By: Jorge Campos and Chelsea Ybanez
Sophomore quarterback Shane Truelove tossed three touchdown passes to lead the Dons past the Allan Hancock College Bulldogs 28-26 in the season opener Saturday at Eddie West Field.
“I just felt confident. We have a good offensive line I play behind and we have athletes that can make plays,” Truelove said.
Truelove completed 16 of 31 passes for 169 yards, finding three different receivers in the end zone for his third career three-touchdown game. It was the fifth time he threw for 169 passing yards or more.
“Every freshman going into his sophomore year gets better. The game slows down for them,” Santa Ana College Head Coach Geoff Jones said.
The Bulldogs scored the first 10 points on a 28-yard field goal by kicker Jose Morales and a 28-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Curry Parham to receiver Tristen Jeffries. Jeffries finished with seven catches for 101 yards in the game.
“Our offense played great in the second half. We dug a whole in the first half that we just couldn’t dig out of,” Bulldogs Head Coach Kris Dutra said.
Truelove found receiver Hayden Dunn for a 15-yard touchdown pass to get on the board with early in the second quarter. SAC closed out the half scoring on a 62-yard fumble recovery for by cornerback Jeremy Maxwell giving the Dons first lead 14-10.
“I came out today trying to stand out,” Maxwell said.
The Bulldogs received the ball in the second half but could not manage positive yards losing 18 on six plays.
The Dons scored on its second possession of the third quarter when wide receiver Nathaniel Nicholson made a 20-yard basket catch in the end zone. Nicholson led the Dons receiving with four catches for 51 yards.
The two teams traded scores for much of the third quarter until the score ballooned to 28-13 in favor of the Dons, who failed to score the rest of the game.
“I take full responsibility for that. We sort of took our foot off the pedal and let them [Allan Hancock] catch up again at the end,” Truelove said.
The Bulldogs scored 13 unanswered points in the second half to come within two points at the end. But the Dons defense was able to hold off a late rally when it stopped the Bulldogs’ offense on 4th and 9 with 45 seconds left in the game.
“We gassed out in the end. I thought we did a good job preparing them but they were dehydrated,” Dutra said “Most of these kids have never played in this heat.”
The Dons next play on Saturday at 6 p.m. on the road against L.A. Harbor College.