MJC sneaks past American River to set up NorCal showdown with San Mateo

in Local Roundup/Sports

When Modesto Junior College freshman running back Payton Bass (Pitman) struggled for playing time early in the season, he didn’t pout and instead worked harder in practice and asked questions, coach Rusty Stivers said.

“I know I am a good player but it was hard (adjusting to college football) at first,” Bass said.

Against American River in a CCCAA NorCal semifinal on Saturday night at MJC, Bass had a career-high 94 rushing yards and two touchdowns as the Pirates beat the Beavers, 35-28.

MJC (9-2) advanced to the NorCal championship game, where it will travel to face the College of San Mateo — a 21-0 winner over Fresno City College — at noon next Saturday. The winner will advance to the state title game against the Southern California champ on Dec. 14 in Bakersfield.

“Tonight was for my team and for the sophomores,” Bass said. “We had to work and it wasn’t an easy fight.”

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