Beavers earn first win of 2015 in home-opening 38-2 blowout

De Anza no match for American River’s consistent running game & air-tight defense
By: Ryan Burns - The Press Tribune
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Following a 41-10 loss in their first game of the season against Modesto College, the American River College football team was eager to bounce back in their home opener. The stands were jam-packed with Beaver Faithful eager to watch their team play for the first time this year, and they were not disappointed.

The Beavers were dominant from the opening kickoff and held a shutout until the final minutes of regulation. Despite a late safety from De Anza, the home team led 31-0 at halftime and never looked back en route to a 38-2 victory — the team’s first win of the season.

Roseville High grad Jonathan Lopez scored the team’s first touchdown on a 25-yard reception less then three minutes into action, while ARC running back Armand Shyne racked up 131 yards on the ground, including two scores and added another touchdown on a 43-yard catch and run. 

“It feels good because this is our first win together from the players, coaches, and support staff for the 2015 season,” said head coach Jon Osterhout, who is a 1995 Oakmont graduate. “And they’re tough to come by. Wins are tough to come by, and this was a true team win. I was so proud of the guys and what they accomplished.”

On the opening possession of the game, 2013 Woodcreek High graduate Anthony Luke picked off De Anza on third down to give his offense good field position. 

It didn’t take long for ARC to find the endzone following the takeaway. After a three-yard run on first down, quarterback Jihad Vercher found Lopez on a smooth catch and pass from 25 yards out for the 7-0 lead.

Lopez was the team’s second leading receiver finishing with three receptions for 42 yards. Following the touchdown, the wideout was quick to run to the sideline to celebrate with his teammates.

“That was huge, especially after our defensive stop, we needed the momentum and it really started us off on the right path,” explained Lopez.

After the team’s first forced turnover, the Beavers defense was stout and forced De Anza to punt on their next two drives. ARC got the ball back with just under seven minutes left in the first half, but the offense needed just six plays to score. After mixing in the run game and a vertical passing game, Vercher found running back Armand Shyne out of the backfield and the 6-foot-, 200-pound tailback scampered for a 43 yard touchdown.

Shyne was a monster throughout the game, racking up a 8.3 yards per carry average on 16 attempts. He added two rushing touchdowns to go along with his long reception, including a 55-yard score where he beat the De Anza defense to the sideline and broke free for the longest play of the game.

“The offense found early success moving the football because of our ability to run the ball with Armand Shyne and I was really impressed,” said Coach Osterhout, who was happy to see his offense not turnover the football after committing five turnovers last Saturday.

“We played as a unit,” said Lopez. “All of us really came together going into the game. We had the right mindset and just worked off of each other.”

Despite American River’s offensive showcase, the defensive unit were the true unsung heroes as they didn’t allow a single point. Among the best performers was Woodcreek’s former defensive end Luke, who tallied 3.5 tackles, a sack, and his first-quarter interception.

Following the game, the team was elated, celebrating with each other on the field for almost twenty minutes before heading back to the locker room.

Now, the Beavers will look to repeat their impressive performance again this Saturday at home against San Joaquin Delta College. Game time for that non-league contest is set for 6 p.m.