The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
There were moments last year when everything was clicking for the College of San Mateo football team.
A season later, nothing has changed. The Bulldogs (3-0), ranked No. 2 in the nation by JCGridwire.com, are coming off one of the greatest two-week stretches in program history. CSM whipped West Valley 77-14 over the weekend, coming a week after destroying Reedley, 51-10.
The Bulldogs just aren’t beating opponents — they’re annihilating them. Against Reedley — last year’s Northern California championship game finalist — CSM racked up a then-school record 459 yards rushing. It took all of seven days for the Bulldogs to surpass that impressive total.
Against hapless West Valley, they went off for an eye-popping 592 yards on the ground — 689 yards of total offense in all — en route to the blowout victory. CSM also set program records for most points in a game and touchdowns (11).
“Of course we’re good,” Bulldogs coach Bret Pollack said matter of factly in his weekly news conference, when asked if he could appreciate the high level at which his team is playing. “We’re playing well, getting better and doing the things we should be doing. Everything is going smoothly right now. … Believe it or not, we did some wrong things (against West Valley).”
And that’s the kicker: The Bulldogs, in their quest for perfection, are far from satisfied. Pollack and defensive coordinator Tim Tulloch both said the way the players took the field and warmed up was unacceptable.
“The defense didn’t come out ready to play,” Tulloch said. “There was a lack of focus (and the players know it).”
Whenever there are issues, the CSM coaching staff tends to nip them in the bud before the problem festers. For obvious reasons, the players’ confidence level is at an all-time high — “When you do something and do it well, you’re going to get more confident,” Pollack said — so the important thing now as the Bulldogs go forward is to not get caught up in their record-breaking success.
“I told the players now here comes the trap (in that) they’re going to have people come up to them and tell you how good you are,” Pollack said. “I have full confidence we’ll avoid that trap.”
Not by ignoring the obvious — that CSM is clicking on all cylinders — but that it needs to continue to maintain a steely focus and determination to continue its high level of play. When the Bulldogs are clicking, there are going to be routs. And while Pollack would love to see his team get tested — the season-opening, 32-24 win over Fresno City being the example — he doesn’t see a real drawback of winning by a huge margin.
“Don’t get me wrong — I would love for our games to be competitive every week,” he said. “But hey, if we can keep rolling, we’ll keep rolling. (We’ll continue to do the things we do) and let the score fall where it may be.”
And that’s the perspective all championship teams need to have in order to reach their goal.
Rebounding in a big way
Bulldogs quarterback Miles Freeman had a rough start to the season, fumbling snaps under center for turnovers on two separate occasions in the season opener against Fresno.
However, Freeman — who is now considered a “1A” at quarterback behind starter Julian Bernard — gives CSM two quality players at the position. Freeman has led the team in rushing in each of the last two games, including a seven-carry, 155-yard performance against West Valley. Displaying agility, toughness and elusive moves in the open field, Freeman had touchdown runs of 39 and 20 yards in the Bulldogs’ 42-point second quarter.
“Miles has played with a chip on his shoulder and has proven he’s not the same quarterback who took the field in Week 1,” Pollack said.
The scoreboard operator at CSM could be in for a busy afternoon when Chabot visits for a 1 p.m. non-conference showdown on Saturday.
The contest matches up the two of the top three highest scoring teams in Northern California: CSM is tops at 53.3 points per game, while Chabot comes in at No. 3 with a 48 point per game average. The Gladiators (3-0), ranked No. 8 in Northern California, are coming off a 55-38 win over Hartnell. Like CSM, Tulloch said the Gladiators have tremendous athleticism and talent at the skill positions.
“(Looking at the film), it’s going to be our toughest challenge so far,” Tulloch said.