Costly mistakes: SRJC suffers first loss of season, puts No. 1 ranking in jeopardy

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Albert Gregory

Defensive back Justin Tauaefa makes a tackle to save a touchdown in SRJC's 34-21 loss to San Francisco City College on Oct. 22.

Albert Gregory, Sports Editor

Turnovers and poor pass coverage cost Santa Rosa Junior College (6-1) its first loss of the season as San Francisco City College beat the Bear Cubs 34-21 on Oct. 22.

SRJC quarterback Mitch Hood struggled throughout the game, turning the ball over six times on four interceptions and two fumbles.

“We had a lot of turnovers on offense but next week we’ll be better,” sophomore tight end Dominic Carasco said. “[This loss] is going to put some fire under our butts.”

The Bear Cubs’ defense has been impressive all season—ranking fifth in the state with only 253.2 yards allowed per game—but San Francisco put up 425 yards of offense on Saturday.

A large chunk of San Francisco’s offense came from three big passing touchdowns, all at least 60 yards.

“We lost because of [the defensive backs], our blown coverages,” sophomore defensive back Keith Benjamin said. “We’ll bounce back.”

SRJC’s offense struggled, gaining 322 yards of total offense. The offense put together some decent drives to keep the game competitive but at the end of the game, when it mattered most, they were not able to finish drives, either due to penalties or turnovers.

“The offense started to click and the defense started to make big time stops,” sophomore offensive linemen Peter Parrick said. “Towards the end of the game the wheels started to fall off the bus a little bit, but as a team we’re definitely going to stay together and we’re definitely going to get better.”

The team’s emotions ran high during and after the game.

“They’re upset, but they’re more mad than upset, and that’s good because they need to be mad right now,” said head coach Lenny Wagner. “I think they’re going to handle [the loss] the right way.”

Some players, like defensive back Keilan Benjamin, were taken out of the game early to avoid them picking up another personal foul.

“We just told him to keep his head, he was upset that we pulled him out,” Wagner said. “He’d gotten himself a foul earlier in the game and we didn’t want him to get a second and not be able to play next week.”

SRJC’s next opponent is Diablo Valley College who beat the Bear Cubs in overtime last season.

“We need to get back at them,” Parrick said. “They came back and beat us last year and we definitely want them bad after what happened last year.”

The Bear Cubs plan to rebound from this loss and look forward to their 5 p.m. game against Diablo Valley Oct. 29 at Bailey Field.