Story by Pete Dufour/Auburn Journal
Photo by Dave Lawicka
Brandon Aiyuk caught his state-leading 10th touchdown pass and Will Brocchini picked off his fifth and sixth interceptions--also tops in the state--as Sierra College won its third straight non-conference football game 52-30 Saturday at Santa Rosa JC.
"Joe had another great game, and Brandon and Will are putting up great numbers for us," said Sierra head coach Ben Noonan. "It was an all-around great win for us as we prepare for conference play."
Quarterback Joe Curry tossed five touchdown passes on the day, two to Aiyuk, and one each to Draysean Hudson, Kenny McGloan and Ryan Graham. Curry was sharp, completing 25 of 40 passes for 265 yards and did not throw an interception. Curry has just one interception in 122 pass attempts and a quarterback rating of 160.7, second best in the state.
Sierra (3-2) led 24-0 before Santa Rosa (0-5) got on the board with a field goal with one second remaining in the half. The Bear Cubs scored again, late in the third period to make it 24-9 before Aiuk scored two touchdowns in less than 30 seconds. The first was an electrifying 76-yard kickoff return. Then Santa Rosa fumbled away the ensuing kickoff and Sierra recovered at the Santa Rosa 29. From there Curry found Aiyuk with a touchdown strike and Sierra led 38-9.
Hudson hauled in seven passes for 87 yards. Aiyuk caught six passes for 82 yards and Sierra offensive coordinator Daniel Diaz-Romero's game plan worked to perfection.
Sierra's defense gave up just the nine points before substituting freely. Derente Lamelle had a sack, while Brian Lee and Jacob Smith combined for another. Sierra's defensive line recorded five tackles for loss, and the Wolverines covered two fumbles, along with Brocchini's two picks.
"These guys are playing great football right now," said defensive coordinator Jim Gray. "They are smart, they hit, they stuff the run and like true Wolverines, they don't give up."
Forced to throw due to Sierra's offensive output, Santa Rosa quarterback Jordan Brookshire completed 17 of 31 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns, much of that coming against Sierra's reserves. Nick Nazarian was his favorite receiver, catching two scoring passes and rolling up 195 yards. Santa Rosa actually outgained Sierra in total yards, 477-467, however much of the Bear Cubs' yardage came after the game had been decided.
Deante McCullough added a seven-yard touchdown scamper for the Wolverine's lone rushing touchdown and reliable kicker Aaron Peart knocked through a 25-yard field goal and made good on all seven PAT kicks to complete the scoring.
It was an emotional day for coach Noonan, whose family, from Santa Rosa, lost their mother unexpectedly in June. Several family members were in attendance and on the sidelines.
Sierra has a bye week but had a difficult road ahead. "We will need to keep up the intensity and productivity as Sac City (5-0) is ranked among the best in NorCal and we play them at Buzz Ostrom Stadium October 14 to open Big-8 Conference play," Noonan said.