lynch came off the bench to add 108 yards on 11 carries.
“Contra Costa was big, fast and strong,” said Rams defensive back Jeff Smith. “It’s a learning process for us, but I think we stayed with the system for all four quarters.”
Smith helped the Rams defensive effort with a diving interception. The sophomore also earned the team’s lone points when he scooped up a blocked Contra Costa point after kick and scooted 85 yards to the Comet end zone for two points.
Gavilan sophomore quarterback Omar Kharroub connected on nine of 34 pass attempts for 81 yards. After suffering three sacks in the first half, Kharroub was sacked once in the final 30 minutes.
“They were putting a lot of pressure on me,” Kharroub said of the early Comet pressure. “We got together, made some adjustments and improved in the second half. I’m going to do my best this week in practice to beat Redwoods.”
The Comets needed four rushing plays on their first offensive series to take a 7-0 lead with 11:53 left in the first quarter. Hall broke free for 45 yards on the first play, finishing the march with a five-yard burst off right tackle.
Smith was called on to punt eight times in the first 39 minutes as Gavilan kept the Comets away from the Rams end zone for most of the first half. Contra Costa added a touchdown in the final four minutes of the half. Eight consecutive running plays ended with Juawan Ferguson slanting off left tackle for the 7-yard pay dirt jaunt. The score moved to 13-2 when Daniel Holliday’s PAT try was stuffed and Smith went untouched for the two points.
Contra Costa took control in the third quarter with two touchdowns. The Comets ran the ball on seven plays after the kickoff and covered the 70 yards for a 19-2 advantage. Ferguson’s second touchdown of the night was a 5-yarder with 11:34 left in the third quarter. Three plays into the ensuing series, Kharroub’s lateral pass was picked up by Comet Anthony Beaver and returned 31 yards for the touchdown.
The Comets completed the scoring when defensive back Christopher Brown intercepted a double-reverse pass by the Rams and raced 85 yards to score with 13:11 left in the game.