No moral victories for Santa Rosa

Posted by Staff Writer Eric Branch:
Let’s see, they played without their best player for the final three quarters. They were facing a juggernaut they had beaten once in 20 games dating back to 1989. And despite facing a 15-point halftime deficit they trailed by a touchdown and had the ball in the fourth quarter.
OK, we know most coaches don’t get too jazzed about moral victories, but it sure looked Santa Rosa’s 28-14 loss to Cardinal Newman on Friday night was something for the 1-5 Panthers to get excited about.
But Panthers first-year coach Tony Keefer, a former star quarterback at Newman, says the goal is to win. Period.
“From the outside looking in, I’m sure anyone would think that,” Keefer said. “But not on our football team. We’re not going into games trying to get some kind of so-called moral victory … We’re getting there. We’re taking steps in the right direction. But our goal is to win games in this league.”
The Panthers nearly pulled off the upset of the season without the services of all-league fullback/linebacker Jaden Rosselli, who left in the first quarter with turf toe.
Santa Rosa, which typically runs the spread offense, opened with the Toss, a throwback run-oriented attack designed to pick three or four yards a play and shorten the game.
Trailing 21-6 at halftime, the Panthers largely abandoned the Toss in the second half and closed to 21-14 on sophomore quarterback Kalen Rosselli’s 18-yard pass to Thomas Martin in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers, who have had seven coaches and two winning seasons since 1995, had their chances in the final quarter, but Cardinal Newman closed it out on Steven Stout’s 18-yard scoring run.
“They made the plays they had to make to win the game,” Keefer said. “They are an established program and they did what they had to do.”