The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
Carlos Silva booted a 22-yard field goal with 1:05 remaining in regulation to lift the College of San Mateo Bulldogs to a 26-23 win at Santa Rosa Junior College. With the win, the Bulldogs (4-0 Bay 6, 6-3 overall) clinched at least a share of the Bay 6 Conference title and an automatic berth to the California Community College Athletic Association playoffs, slated to begin Nov. 19.
While CSM entered the penultimate week of the regular season in first place in the Bay 6 standings, one game ahead of Santa Rosa, a Bulldogs loss would have tied the two teams atop the standings, giving Santa Rosa the hammerlock on the conference’s one automatic playoff berth by virtue of head-to-head tiebreaker.
With Silva’s game-winning kick, however, CSM dispelled of any complicated tiebreaker scenarios by all but cinching the conference title outright.
Santa Rosa (2-2, 7-2) actually led most of the way. The Bear Cubs jumped out to a 10-7 lead near the end of the first quarter on a short pass from quarterback Ben Putnam to Mitch Hood. They sustained the lead into the fourth quarter but with 11:15 left in regulation, Bulldogs quarterback Bobby Calmeyn connected with Line Latu for a 25-yard scoring pass to tie it at 23-23.
Last week, Calmeyn entered in the first half of CSM’s critical 24-21 win over San Francisco City College due to an injury to the non-throwing shoulder of quarterback Ryan Brand. In his first start in over a month, Calmeyn delivered, completing 26 of 40 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions. The sophomore has gone 94 pass attempts without throwing an interception, his last dating back to non-conference play in Week 3 in a loss to Fresno City.
Bulldogs sophomore running back Keenan Smith balanced the attack, rushing 26 times for 128 yards and a touchdown; his 8-yard scoring run gave the Bulldogs the lead briefly in the first quarter 7-3.
Just over six minutes later, Hood’s first of two touchdown passes on the day gave the Bear Cubs back the lead en route to Hood going 31-of-52 passing for 341 yards. But the Bulldogs defense pinned the Santa Rosa run game for negative team rushing yards. CSM ultimately outgained Santa Rosa 367-338 in total offense.
Silva produced two field goals on the day. He nailed a 25-yarder to close the first half, cutting into Santa Rosa’s lead at 20-16. But after a scoreless third quarter, the Bear Cubs opened the fourth with a quick drive to get their place kicker, Andros Pedrozza, a look at a 27-yard field goal to re-up the Santa Rosa lead 23-16.
But Calmeyn fired back to lead CSM on a nine-play, 77-yard scoring drive. The key completion came on fourth-and-6 from midfield when Calmeyn hit sophomore slot receiver Ramiah Marshall for an 11-yard completion, giving the Bulldogs new life for a first down. Four plays later — after Smith bulled for a 5-yard pickup on third-and-2 — Calmeyn hit Latu to tie the game.
Then the CSM defense shut down three straight Santa Rosa possessions. The first one saw Hood leading the Bear Cubs downfield. But on third-and-6 from the CSM 19-yard line, Hood was picked off by Bulldogs sophomore safety Kava Maka. It was the last time Santa Rosa’s offense would see CSM territory in the game.
After CSM punted away its ensuing possession, Santa Rosa was held to a three-and-out, with consecutive sacks to pin the Bear Cubs at their own 2-yard line. With Santa Rosa forced to punt, CSM took over at its own 42-yard line and moved downfield — largely due to a 46-yard completion from Calmeyn to Tasi Teu to the Santa Rosa 1-yard line — to set up the game-winning kick by Silva.
It was a redemption for Silva, who missed a point-after try in the second quarter — following a 15-yard scoring pass from Calmeyn to Marshall — to keep Santa Rosa in the driver’s seat with a 20-13 lead. He later missed a 26-yard field goal attempt midway through the third quarter that would have cut Santa Rosa’s lead to 1.
With one game remaining on the regular-season schedule, CSM closes next week hosting last-place Diablo Valley this Saturday at 1 p.m. The worst the Bulldogs can finish is in a first-place tie with CCSF, though a win over the current second-place team two weeks ago would award CSM to tiebreaker for the Bay 6 Conference’s lone automatic playoff bid.