NOTICE: SRJC football team ends conference with 4-1 record

At this point in the season, the Bears Cubs are 2-3 going into the conference game, but their record doesn’t reflect the progress they’ve made from week to week.

In their season opener, the Bear Cubs gave the defending CCCAA champions, the San Francisco City College Rams, a scare but ultimately lost 31-20. Many predicted the Rams would crush the Bear Cubs in the season opener, so a close game showed the Bear Cubs were real.

The Bear Cubs continued their week one performance with a defensive battle loss. In Santa Rosa’s home opener, the defense solidified as an elite unit and forced two gigantic goal-line stands to keep them in the game. However, in the second week, the offense was still trying to determine their identity and as a result lost to the Modest Pirates 15-7.

Quarterback Santino Chavez cemented his role as the starting quarterback and the offense found that identity in weeks three and four. The Bear Cubs caught fire against Contra Costa and sculpinwinning both games by double digits.

But Game 5 of the season against Reedley eluded the Bear Cubs. Santa Rosa had a lead for most of the first half, but 20 unanswered points from the Tigers led to a 23-13 loss for the Bear Cubs.

Fresh off a bye week, the Bear Cubs are ready to make a serious push against their conference and playoff opponents.

Game: Saturday, October 15, Santa Rosa Bear Cubs at Butte Roadrunners

Prediction: Roadrunners 28 – Cubs 21

Analysis: The Bear Cubs will lose another late-game biter to the Roadrunners due to Butte’s powerful offense.

Santa Rosa has been heating up offensively lately. Several different weapons like running backs Gavin Lemos and Rasheed Rankin and wide receiver Isaac Torres get more targets on offense. However, Butte’s offense will be too much in this one.

The Roadrunners have averaged 33.2 points per game, with quarterback Tanner Hughes and connection wide receiver Jailen Hammer proving vital to their success. Hughes has thrown for over 800 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, with six touchdowns thrown at Hammer.

Earlier in the season, Butte knocked out the San Francisco Rams 35-14, a team the Bear Cubs lost to. The Roadrunners should be able to replicate the full game they had against the Rams against the Bear Cubs and score four touchdowns against the Bear Cubs defense.

Game: Saturday October 22, Siskiyous Eagles at Santa Rosa Bear Cubs

Prediction: Santa Rosa 45 – Siskiyous 21

Analysis: After losing two straight games, the Bear Cubs will collect 45 points to defeat the Eagles in a well-deserved rebound game.

The Bear Cubs need to target a weak Eagles pass defense to succeed. The passing game can exploit an inexperienced Eagles secondary by mixing screen play with crossing patterns to confuse defensive backs. Siskiyous has allowed more than 38 points per game and more than 290 passing yards this year.

Santino Chavez should have a major night and enjoy a favorable game. Don’t be surprised if Chavez has his best game of the season and rips the Eagles for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. Chavez will also turn to his No. 1 target Isaac Torres for a big night.

The Eagles will likely play the majority of second coverage on defense, trying not to give up the big play to an explosive Bear Cubs offense. However, Chavez has proven he can carve out a defense with the short, middle and deep passing game and will do so against the Eagles.

Game: Saturday, October 29, American River Beavers at Santa Rosa Bear Cubs

Prediction: Santa Rosa 27 – American River 10

Analysis: Despite scoring 29 points in the Week 5 win over Modesto, the Beavers haven’t had more than 15 points in the previous four weeks.

In total, American River gave up 16 sacks to the opposing defensive lineman. The Bear Cubs defensive line is expected to continue that trend and fire American River quarterback Matt Carlisle more than four times.

Throughout the season, the Bear Cubs have brought in linebacker Dimitri Johnson on blitzes through center and I expect them to do just that against American River. Johnson can confuse the Beavers offensive line by lining up over center on first downs to keep the offensive lineman guessing whether he’s blitzing or not. Johnson leads the team with four sacks; he lived in the backfield against Chabot and had a long night for quarterbacking Chabot, he should do much the same against the Beavers.

Game: Saturday, November 5, Santa Rosa Bear Cubs at Shasta Knights

Prediction: Santa Rosa 20 – Shasta 8

Analysis: This game will likely be a low-scoring affair, with both teams trying to run the ball and control possession time.

Shasta’s run defense has struggled tremendously this season, giving up 170 rushing yards per game. A talented core running back from Santa Rosa should dominate in a big game. Rasheed Rankin and Gavin Lemos could eclipse 200 combined rushing yards for the first time this season.

The Bear Cubs’ run defense has stifled opponents so far, allowing just 85 rushing yards per game. However, they will have to show up in a big way to slow down the Knights’ rushing attack.

Shasta’s offense cuts through his running game in a big way, as the players not only run the ball effectively, but they also use the run to set up the play-action passing game. If the Bear Cubs can minimize Shasta’s running offense and take advantage of Shasta’s poor running defense, they should control this game from start to finish.

Game: Saturday, November 12, Sierra Wolverines at Santa Rosa Bear Cubs

Prediction: Santa Rosa 27 – Sierra 24

Analysis: This game will be the Bear Cubs’ biggest challenge, and they will overcome it to win on a last-second field goal from Jo Jo Martinez.

Sierra is one of the best teams in the CCAA, currently ranked #5 in JCAB’s football poll. The Wolverines are a versatile team that don’t have many weaknesses.

However, one weakness the Bear Cubs can take advantage of is Sierra’s terrible ball safety. The Wolverines fumbled four times in their lone loss, and the Bear Cubs will have to win the turnover battle to squeeze through with a win.

Hard-hitting cornerback Gyasi Mattison could be the x-factor due to his ability to generate big plays and turnovers.

The Bear Cubs put together a full game against Chabot and will need to replicate their ability to drive the ball down the field and score as a group to defeat a very talented Sierra team.

This game could decide the NorCal National Champions if these predictions are correct. The Bear Cubs enter this game with a 3-1 conference record, while the Wolverines enter with a 4-0 record. If the Bear Cubs manage to eliminate the Wolverines, they own the tiebreaker to win the conference.

About Betty J. Snyder

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