Bear Cubs Escape to Remain Undefeated

Albert Gregory, Sports Editor

Northern California No.1 Santa Rosa Junior College football team fumbled three

times in the second half but squeaked out a 17-14 road win over No. 19 Sacramento City

College Sept. 19.

“We know we need to work harder, get better, but we feel like we have the potential to be

great,” said sophomore running back Ja’Narrick James after the game. “Because we’re able

to have the worst game that we’ve had yet against a pretty good team and still walk away

with a W.”

It was another strong defensive win for the Bear Cubs who walked away with a victory

despite continuing to hand the ball, sometimes literally, to their opponents. In the end of

the fourth quarter, sophomore wide receiver Ben Putman caught a short pass and made a

few tacklers miss until a Sac City defensemen ripped the ball easily from Putman’s grasp.

The Sac City defender took off running towards the Bear Cub’s end zone and scored a

touchdown to give Sac City a 14-10 lead with less than seven minutes remaining in the

game.

“I think we played good; we just kept giving them the ball,” said head coach Lenny Wagner.

“It wasn’t like they stopped us. We just kept literally handing it to them and it was guys

who normally don’t do it too.”

The game was tied 7-7 at halftime.

Coming out of halftime, SRJC fumbled the ball on it’s first possession and were bailed out

by Sac City after a 60-yard touchdown pass was called back due to holding.

The game remained knotted up through the third, and it wasn’t until early in the fourth

quarter the Bear Cubs scored again with a 30-yard field goal.

Throughout the first four games of the season SRJC has been consistent on special teams

despite struggling in other areas.

“We didn’t execute on offense and our defense was spotty, and [Sac City] found the holes,”

James said. “Special teams was the only unit that really came together and played.”

After the field goal, SRJC took a 10-7 lead that was wiped away five minutes later when Sac

City’s defense scored after stripping Putman, to go up 14-10.

With the clock ticking down in the game, the Bear Cubs drove down the field and

sophomore quarterback Mitch Hood threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide

receiver Kerr Johnson Jr for a 17-14 lead. SRJC’s defense subsequently stopped Sac City

and held onto the win.

Now SRJC turns its attention to Sierra College who is 1-3 after losing 40-37 to College of

the Sequoias Sept. 24.

“I think they’re 1-3, which sucks because it means it could be one of those trap games,”

Wagner said. “So we got to get everybody fired up.”

Though Sierra is unranked with a losing record, it doesn’t not mean players aren’t thinking

about them. In fact, sophomore defensive back Keilan Benjamin has plans for one player in

particular.

“Coach from Utah State called me and was talking about a specific player on [Sierra] so I

plan on making his life hard,” Benjamin said. “It’s a little personal.”

Benjamin’s twin brother, sophomore defensive back Keith Benjamin, feels confident SRJC

can to handle Sierra.

“[Sierra] is a pass heavy team but that’s our strong suit really so I look forward to it,” Keith

Benjamin said. “We don’t plan on losing.”

SRJC faces off against Sierra College on the road at 1 p.m. Oct. 1.