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A stellar performance on defense and special teams for Santa Rosa Junior College football led to a 37-13 victory over the College of the Sequoias in the Bear Cubs’ homecoming game Saturday in Santa Rosa.

What began as a close game between the two teams in the first half suddenly turned into an easy victory for the Bear Cubs (3-1) when their defense and special teams took over in the third quarter with a kick return for a touchdown, an interception returned for another and a botched snap that was returned for a third touchdown.

Offensively, the Bear Cubs have rotated quarterbacks throughout the season, but this week started Jake Simmons and he stayed in the rest of the afternoon.

“Jake was the starter going into last week’s game and then he got hurt and so we just stuck with what was going and who was playing the best at the time,” said Santa Rosa head coach Lenny Wagner. “It really is a day-to-day thing but right now Jake’s the guy.”

Santa Rosa running back David Chenault put together a good drive on the ground early in the first quarter and led his team down the field. Keven Nquyen capped the drive with a 27-yard field goal for a 3-0 Bear Cubs lead.

Santa Rosa had another successful drive in the middle of the second quarter. Simmons completed a big gain through the air and combined with Chenault’s running the Bear Cubs finished another series scoring this time on easy 5-yard screen to wide receiver Graeden Monahan-Sharpe.

Santa Rosa then leaned on its defense, but Sequoias completed a long pass putting the Giants in Bear Cubs territory for the first time in the game.

The Giants completed the drive with a powerful run into the end zone out of the wildcat formation to shorten the lead to 10-7 with less than five minutes left in the first half.

Due to a block in the back on the ensuing kick return, Santa Rosa began the drive on its own 5-yard line.

But after a couple short pass completions, Simmons completed a 77-yard pass to wide receiver Lucas Triplett to put them on Sequoias’ 1-yard line.

Penalties drove the Bear Cubs out of their opponent’s red zone and they had to settle for a 33-yard field goal and went into halftime up 13-7.

The Bear Cubs opened the half strong as Kalei Aukai returned the kickoff for a touchdown, extending Santa Rosa’s lead to two scores.

Sequoias answered back with its own scoring drive composed mostly of short passes to bring the lead back within one score. But the Bear Cubs did block the extra point keeping their lead 20-13.

On the next offensive series for the Giants a bad snap over the Sequoias punter’s head allowed Santa Rosa’s Richie Hardwick to scoop up the loose ball and dive into the end zone extending the Bear Cubs’ lead.

On the very next play, defensive back Allante Leapheart intercepted the ball and easily took the pick-6 into the end zone. The Bear Cubs extended their lead to 34-13.

There was little action the rest of the game besides a short drive by Santa Rosa that resulted in a 33-yard field goal, sealing the 37-13 victory.

The Bear Cubs will next face Feather River College at 5 p.m. on Sept. 29 in Quincy.

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