SANTA ANA, Calif. – The Dons opened the 2018 season with a heartbreaking 41-38 loss to San Bernardino Valley on Saturday night.
Although Santa Ana got off to a slow start, going down 15-0 in the first quarter, they quickly responded to get back into the game.
Connor Brown threw his first touchdown pass of the season, which was tipped up and eventually brought down by sophomore Nick Gallardo to put Santa Ana on the board. After getting a couple stops, the Dons marched down the field to score again as Joshua Hill finished things off with a one-yard touchdown carry, making it a 15-14 game.
San Bernardino Valley would score two more touchdowns in the half while SAC put in a field goal, resulting in a 27-17 lead at the break for the Wolverines.
In the third quarter, the Dons flipped the script with three unanswered touchdowns in the quarter while holding SBVC scoreless.
Gallardo set the tone, catching a quick screen to score from six yards out for his second touchdown of the day. On the next Santa Ana drive, quarterback Connor Brown gave his team the lead after fooling the Wolverine defense on a fake handoff and running into the end zone from 11 yards out. Wide receiver Tyriq Wilson added some insurance right after that, catching a 14-yard pass from Brown to give SAC a 38-27 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Santa Ana had all the momentum going into the fourth and seemed as if they'd be walking away with a win to start the season. Unfortunately, the momentum shifted late as SBVC put themselves in striking position with a touchdown at 10:10 mark.
The Dons ran the clock down to about two minutes without giving up the lead and had the ball at the 50 with a third and 14 situation. Santa Ana chose to be the aggressor and go for the first down, throwing a deep pass down the field but things went south from there, as Jefferey James of SBVC picked off the pass and took it back to the Santa Ana 12-yard line to completely change the game. The Wolverines would score to go up 41-38 with just 1:20 left on the clock.
SAC's offense advanced the ball to the SBVC 36-yard line with the game on the line but couldn't convert on fourth and three to end the ball game.
Connor Brown went 31-57 in the air for 294 yards, three touchdowns and interception while rushing for another touchdown. Joshua Hill carried the ball 27 times for 78 yards and a touchdown. And the receiving core composed of Tyriq Wilson, Jorgie Alvarado, Qadir Dean and Nick Gallardo combined for 246 yards and three touchdowns.
Up next the Dons will go on the road to face Antelope Valley College on Saturday, September 8th at 6:00 p.m. AVC defeated Glendale College 23-9 on Saturday in their 2018 season opener.