It was a mixed bag weekend for the Santa Rosa JC football team.
The low point came Friday night when the Bear Cubs blew a 16-point lead late in the third quarter and lost the regular-season finale at Diablo Valley, 44-41.
After spending Saturday in the doldrums, the team and coaching staff got a boost on Sunday when SRJC was invited to play in the State Center Bowl on Saturday at Fresno City College.
Then, the news got even better when the Big 6 released its all-conference selections and Santa Rosa landed nine players on the list.
“We’re excited about the bowl game and the guys that made all-conference,” coach Lenny Wagner said. “Losing the last game of the regular season was disheartening, but now we have something to look forward to.”
Among the nine all-conference players, three have Redwood Empire roots: Matt Hun (Rancho Cotate), Chris Lemus (Rancho) and Christian McAlvain (Windsor).
The others are: Terence Drew, Drew Jackson, Nick Kristofors, Quenten McCoy, Bryan Stansbury and Will Wowkanyn.
McAlvain and Drew are being considered for All-America honors.
Quarterback McAlvain has passed for more than 2,200 yards and 26 touchdowns while wide receiver Drew has had an outstanding season despite being hampered the past three weeks by a mid-foot sprain.
In the Friday night game, Drew and McAlvain teamed up for two touchdowns and three others were called back because of penalties.
Even with the loss, the Bear Cubs finished 7-3, their best regular-season record since 2007.
“It’s been one of those years where I can’t help thinking what might have been without injuries,” Wagner said.
Three defensive stalwarts — Eddie Calderon, Ethan Rosselli (Santa Rosa) and Vai Taito (Rancho Cotate) — each missed multiple games.
Rosselli and Taito will be back for the game against Fresno (6-4).
“We beat them last year in the regular season,” Wagner said. “They’re big and every year they’re among the powers of junior college football.
“It’s going to be a tough game for us, especially playing on their field.”