The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
As good as College of San Mateo’s football team has been this season — and it has been very good in building a 3-0 non-conference record, including two wins by lopsided scores — CSM coach Bret Pollack believes there is room for improvement.
The Bulldogs are ranked second in the nation in the JC GridWire.com poll. CSM is ranked No. 3 in California and No. 2 in Northern California. The top four spots in Northern California — CCSF, CSM, Butte and Foothill — have been unchanged since preseason, and all are NorCal conference members.
Before conference begins in two weeks, CSM faces the challenge of playing host to a non-conference game Saturday at 1 p.m. against Chabot, a team nearly as high scoring as CSM. CSM is averaging a state-best 53.3 points per game. Chabot is No. 4 at 48 points per game. Chabot last week defeated Hartnell 55-38; Chabot beat West Valley 65-13 in its opening game.
The Bulldogs have been blowing out opponents and shattering school records with regularity.
In its 77-14 victory last week over West Valley, CSM broke a week-old school record with 592 yards rushing. The Bulldogs also set records for most points in a game and most touchdowns (11). In addition, in a 51-10 victory over Reedley in Week 2, kick returner Tim Celestine set a school record with a 100-yard return.
“Of course we’re good.” Pollack said. “But I told the guys not to get in the trap of believing what people tell them. When they say you’re good, thank them and know you can get better. When it’s good, its not as good as it looks. When it’s bad, it’s not as bad as it looks. Keeping that level of moderation and balance is important.”The offensive onslaught has CSM ranked first in the state in yards per play (8.2), all-purpose yards per game (672.3), rushing yards per game (404.3) and kick return yards per game (34.2). The Bulldogs are second in total offense per game (538) and rushing yards per carry (7.8 yards).
CSM’s offense has been a group effort. Fifteen runners have carried the ball, none more than 22 times. That’s the reason individual statistical leaders are rare. Quarterback Miles Freeman (14.0 yards) and running back Seta Pohahau from Aragon (9.6 yards) are second and third in the state in yards per carry.
The defense hasn’t been bad, allowing an average of 16 points per game. CSM’s pass defense is ranked second in Northern California, allowing 147 yards per game, a key stat given the deficits CSM opponents have faced.
“Believe it or not we did some things wrong in the West Valley game.” Pollack said. “The way we took the field was unacceptable and the way we warmed up was unacceptable. They know it, and it will be corrected.”
West Valley scored on its first possession and held a 7-0 lead. CSM tied the score in less than two minutes on its next possession and then unloaded a 42-point second quarter on West Valley.
The starters played just three series in the game, making way for extended playing time for a lot of young players. Starting back Pohahau had 109 yards in nine carries before going to the sideline. Capuchino grad Nate Newman rushed for 60 yards and two touchdowns, and M-A alum Vaughn Smith added a pair of touchdowns and 49 yards rushing.