Laney defeated, Wagner’s Bear Cubs are 4-0

Joseph Barkoff, Sports Photo Editor

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The Bear Cubs football team seemed unstoppable at times against the Laney College Eagles, of Oakland, Sept. 27, winning 21-28 on Santa Rosa’s home turf Bailey Field increasing their record to 4-0 and ranked 18 in the nation for another week.

A trench-digging performance by the offensive line opened up holes large enough for 6’2” 225-pound Desmond Nisby to pummel into the secondary despite Laney’s stacking the box. Like a yard-eating, offensive time of possession-gorging machine, Nisby rushed for 141 yards on 28 carries for an average of 5 yards per carry with a slashing long run of 31 yards.

Nisby caught one pass in the flats from quarterback Christian McAlvain, where Nisby proceeded to run over would-be tacklers making his way to the sideline outrunning the Eagles secondary’s last-ditch attempts at an ankle tackle for a 48-yard reception touchdown. This was Nisby’s only reception of the game.

“It felt great. I had my teammates pumping me up and God on my side. We came to play tonight,” Nisby said.

The Eagles scored first with a field goal with 8:21 left in the first quarter. The Bear Cubs’ defense stifled both the running and passing game of the Eagles and the Bear Cubs’ offensive time of possession outnumbered the Eagles’ exponentially. Yet the Bear Cubs’ propensity to commit penalties in all phases of Santa Rosa’s game kept the Eagles within striking distance. The first quarter ended with Bear Cubs up 3-7.

With almost 11 minutes left in the half, McAlvain ran in one of his two rushing TD’s of the day, increasing the Bear Cubs’ points to 14. Though with 11 minutes to go and a whole other half to play, there’s lots of football left.

Then with 4:40 left in the half McAlvain tossed a pick six and though the Eagles failed their two-point conversion, the score was now 9-14 in favor of SRJC and the momentum seemed to be shifting. Less than a minute later Laney scored another touchdown. The Eagles failed the two-point after conversion, and the half ended with Bear Cubs down 15-14.

SRJC opened the second half with a bang. Terrence Drew returned the opening kickoff for 32 yards, but the Bear Cubs stalled out and punted.

On the ensuing drive the Eagles ran a quarterback sneak from their own 37-yard line and Kurt Palandech ran for his life through the Bear Cubs’ defense for a touchdown, pushing the lead for the Eagles to seven points. This was the largest lead the Eagles had in the game.

Then somewhere, like a switch was thrown, the Bear Cubs started to show the benefit of their offensive time of possession. Coupled with having kept its defense spending most of its time sidelined watching McAlvain lead the Bear Cubs down field, SRJC’s McAlvain drove his team again into the endzone twice more in the third quarter. He did it once with a run of his own and once with a bullet of a pass to an air-born Khirhy Hayes crossing in the endzone.

McAlvain ended his day with 22 completions for 38 attempts, two touchdowns and one interception. He had an excellent game despite the interception, passing to six different receivers and scrambling for 13 yards on nine attempts with two of his own rushing touchdowns.

Cameron Eisenhauer was McAlvain’s favorite target of the day, catching seven passes for 113 yards. Terrence Drew had only four receptions for 56 yards, as the Eagles might have gotten the memo that his nickname and initials are both TD.

SRJC committed 10 penalties for 130 yards, including a couple sloppy lapses in judgment, like running into the punt-returner with a fair catch signal given.

“I wish our guys would do it the easy way once in a while. Sometimes we make it tougher than it really has to be with the penalties and some blown assignments. I am very happy with the way our guys battled back,” Wagner said.

The Bear Cubs play at home again in week five, facing College of the Sequoias at 5 p.m. Oct. 4 on Bailey Field.