A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Davidson hat trick catapults Bear Cubs to a win over Sierra

The Santa Rosa Junior College football team ended their season with a 4-6 record, but were a couple key plays away from a bowl game.

In a season filled with torment, a quarterback competition and season-ending injuries, the Santa Rosa Junior College football team closed out its final chapter of the 2022 season on good terms.

On the highest of highs, the Bear Cubs earned a dominant win over the Sierra Wolverines 34-21 at Bailey Field. 

Quarterback Carson Budke ended his season with his best performance in a Bear Cubs’ uniform. Budke carved up the Wolverines defense for 208 yards and four touchdown passes, with three of them thrown to wide receiver Cody Davidson.

“It was just nice to send the sophomores off the way we wanted to, everybody played a great game,” Budke said. 

Budke and Davidson were two of 26 SRJC sophomores who ended their Bear Cubs’ football career on Saturday night. “The sophomores are really a special group to me,” Head Coach Lenny Wagner said. “Last year we had unbelievable adversity, we had three players pass away, so they endured all of that and then to come all the way this season and finish the way they did I’m just really proud of them.”

On the Bear Cubs’ opening possession, a 59-yard reception by Isaac Torres set up Budke and Davidson’s first touchdown connection. Davidson ran a fade route to the back-left corner of the endzone and managed to keep both feet inbounds. 

In the second quarter, Budke linked up with Davidson on the same exact play, but on the opposite side of the field for their second score.

Budke fired a back-shoulder ball to Davidson to secure each other’s third touchdown . The Bear Cubs were going to kick a field goal, but a personal foul penalty negated the play. Instead of attempting a farther kick Wagner sent his offense back onto the field, which led to the touchdown

After sitting out the past two games with a concussion, Torres didn’t miss a beat, racking up six receptions for 101 yards and a game-sealing touchdown. 

“Today just felt different,” Torres said. “We clicked today and people came out hungry and having fun.”

Cornerback Gyasi Mattison made big play after big play to stifle the Wolverines passing attack. Mattison recorded a pass breakup, force fumble and an interception that shifted the momentum of the game into the Bear Cubs favor. 

When the Wolverines offense started to get back on track and cross midfield, Mattison picked off Sierra quarterback Michael Wortham sending the Bear Cubs’ sideline into pandemonium. 

Not only did Mattison shine defensively, but the Bear Cubs’ defensive line harassed Wortham all night. Collectively between defensive lineman Jack Brutus, Isaac Kim and Shane Reilly, they sacked Wortham four times and tackled Wolverines running backs for a loss five times.

“We [coaches] treated this like a bowl game and our players treated it like a bowl game,” Wagner said. “They played lights out and played hard from start to finish.” Wagner said. 

The Bear Cubs finish their competitive season with a 4-6 record, but their record doesn’t reflect how talented the roster was. In six losses, the Bear Cubs never lost by more than 14 points. If a couple key plays went the opposite, the perception around the season would be a lot different.

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About the Contributors
Tony Moeckel
Tony Moeckel, News Editor, Reporter
Tony Moeckel (he/him) is in his third year at SRJC and returning to The Oak Leaf for his third semester. He enjoys covering football, basketball and baseball for the Bear Cubs. He aspires to be a professional sports journalist or sports broadcaster.
Christian Vieyra
Christian Vieyra, Sports Editor, Reporter
Christian Vieyra (he/him) is in his fourth semester at The Oak Leaf and is a sports editor. He aspires to be a professional sports journalist and plans to transfer to a 4-year college this fall.

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