By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Santa Rosa JC amassed 613 yards of offense Saturday afternoon, but in the end the Bear Cubs were done in by their own mistakes as they lost to visiting De Anza, 34-31.
En route to the defeat, Santa Rosa lost two fumbles, threw two interceptions, dropped 12 other passes and were penalized 10 times.
After Santa Rosa had taken a 14-0 first-quarter lead, the mistakes helped De Anza outscore the Bear Cubs, 34-3. Trailing 34-17, the home team scored twice in the final 36 seconds.
“All those mistakes are a recipe for disaster,” coach Keith Simons said. “De Anza made the plays when they had to. We didn’t.”
Even with all the miscues, Santa Rosa only trailed 20-17 with six minutes to play. However, the Dons scored two touchdowns in 19 seconds to put the game out of reach.
The first score came on a trick play called by offensive coordinator Tony Santos. Quarterback Josh McCain took the snap and tossed a pass behind the line of scrimmage to wide receiver Bryan Fobbs, who threw 26 yards to Rodney McKenzie alone in the end zone.
Jordan Bergstrom fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Dons recovered at the SRJC 18. On the next play, Alfonzo Brister ran 18 yards for the clinching score.
The loss took the luster off a great performance by Bear Cubs freshman quarterback David Sowards, who threw for 458 yards.
“It would have been a lot more (yards) if we hadn’t dropped so many passes,” Simons said.
“Sowards played one helluva game. He didn’t deserve what he got. He put pass after pass right on the money.”
Three of his 33 completions were for touchdowns.
He opened the scoring by connecting with Bergstrom from five yards out. Later in the first quarter, 18 yards from paydirt, he hooked up with Terrance Drew to give his team a 14-0 lead.
The native of Portland, Ore., found the end zone again with a second remaining. That was a 21-yard scoring strike to Bergstrom.
He also ran for a two-yard TD.
“We beat ourselves,” Sowards said. “We didn’t execute for the full 60 minutes and we didn’t make the plays in the red zone. You can’t win games when you do that.”
De Anza’s McCain, who came into the game as the top-rated QB in the NorCal Conference, had a good day but couldn’t match Sowards.
He passed for 281 yards and threw for two scores. He was intercepted once.
Santa Rosa outrushed the visitors from Cupertino, 155-102. Despite missing a portion of the game with an injury, Spencer Morrow led all rushers with 131 yards on 18 carries.
Three players from Redwood Empire high schools had excellent games on defense. Austin Shull (Montgomery) made eight tackles, and Garrett Guanella (Cardinal Newman) and Mike Tuaua (Rancho Cotate) had five each. Guanella also had a sack and an interception.
Santa Rosa’s record drops to 3-5 and 1-2 in conference. De Anza is 6-2, 2-1.
Things don’t get easier for the Bear Cubs. Next Saturday they travel to City College of San Francisco. The undefeated Rams are ranked No. 1 in Northern California.