Butte College football hosts Gridiron Bowl in season finale

BUTTE VALLEY — The Butte College football team needed a win in its final regular season game against Shasta College on Nov. 13 to be eligible for the California Community College Athletic Association Playoffs, but it needed some help from other schools as well. In the final week of the regular season Santa Rosa Junior College defeated Sierra College, which gave American River the tiebreaker for the NorCal League title and a birth to the CCCAA playoffs.

Butte could have claimed the NorCal League title in a three-way tie with Sierra College and American River College, but when American River won and Sierra lost in the final week of the season American River’s victory over Butte on Oct. 30 gave the Beavers the tiebreaker advantage.

The Roadrunners defeated Shasta College 49-6 in their regular season finale behind three second-quarter rushing touchdowns from running back Johnny Williams and four turnovers from the Butte College defense, but Butte did not get the help it needed from other teams in the final regular season games. American River received the CCCAA playoff spot Butte was reaching for after Santa Rosa defeated Sierra College.

Instead of playing in the CCCAA playoffs, Butte will instead play Reedley College in the Gridiron Bowl at 1 p.m. Saturday at Cowan Stadium. The game will be the finale game of the season for both teams.

Butte College (6-4) enters the game having won two straight and four of its last five games dating back to the start of CCCAA play on Oct. 16. Reedley College (7-3) has won three straight and three of its last five games dating back to the start of conference play on Oct. 16.

Reedley most recently defeated Fresno City College 34-30 on Nov. 13, a team Butte College lost 30-28 to on Oct. 2 in the final seconds when a 37-yard field goal from Butte kicker Dante Jackson missed wide right. In week four Reedley lost 52-27 to Laney College, a Butte College rival who the Roadrunners defeated 23-10 in week two.

Butte’s running back Williams led the NorCal League in touchdowns with nine and rushing yards per game with 93.9. The Roadrunners’ quarterback Brian Harper was second in the league with 13 and third in passing yards per game with 152.8.

On defense, Butte defensive end Isaiah Ward was second in the NorCal League with 5.5 sacks and linebacker Ronald Nieto had five sacks. Defensive back Grant Ewell was tied for first in forced fumbles with two and Zack Macintire was third in interceptions with three.

On special teams Butte’s punter Jackson led in average with 45.3 yards, including eight inside the 20-yard line.

Notable alumni

Two National Football League Pro Bowl quarterbacks attended the schools playing in this year’s Gridiron Bowl.

Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers attended Pleasant Valley College before playing at Butte College in 2002. Rodgers then attended Cal Berkeley before being selected as the 24th pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. Buffalo Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen attended Reedley College in 2014 for a season before transferring to the University of Wyoming. Allen was selected as the seventh pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Allen played in the Pro Bowl in 2020, and Rodgers has been selected for the Pro Bowl in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Rodgers was also named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 2011, 2014 and 2020 and is currently projected to be in competition with Allen for the MVP award in 2021.

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