SANTA ANA, Calif. - The Santa Ana College Football team finally got their chance to take the field on Saturday night as the Dons played host to the Moorpark Raiders (1-1) in their home opener and first game played of the 2021 season.
It was a great showing for the Santa Ana fan base with more than 500 in attendance for the much anticipated start of the Coach Anthony White era with the Dons.
After pre-game introductions and the national anthem, the Dons went right to work as they drove down the field for a touchdown on their first possession of the game.
Following a couple defense stops by both teams, the Raiders were able to tie things up as they answered with a four play, 75 yard drive to make it a 7-7 game with 3:35 left in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the SAC defense stiffened to keep the Raiders quiet while the Don offense put kicker Aaron Rojas in position to chip in a couple field goals to go up 13-7 at the half.
Although Santa Ana looked like the better team in the first half, Moorpark made their adjustments and came out firing in the third quarter. The Raiders received the ball first and marched down for a seven play, 62 yard touchdown to take their first lead of the game at 14-13.
After a three and out by the Santa Ana offense, the Raiders got the ball back and put up another touchdown to go up 21-13 at the 8:35 mark in the third quarter.
Things got exciting once the fourth quarter began, as the Dons made their comeback attempt. With 12:08 on the clock, SAC got the ball back at their own 37 yard line and began to click again.
On a third down, SAC running back Gary Ferman rushed up the middle and broke free for a 37 yard pick up, giving the Dons new life and momentum. Ferman continued to add on yards and picked up another first down which opened things up for Wilson to finish the drive on an eight yard touchdown pass to Tyler Shimomura, cutting the Moorpark lead to just two points.
The Dons went for the two point conversion but the pass was knocked down to end the drive.
At that point, the game became a defensive struggle as neither team could either reach the end zone or get into field goal position. With the Raiders up 21-19, the Dons had their last chance to score with just 2:08 on the clock at their own 32. But a strip sack and recovery by Moorpark's Ceasar Ayala sealed the victory for the Raiders.
Wilson went 23-43, finishing with 306 passing yards and two touchdowns. Gary Ferman led the Dons in rushing with 42 yards on just five attempts.
The Don receiving core was very balanced as five different players recorded at least 50 yards while Jacob Biddle led them at 81 with two catches.
On the defensive side, Matthew Galvan was the high man in tackles at 12 for the game while Jalen Jones was right behind him with eight. Buddy Sagiao added four tackles while picking up two big sacks for the Dons.
Santa Ana falls to an (0-2) record and will be back in action again on Saturday when they host Mt. San Jacinto (1-1) at 6:00 p.m. MSJC will be coming off a 23-13 victory against Antelope Valley.