De Anza fumbles away home opener


Marion Hohlfeld

A pass intended for De Anza sophomore wide receiver James Roe (15) is intercepted by American River defensive back Malcolm Scott (8). The Dons lost their home opener 49-28 on Saturday Sept. 13.

Jacob Sisneros, Managing Editor

In a game that had nine turnovers, two costly mistakes spelled defeat for the De Anza College Dons as they lost their home opener 49-28 against the American River College Beavers on Saturday Sept. 13.

A 35-yard fumble return for a touchdown and a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown by American River on the Dons’ first two possessions of the second half gave the Beavers a quick 14-point advantage that the Dons couldn’t recover from.

“You get all amped up, then you sit for 20 minutes [at halftime] and sometimes you come out sluggish,” said Dons’ sophomore quarterback TJ Menning. “To lose by 21 is unacceptable.”

American River began the scoring with a 15-yard touchdown reception by freshman wide receiver Jonathan Lopez with 3:12 to go in the first quarter.

A fumble by the Beavers at their own 32-yard line set up a rushing touchdown by Dons’ freshman running back Nick Bernardo and tied the score 7-7.

Two minutes later, a 38-yard reception by Dons’ sophomore wide receiver Oscar Graves set up a rushing touchdown by sophomore fullback Jordan Gallegos and put the Dons ahead 14-7 at the 10-minute mark in the second quarter.

American River responded quickly on its next drive with a 54-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Tanner Trosin to sophomore wide receiver Tyler Young tying the score 14-14 and ending the scoring for the first half.

After American River turned the ball over on downs to start the second half, a fumbled handoff by Menning was recovered and returned for a touchdown by Beaver’s sophomore defensive lineman Ewing Simmons. This gave American River a 21-14 lead with 13:25 left in the
third quarter.

On the first play of the next series for the Dons, Menning threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by American River sophomore defensive back Damion Sanders.

In a 20-second span, the Beavers had scored twice and jumped out to a 28-14 lead with 13:12 left in the third quarter.

Five minutes later, American River extended its lead to 35-14 with a touchdown run by freshman running back Wadus Parker.

After freshman quarterback Jamie Ybarra Jr. threw an interception for the Dons, American River threw an interception of its own. Freshman linebacker Joe Kaufusi returned the interception nine yards for a touchdown and cut American River’s lead to 14 points.

On the ensuing possession, De Anza sophomore defensive back Thaddeus Phillyaw intercepted another pass by Trosin, but the Dons were unable to capitalize on the turnover.

The Beavers made De Anza pay when they got the ball back, scoring on a 60-yard touchdown reception by freshman wide receiver Marc Ellis and putting the game out of reach 42-21.

The teams traded touchdowns once again as De Anza scored on a one-yard run by Menning and American River returned another interception for a touchdown, making the
final score 49-28.

“We beat ourselves in the third quarter,” Graves said.

The Dons turned the ball over six times in the game and three of those were returned for touchdowns. They also caused three turnovers and returned one for a touchdown.

“We have to keep moving forward and minimize mistakes,” Bernardo said. “There is only room for improvement.”

Bernardo led the Dons in rushing with 44 yards on
14 attempts and a touchdown. Graves led De Anza in receiving with four catches for 64 yards and sophomore wide receiver Trae Owens finished with five catches for 42 yards.

Menning was 17-33 with 142 yards passing and two interceptions for the Dons. Menning’s backup Ybarra Jr. was 4-12 with 40 yards and also threw two interceptions.

Dons head coach Dan Atencio said he switched quarterbacks often in the game to keep their legs fresh and get each quarterback experience.

“We are playing the toughest teams we can find,” Atencio said. “It will pay off when we get to conference play.”

De Anza’s next home game is on Saturday Sept. 27 at 2 p.m. against College of the Sequoias.