It took an overtime effort, but the City College football team improved to 4-0 after a resilient 37-34 victory Sept. 22 at Santa Rosa Junior College.
Elijah Siemering made up for a missed extra-point attempt earlier in the game when he booted a 38-yard field goal through the uprights on the first drive in overtime, putting the Panthers up by three. On the ensuing Santa Rosa drive, despite wearing a cast on his right hand, defensive lineman Alexander Rowe pounced on a Bear Cub fumble, securing the ball and the game.
“Rowe had some good penetration on the edge, split the blockers and jumped on the ball. Game over,” said head coach Dannie Walker.
The Panthers tallied a season high of 494 yards of total offense against Santa Rosa. The freshman backfield duo of Isaiah Montanez (20 carries, 99 yards) and Tre Bussey (10 carries, 97 yards) led the attack with three scores between them. Montanez’s two touchdowns gave him five total scores in the team’s first four games.
“Montanez is special. We say he’s like a twitch, because he’s real sudden,” said Walker. “We have a stable of backs with guys like Montanez, Tre, Graylon Lindsey, Daniel Wright and Tivon Johnson. Once we get those other guys going, we’ll be really special.”
The two teams seesawed throughout regulation as Santa Rosa jumped out to a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter. The Bear Cubs held a 17-7 lead with under two minutes in the first half.
Jayden Machado’s 27-yard touchdown strike to Trevor Haro with 30 seconds left in the half pulled the Panthers within four at 17-13. The catch ignited a string of 20 unanswered points that gave City a 27-17 lead until the 5:32 mark of the third quarter.
“(Santa Rosa) is a well-coached team. They jumped on us early,” said Walker. “When you travel, you’ve got to bring the effort, and we came out extremely flat. But we started clawing back and finding our way.”
After a Santa Rosa field goal, City extended its lead early in the fourth on Bussey’s 22-yard run. The Bear Cubs made a run of their own and tied the game at 34 with three minutes to play. City thwarted an opportunity for a game-winning drive as Tommy Streb intercepted a Machado pass with just seven seconds left on the clock.
Montanez’s 16 yards on City’s overtime drive helped set up Siemering for the go-ahead field goal.
The Panthers return home on Sept. 30, with intentions of a fifth consecutive win to start 2017 against College of Sequoias at 6 p.m. at Hughes Stadium.
“The foundation is built,” said Walker. “Now, it’s a matter of building on our successes. Time to get back in the lab and get back to work.”
For more stats and info on SCC football, visit sccpanthers.losrios.edu/sports/fball.