De Anza receiver Rodney McKenzie secures the catch from quarterback Ron Johnson that would result in a gain of 98 yards against Santa Rosa College on Saturday Oct. 31. (Anthony Montes)
De Anza receiver Rodney McKenzie secures the catch from quarterback Ron Johnson that would result in a gain of 98 yards against Santa Rosa College on Saturday Oct. 31.

Anthony Montes

Dons fall despite forcing seven turnovers

De Anza's offense fail to capitalize on opportunities

November 5, 2015

De Anza College forced seven turnovers, but still managed to lose to visiting Santa Rosa College 10-8 in a game that went down to the wire on Saturday Oct. 31.

De Anza’s offense looked inexperienced and outmatched against their opponent, leading the team to punt seven times and go a measly 1-14 on third-down attempts.

“I think our defense came out and we did what we had to do. We just came up short,” said De Anza captain Sione Aonga.

Santa Rosa drew first blood when De Anza quarterback Ron Johnson, facing a 3rd and 7 on his own 32-yard line, threw an interception to Santa Rosa linebacker Ethan Roselli who returned it for a touchdown.

In the second quarter, Santa Rosa quarterback Mitch Hood had his pass intercepted by Dons linebacker Mathias Iafeta, setting up an offensive possession that led to De Anza’s first scoring drive of the game.

A completed pass, a rush, a pass interference penalty on the defense, and two more completed passes set De Anza up with 1st and 10 at Santa Rosa’s 17-yard line. Three plays later, De Anza kicker Pedro Comesana knocked in a 40-yard field goal which cut the lead to four.

At halftime the score remained 7-3.

In the third quarter, De Anza wide receiver Chris Nuttall muffed a punt, which Santa Rosa recovered at the Dons’ 24-yard line.

The turnover led to a Santa Rosa field goal, putting them up 10-3.

De Anza’s woes continued in the 4th quarter, when a punt by Cole Carrithers was blocked and recovered by Santa Rosa at the De Anza 20-yard line.

On the ensuing first down, Santa Rosa running back Justin James unleashed a 18-yard run leaving them right outside the goaline. The Dons defense came up huge on the next few plays and forced them to kick a field goal that hit the left upright and flew wide right.

After recovering a Santa Rosa fumble at the De Anza 1-yard line, the biggest offensive play of the game happened when Johnson found streaking De Anza wide receiver Rodney McKenzie down the sideline.

After making the catch and shedding his defender, McKenzie ran all the way to the Santa Rosa 1-yard line before he was tackled. The big play¬† lead to a De Anza field goal that shortened the Bear Cub’s lead to 10-6.

With time running down, De Anza’s chances to win were dwindling. After forcing Santa Rosa to punt from their 1-yard line, De Anza had the ball at their own 45 with 1:44 left in the game.

Their first play of the drive was a bit of trickery, Johnson passed the ball to McKenzie to his right, and McKenzie passed the ball to De Anza wide receiver Marque Watson for a 15-yard gain. A Santa Rosa defender stripped Watson after the catch, ending the drive and icing the game.

“I thought the defense played great, they created a lot of turnovers, and the offense didn’t take advantage of the turnovers, so my hats off to the defense,” said De Anza assistant head coach Tony Santos. “The offense has been struggling to score points the last three games.”

The Dons’ struggling offense will go on the road to play City College of San Francisco on Nov. 7 at 1 p.m.

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