Sierra loses 44-41 thriller in JUCO football season finale

By: Christopher Engelage for the Auburn Journal
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In a closely contested game, the American River College Beavers had the last laugh over the Sierra College Wolverines Saturday, defeating them 44-41 in a shootout at Homer “Buzz” Ostrom Stadium.

The loss plummets Sierra to a 2-8 season finish.

After jumping out to a 21-7 lead by the end of the first quarter, it appeared as if the Wolverines were poised to upset the Beavers who are ranked fifth in the state. American River had other ideas as freshman Quarterback Griffin Dahn led the Beavers on three second-half scoring drives, with the Beavers outscoring the Wolverines 24-13 in the final two-quarters.

On Sierra’s final offensive possession, Tyrell Anderson (Center) scored on a quarterback keeper from six yards out in the game's waning minutes, cutting American River’s lead to just one point. It would be all for not, as American River blocked and returned the ensuing extra point for two points of their own.

On the Beavers final possession in an attempt to eat the clock, Quarterback Griffin Dahn connected with Ce’von Mitchell-Ford (Cosumnes Oaks) to ice the game, on a clutch fourth down conversion.

The Wolverine offense was rolling on all cylinders in Saturday’s action, with many players stuffing the stat sheet.

Tyrell Anderson led the way with 336-yards passing, completing 22 of 35 attempts and finding the end-zone four different times. The sophomore quarterback also had a productive day on the ground, rushing for 59- yards and scoring once.

Tyrell Anderson’s impact was felt in every facet of the game, as he also deflected several passes playing in the Wolverine secondary, and assisted on two tackles. Anderson even left his mark playing special teams, punting three times and on each attempt, the Beavers were pinned within their own 20-yard line.

 “Tyrell Anderson is an exceptional football player as we saw in all phases of the game,” Sierra coach Ben Noonan said. “He’s an all-purpose guy.

Sierra’s leading rusher for the game was sophomore running back Andrew Lackowski, as he barreled through the Beaver defense for 130 tough-earned yards.

Isaiah Bailey (Jesuit) led the Wolverine’s in receptions with nine and averaged eleven yards per catch as he eclipsed the one-hundred-yard marker going for 102-yards and scoring twice.

Brandon Aiyuk (McQueen) had a solid outing as well, reeling in six passes for 121-yards and two touchdowns. Despite the loss, Aiyuk made the game's top play in what Head Coach Ben Noonan said was, “the best catch I’ve seen in person.”

Aiyuk skied over two Beaver defenders pulling down the acrobatic catch and finished the play scoring a 63-yard touchdown.

Leading the way for the Wolverine defense was Ryan Gray (Placer) as he was in on 11 solo tackles and assisted on eight more. In the secondary freshman, Damaree Morris and sophomore Jonathan Fletcher both picked off Griffin Dahn passes thrown their way.

It wasn’t the postseason season Noonan was gunning for, but he found the silver lining in a thrilling season finale.

“I would have bet my house that this was a bowl game type of group,” Noonan said. They fought their tails off today.

“And you cannot fault them, the scoreboard did not reflect their effort.”