SRJC football falls to CCSF 40-17

By PETER FOURNIER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A 14-3 deficit doesn’t seem so terrible after one quarter of football.

Don’t tell that to the Santa Rosa Junior College football team.

The Bear Cubs were within reach of City College of San Francisco after 15 minutes, but in a massive hole 57 seconds into the second, as the Rams returned two interceptions for touchdowns in that time frame en route to taking a 40-3 lead at the half.

By the time the game ended, the 40-17 victory for CCSF at Bailey Field had been a foregone conclusion for almost three quarters.

“They’re a really good team and when you make it easy on them, they get even better,” Bear Cubs coach Lenny Wagner said.

SRJC quarterback David Sowards had completed just 2 of 7 passes before throwing the first pick-six — to Rams linebacker James Hickman at the SRJC 32 — who had a clear path to the end zone.

On the first play of the ensuing Bear Cubs’ drive, Sowards’ pass was tipped and returned 31 yards for a touchdown by Myles Holmes to put CCSF in front 27-3.

Sowards was pulled for El Molino grad Mike Pierson, who finished the half 9 of 18 with one interception.

“(Sowards) was rattled,” Wagner said. “He was rattled a little bit and we just feel like we needed to give him a breather, calm him down, let him watch their secondary move around a little bit and see what they’re giving us and kind of use it as an opportunity to coach him up.”

Sowards re-entered the game in the second half but left due to an injury in the fourth quarter.

“The way he’s holding his arm, it doesn’t look good,” Wagner said. “It’s the same arm he hurt before. It’s going to be a challenge to see what our trainers can do this week.”

The Bear Cubs actually got on the scoreboard first. Vaimaa Taito intercepted CCSF’s Turner Baty at midfield and returned the pick inside the Rams’ 20. SRJC would stall inside the 10-yard line, and the Bear Cubs settled for a 26-yard field goal by Levi Paine to lead 3-0 early in the first quarter.

Then the CCSF offense found its rhythm, thanks in part to Santa Rosa High graduate Jahray Hayes. On a third-and-5 at the Bear Cubs’ 27, the Rams’ running back caught a 26-yard pass from Baty and ran in for a touchdown from 1 yard out on the next play.

After the Bear Cubs went three-and-out on their next drive, CCSF went 67 yards in just five plays, capped with a Baty 36-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Thompson.

SRJC shut out the Rams in the second half and added a pair of touchdowns. Vaimaa Tato returned a fumble 36 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter and Sowards threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Blank in the fourth quarter.

Bear Cubs running back K’Lan Anderson led SRJC with eight catches for 92 yards and also tacked on 33 rushing yards. Sowards finished 17-of-34 for 152 yards and Pierson completed 10 of 19 passes for 109 yards and one interception.

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