SRJC loses the Bay 6 Conference Championship

San+Mateo+players+gang+tackle+Bear+Cubs%27+running+back+Ja%27Narrick+James+in+SRJC%27s+26-23+loss+in+the+Bay+6+Championship.

Albert Gregory

San Mateo players gang tackle Bear Cubs' running back Ja'Narrick James in SRJC's 26-23 loss in the Bay 6 Championship.

Albert Gregory, Sports Editor

San Mateo College completed its comeback on a game winning field goal in the final minutes to beat Santa Rosa Junior College 26-23 to win the Big 6 Conference Championship Nov. 5 at Bailey Field.

The Bear Cubs looked strong on offense and defense throughout most of the first half and were winning 20-16 going into half-time, but a stagnate offense and costly turnovers ultimately lead to the San Mateo comeback.

“We just gave them opportunities,” said head coach Lenny Wagner. “A couple of turnovers, big plays, some missed tackles.”

Good kick returns by San Mateo and costly turnovers by SRJC gave San Mateo good field position for most of the game.

“I mean, it doesn’t take much when you are playing a good football team, the margin of error is really small,” Wagner said. “It comes down to who makes a mistake here and who makes a mistake there, and we made a couple today.”

Sophomore running back Ja’Narrick James, who only had two fumbles going into the game, turned the ball over twice; once on a fumble and another on a muffed punt. Both turnovers resulted in touchdowns for San Mateo.

“It could’ve been a different story,” Wagner said. “It could’ve been any of those plays when we got sacked or it could’ve been one of those plays when we made a mistake.”

Despite the loss, SRJC played hard throughout the contest including sophomore quarterback Mitch Hood who completed 31 of 52 pass attempts and 340 yards.

“I thought we showed some heart,” Wagner said. “The guys that were out there played hard the entire game and we talked about giving everything you’ve got and having no regrets.”

The Bear Cubs’ defense, which has been the strongest aspect of the team all season, had a good night allowing only 249 yards passing and 118 yards rushing on 43 attempts. However, the defense only forced one turnover and were not able to capitalize on it unlike what they’ve been doing all season.

“I think the team played really well overall,” said sophomore defensive back Kadeem Hemphill. “Our special teams suffered a little bit, but coach always talks about scoring on defense and we didn’t do that.”

After the loss in the Big 6 Championship the Bear Cubs have very slim chances of still making the playoffs.

“We still have a chance to go to the playoffs so next week we’ll try to be better and we’ll see where the season goes from there,” said sophomore center Jalen Soto.

SRJC’s next opponent is De Anza College, which will be a must win for the Bear Cubs.

“They played San Francisco [City College] really tough and lost 38-37,” Wagner said. “They’re no slouch even though they are like 1-9.”

SRJC faces De Anza College at 5 p.m. on Nov. 12.