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North Bay Rattlers capture Pacific Coast Football League title

Playing a stingy defense that has become their trademark, the undefeated North Bay Rattlers captured the Pacific Coast Football League championship Saturday night with a 22-0 victory over Pacifica in San Leandro.

However, it was a bittersweet victory for the semi-pro team. Earlier in the day, Rick Carrell, the father of team owner Thomas Carrell, passed away unexpectedly. He was 63.

“He was a huge supporter of the team and was looking forward to the title game,” owner-player Thomas Carrell said of his father. “I know he was watching us.

“We played the game in his honor. It’s a very emotional time for me and the team.”

The Rattlers played inspired ball, especially the defense. The highlight for the defense came in the third period when tackle Rob Grey sacked the Pacifica quarterback for a safety.

“They tried an option play from their 2-yard line,” the Santa Rosa High graduate said. “I got to the quarterback before he could do anything with the ball.”

The Rattlers came into the game allowing opponents 8.2 points per game.

“We’re a family and we have each others’ backs,” Grey said. “We rise above adversity.”

The offense, which came in averaging 54.6 points per game, never got in full gear against the Islanders.

Joe Ramos opened the scoring with a 1-yard run in the first quarter.

The second touchdown also came on a 1-yard run. That one was by Terrance Bell and after Andrew Jones’ kick, the score was 13-0 at halftime.

Grey’s safety was the only scoring in the third period.

In the fourth quarter, Lee Slaughter caught a 12-yard pass from Albert Higgs to make it a three-score game. It was Higgs’ 15th scoring pass of the season.

The leading rusher for the Rattlers was Karl Mikolon. He carried 19 times for 57 yards.

Higgs attempted only five passes, completing two for 34 yards.

Slaughter was the team’s leading receiver with three catches for 35 yards, including the touchdown.

Mike Ervin, the Rattlers’ line coach, said Pacifica had favored the run all season.

“Our defensive game plan was to be aggressive,” Ervin said. “They made their living on the ground all year. We knew to be successful, we had to stop them at the line of scrimmage.”

Pacifica had only one long gainer the entire game.

“Their longest run was 40 yards,” Ervin said. “We stopped the drive after that.”

The Rattlers beat Pacifica for the second time this season. They won the first meeting on March 14 by a score of 32-22.

North Bay is now 11-0 while Pacifica finishes 9-2.

The Rattlers will play Inglewood for the state championship on July 11.

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