The article below originally appeared in the Mercury News and is being reprinted with permission.
SAN MATEO — In his office following Saturday afternoon’s 52-28 rout of De Anza College, a flabbergasted College of San Mateo football coach Bret Pollack could only utter a single word upon finding out running back George Naufahu had just broken a 27-year-old single-game rushing record.
“Wow,” Pollack said. “Wow. Yeah, great job. Wow. That’s all I can say. Wow.”
It wasn’t like the coach was keeping track. How could he? Naufahu’s longest run was a 36-yard burst in the third quarter that set up one of his two rushing touchdowns. After the San Mateo grad found the end zone from 4 yards out with 9:01 left in the fourth quarter to make it 46-21, Naufahu’s afternoon was over — 31 carries for 229 yards.
“It really hasn’t kicked in yet,” Naufahu said. “It feels good, but all that matters to me is a win right now. I’m not too worried about the numbers.”
The last handoff allowed the sophomore to eclipse the mark of 227 rushing yards set by Leonard Morris in 1987 against San Jose City College.
Heading into this weekend’s regular-season finale at College Heights Stadium against Santa Rosa, Naufahu sits at 913 yards on the season. He can become CSM’s sixth 1000-yard rusher — the first since Carlmont-Belmont’s David Aknin (1,043 in 2009) but still behind the pace of Woodside’s Julian Edelman, who ranks first with 1,253 yards in 2005.
Not that Naufahu claims any of the credit.
“Our o-line, they just executed, they battled in the trenches,” Naufahu said. “It could have been any three of our running backs. I was just lucky I was the one out there.”
The longest run for fourth-ranked CSM (8-1, 3-1 NorCal) belonged to the quarterback. Casey Wichman had a memorable first quarter in which he went 3-of-4 for 109 yards through the air and ran the ball six times for 92 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown. The sophomore out of Tracy also had touchdown throws of 45 and 53 yards to wideout Kevin Kutchera.
“They were mostly man-on-man with their corners, and it’s just a matchup you’ve got to win,” said Kutchera, who caught his three balls for 109 yards in the first quarter and cut through traffic after running a skinny post for his second sprint to the end zone. “It happened so fast. You catch the ball, look up and just see where the open space is and run towards it.”
“We have a lot of weapons on the field and other teams have to respect it,” said Naufahu, who had eight carries for 34 yards after the opening 15 minutes of play. “Kevin and Casey did a great job earlier of opening it up for the running backs to get loose.”
De Anza (3-6, 0-4) featured wide receiver Bryan Fobbs on offense. The 6-foot, 180-pound speedster from Valley Christian-San Jose leads the state with 89 catches for 18 touchdowns. Fobbs is second in the state with 1,424 receiving yards.
Against the Bulldogs, Fobbs caught nine balls for 196 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, but had only two catches for 56 yards at halftime. CSM took a slim 23-21 lead into the locker room because the Bulldogs coughed up the ball three times, including a fumble that was returned 81 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
“We kept turning it over, and when you do that, you’re going to give anybody a chance,” Pollack said. “Once we got that fixed, it turned around on them. I think we executed the same in the first half and second half, we just eliminated the turnovers.”
The Bulldogs, who won a three-way tiebreaker as co-champion of the NorCal Conference en route to a state runner-up finish in 2009, need help from City College of San Francisco this weekend for a similar outcome when the Rams (7-2, 3-1) visit top-ranked Butte (9-0, 4-0) — which won 84-7 at Foothill on Saturday.
De Anza 7 14 0 7 — 28
CSM 20 3 16 13 — 52
CSM — Kutchera 45 pass from Wichman (Agee kick), 10:22
CSM — Wichman 39 run (Agee kick), 8:03
DAC — Stewart 81 fumble recovery (Henner kick), 2:00
CSM — Kutchera 53 pass from Wichman (kick failed), 1:09
DAC — Lucas 29 pass from Singler (Henner kick), 13:58
DAC — Ballard 8 pass from Singler (Henner kick), 7:16
CSM — Agee 36 FG, :24
CSM — Agee 39 FG, 11:10
CSM — Naufahu 7 run (kick failed), 8:18
CSM — Williams 2 pass from Wichman (Scott Agee kick), 8:04
CSM — Naufahu 4 run (Agee kick), 9:01
DAC — Fobbs 16 pass from Lucas (Henner kick), 6:55
CSM — Johnson 71 pass from Wichman (kick failed), 5:18
RUSHING– De Anza, Lucas 7-64, Avery 6-36, Kamara 3-8, Bristor 7-5, Singler 4-(-8), TEAM 2-(-13). College of San Mateo, Naufahu 31-229, Wichman 17-104, Peluso 6-72, Moody 2-28, Latu 2-7, Fonua 1-6, Crooks 1-3, TEAM 1-0, Johnson 2-0.
PASSING–De Anza, Singler 11-27-1 192, Lucas 8-17-1 154. College of San Mateo, Wichman 11-16-0 221.
RECEIVING–De Anza, Fobbs 9-196, Lucas 4-71, Ballard 3-36, Ramirez 2-29, Gasaway 1-14. College of San Mateo, Kutchera 4-116, Johnson 2-73, Naufahu 2-19, Lee 2-11, Williams 1-2.
Records: De Anza 3-6, 0-4 NorCal, CSM 8-1, 3-1.