Tanner Trosin had his future mapped out.
The former Folsom High School star would rise from freshman reserve quarterback to starter at Cal Poly. He’d lead the Mustangs to a Big Sky Conference championship, taking out rivals Sacramento State and UC Davis in the process, and spend his free time on the beach, his hair dancing in the surf.
But when life threw Trosin a curve, he bounced back at American River College, where he’s a sophomore starter. Trosin and the Beavers (10-1), ranked third in the state by the JC Athletic Bureau, play at No. 2 City College of San Francisco (10-1) on Saturday in the California Community College Northern California Regional championship. The winner plays the winner of the Southern California Regional final between Riverside City College (10-1) and Mount San Antonio College (9-2) on Dec. 6.
And that hair? Trosin sports a shock that snakes out of the back of his helmet to the middle of his shoulder blades, and it seemingly propels him like a rudder as he zigzags across the field on running plays.
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Though there are no beaches near ARC, Trosin’s teammates – who admiringly call him “Sunshine” – have doused him with water this week in practice to simulate the rainy conditions expected for Saturday’s game.
Trosin’s career didn’t develop the way he envisioned, but he said he has no regrets. When Cal Poly offered him a scholarship after his record-setting season of 2011, The Bee’s Offensive Player of the Year jumped on it. But Trosin was one of four quarterbacks – including former Folsom teammate Dano Graves, The Bee’s 2010 Player of the Year – for a program that runs more than it throws. So Trosin came home.
“I’m glad I went to Cal Poly, because I gave it a shot,” Trosin said. “I had some great times there, memories I’ll never forget. But I have a desire to play, to start. I burn to compete. ARC has been great for me. So I’m glad I’m here.
“We’re all similar here. We all have goals, all want to do well. We all want to win and move on to bigger schools.”
Trosin has passed for 2,101 yards and 19 touchdowns, and he’s back on the national recruiting radar for four-year programs.
Trosin has plenty of help. Tailback Deon Ransom has rushed for 750 yards and seven touchdowns, with his best two games down the stretch. The sophomore rushed for 273 yards and two touchdowns to help the Beavers beat Sacramento City 44-23 in a regular-season finale, and he had 187 yards and three touchdowns in a 20-17 opening-round playoff win over defending state and national champion Butte.
Trosin’s top targets are receivers Tyler Young (63 catches, 828 yards, five touchdowns) and J’Juan Muldrow (53 caches, 638 yards, six touchdowns). The Beavers’ defense is led by linebackers Austin Paulhus and Derek Bryant, lineman Jordan Carrell and back Robert Sanders.
Motivation fuels all community college football players. None expected to be at this level coming out of high school, and all have something to prove.
San Francisco also has something to prove. The Rams’ lone loss was 13-0 to ARC on Sept. 27, the only shutout in coach George Rush’s 38 seasons. In 2011, San Francisco won its 12th NorCal title since 1997 with a last-second home victory over ARC and finished ranked No. 1 in the nation for the ninth time.
The only area community college to finish No. 1 in the state was Sac City in 1980 and ’82, before the state playoff system was adopted.
▪ Ron Nocetti, the associate executive director of the CIF, won’t have any problem finding Sacred Heart Cathedral High in San Francisco on Saturday to watch daughter Mikaela lead El Camino (48-3) in a NorCal Regional Division III volleyball semifinal against the Fightin’ Irish (34-3). Nocetti worked at Sacred Heart Cathedral from 1991 to 2000 as a teacher, coach and assistant principal. El Camino is led by a group of seniors, including Nocetti, Elizabeth Dahlberg, Devin Herenda, Kate Nicknig and Makenzie Reeder-Esparza.
▪ Justice Shelton-Mosley of Capital Christian and Cole Thompson of Folsom, key players for their 12-0 football teams, have given verbal pledges to attend Harvard. Thompson is a receiver-defensive back for Folsom, the top seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs. Shelton-Mosley is an all-purpose player for the Cougars, the top seed in Division VI.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.