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Laney College’s football team came back in the second half to beat Santa Rosa Junior College 42-35 in a Saturday night conference matchup in Santa Rosa.

The Bear Cubs (6-2, 2-1 Bay 6), ranked No. 12 in the state, found themselves playing against a familiar face. Quarterback Jordon Brookshire left Santa Rosa in between seasons to play for Laney.

“I always see those guys, I’m always with them, hanging with them, so we’re still best of friends,” Brookshire, a Cardinal Newman grad, said of his former SRJC teammates. “Playing in practice, that’s a different story, but when you’re playing in a real game, against the guys you spent a whole year with, that’s lot of fun.”

The Eagles (5-3, 1-2 Bay 6), ranked No. 9 in the state, started the season on a hot streak by winning their first four games, but have since lost two of the last three.

“He’s just another No. 4 to us. Laney’s a good football team; they’re in the Bay 6, so we wanted to beat them as bad as anybody else we play, but there was no extra ‘Hey, we’re playing against our old quarterback,’” SRJC head coach Lenny Wagner said of facing Brookshire. “Really, we’re more worried about their tailback and their wide receiver.”

Following the Eagles’ loss last week to No. 6 San Mateo, the Bear Cubs found themselves tied with Laney for second place in the conference heading into Saturday’s game, but could not hold off the visitors’ second-half comeback.

The Bear Cubs looked dominant in the first half, as tight end Harrison Murray caught a 4-yard touchdown, wide receiver Graeden Monahan-Sharpe caught a 30-yard score and the offense drove down the field to set up a 46-yard field goal by Keven Nguyen to go up 17-7 at halftime.

The Eagles came out in the second half looking to turn the game around. Brookshire did so immediately, driving down the field and hitting Robert Stern for a 35-yard touchdown to cut Santa Rosa’s lead to 17-14.

The Bear Cubs answered with a field goal from 47 yards out to go up 20-14.

But the Eagles struck again, scoring on a 30-yard touchdown run from running back Harold Tidwell to take their first lead at 21-20.

Brookshire looked more comfortable in the second half, successfully driving down the field with some big gains and capping another drive with a score by running into the end zone on a QB keeper — extending Laney’s lead to 28-20.

Santa Rosa quarterback Jake Simmons struggled to find wide receiver Lucas Triplett after a big reception in the first quarter, but the pair connected early in the fourth quarter for an 11-yard touchdown that cut Laney’s lead to 28-26.

Brookshire continued to respond and ended another drive with a touchdown on a 28-yard pass to Angelo Garrett, extending the lead to 35-26.

On the next drive, Brookshire took advantage of good field position and scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to seemingly put the game out of reach at 42-26.

On the following kickoff the Eagles attempted an onside kick, with kicker KC Onwuemekas delivering a line-drive kick that bounced off the chest of the Bear Cubs’ Charles Turner-Cox and back into the arms of a Laney player.

The Bear Cubs managed one last touchdown on a 2-yard run by running back Kenneth Fitzgerald to cut their deficit to 42-32.

On the kickoff, the Bear Cubs tried their own onside kick and recovered it, driving down the field for a 40-yard field goal to come within seven points.

But the comeback attempt came too late and SRJC walked away with its second conference loss.

Santa Rosa goes on the road Saturday to face City College of San Francisco at 1 p.m.

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