Deon Ransom is ready for a team feed, on his dollar.
The American River College sophomore running back from Elk Grove High School lauded the efforts of his big, burly friends late Saturday afternoon, specifically his linemen. With significant line surge, Ransom’s three first-half touchdowns and a spirited defensive effort, the host Beavers toppled defending state and national champion Butte College 20-17 in a California Community College NorCal Regional playoff.
Powerfully built and equally as fast, Ransom rushed for 187 yards on 27 carries and scored on runs of 19, 10 and 62 yards, finding plenty of footing on a tattered old grass field that was soaked with the late-night rain. And he was all grins in vowing to feed his guards, tackles and center.
“The O-line, those guys are the best,” Ransom said. “They fought, fought, fought. Couldn’t run without them. Love those guys. Cheeseburgers for all of them.”
But where, given a college student’s budget when gas money is as treasured as a good, trusty cell phone?
“McDonald’s, here we come!” Ransom declared.
Upon hearing this, ARC coach Jon Osterhout challenged Ransom to really spoil those who toil in the trenches – Max Harrison, Spencer Bracey, Austin Smith, Bailey Murray and Rafael Aguilar– all local products.
“Deon needs to order up big cheeseburgers, feed those big boys,” Osterhout said. “They were all great.”
Osterhout is a lineman at heart, having earned All-America honors at Sacramento State with a taste of the NFL. The first-year head coach knew a punishing run game was key to exact any measure of revenge against the one team to stick his club with defeat. Butte beat ARC 31-28 two weeks earlier on this very field, stripping the Beavers of their state No. 1 and national No. 3 rankings and threatening to derail the season completely. But ARC recovered to beat rival Sacramento City College 44-23 as Ransom rushed for 273 yards in one of the greatest running efforts in school history.
That set up the rematch with Butte. Unlike the first meeting, ARC (10-1) didn’t hurt itself with turnovers. It had one this time as compared to six the last time. And ARC’s defense stood tall, allowing one offensive touchdown – Marvel Harris’ 7-yard run to account for the final score with 4:03 to play.
Butte (7-4) took a 7-6 first-quarter lead when Saint Evans returned a blocked field goal 69 yards for a touchdown. Evans, who had two interceptions in the first meeting between the clubs, was ejected for a personal foul in the second half here.
ARC sophomore Tanner Trosin passed for 210 yards, completing 23 of 37 passes, in winning his head-to-head battle with Zach Kline. A quarterback at Cal last season, Kline passed for 174 yards, but he was sacked five times, including by a host of Beavers as time ran out at his 30. ARC players rushed the field to celebrate, 14 days after the same players seethed with the loss to the Roadrunners.
“All we wanted was another chance at them, and we got it,” Ransom said. “Revenge, redemption ... so sweet.”
Said Trosin of Ransom, “He’s so good, so gifted. Great teammate.”
Now the Beavers want more in facing a team that also seeks revenge and redemption. ARC will play at longtime national powerhouse City College of San Francisco on Saturday for the NorCal championship. The Rams beat the Beavers two years ago in the NorCal final after ARC thought it had won the game late, only to be crushed by a penalty. Earlier this season, ARC beat San Francisco 13-0, the Rams’ only loss and the only shutout in George Rush’s storied 38-year coaching career.
Osterhout wasn’t even ready to think about the Rams. He pulled his hat off, exhaled, ran his big hand across his Bunyon-like beard and reflected on the grind of a season, his coaching predecessor and friend Jerry Haflich nearby. Haflich stepped down following last season to tend to his health. And no one is a bigger fan of Osterhout.
“All the hard work by the players, our coaches, everyone, it just feels so good,” said Osterhout, who praised assistants such as defensive coordinator Lou Baiz. “A lot of work, a lot of emotions. And we’re not done.”
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.