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Justin Houlihan Leads Defensive Effort as American River Routs Sierra

ARC's Justin Houlihan (54) tallied a team-high six tackles in a win over Sierra College on Saturday, Huilhan is a 2018 Nevada Union graduate. Photo by Frank Salerno/Lenie's Pictures

Original Article written by The Union: https://www.theunion.com/sports/alumni-notebook-nu-grad-justin-houlihan-leads-defensive-effort-as-american-river-routs-sierra/

In a clash between surging Sacramento-area community college football squads it was the Beavers from American River powering past the Sierra Wolverines, 45-14, Saturday.

Suiting up and making an impact in the game were several local alumni.

Leading the Beavers' defensive effort was 2018 Nevada Union graduate Justin Houlihan. The 6-foot, 225-pound sophomore linebacker led American River in tackles with six, including one for a loss.

Houlihan has made his presence known all season and leads the Beavers in tackles (56) and tackles for a loss (5).

While at Nevada Union, Houlihan was a three-year varsity starter at middle linebacker, racking up 340 tackles across 33 games. He was an All-League selection three times.

For Sierra, linebacker Austin Baze, a 2018 Bear River grad, did all he could to slow American River's onslaught and finished with a game-high eight tackles.

Baze, a 6-foot, 2-inch, 240-pound sophomore, is second on his team in tackles this season with 50. He also has two sacks, an interception, a fumble recovery and two touchdowns on defense.

Sierra teammate Hayden Fay, a 2018 Nevada Union grad, also saw action in the game. The 6-foot, 2-inch, 180-pound freshman receiver returned a pair of kickoffs in the game.

For the season, Fay has caught seven passes for 210 yards and a touchdown. He's also returned 12 kickoffs with a long of 34 yards.

Fay was a three-year varsity starter during his time at Nevada Union, earning All-Sierra Foothill League honors as a receiver his junior season and as a defensive back his senior season. During his three varsity seasons, Fay pulled down 87 catches for 1,501 yards and 10 touchdowns.

During Baze's time with the Bear River Bruins, he played at the varsity level all four seasons, notching 183 tackles and 11 sacks along the way. He helped the Bruins win two Section titles (2014, 2017) and was a force on both sides of the ball. As a fullback with the Bruins, Baze ran for 1,544 yards and 30 touchdowns on 251 carries.

The loss for the Wolverines drops them to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in the conference play. Next up for Sierra is a contest against conference foe Feather River College (0-7, 0-2).

American River (5-2, 2-0) will look for their fourth straight victory when they host Butte College (5-2, 2-0) Saturday.

Both American River and Sierra compete in the California Community College Athletic Association's National-NorCal Conference.

Original Article written by The Union: https://www.theunion.com/sports/alumni-notebook-nu-grad-justin-houlihan-leads-defensive-effort-as-american-river-routs-sierra/