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Football

Hancock Runs Past Santa Ana, Improves to 3-1

The Allan Hancock College football team forced four turnovers on defense and rushed for a season-best 333 yards and seven touchdowns during the Bulldogs’ 50-35 win at Santa Ana College on Saturday evening. The Bulldogs won their third straight game to improve to 3-1 overall, their best start since 2012. The Dons dropped to 1-3. Hancock has won its last three meetings with Santa Ana by a combined score of 165-73.

Freshman Ryheem Skinner led the ground attack with a career-high 127 yards on 16 carries. He scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, the first two of his career, to help Hancock regain control and push a two-point halftime lead to a 16-point advantage. Skinner was one of six Bulldogs to score rushing touchdowns. Martiez Prather, Damon Whitmill, Jr., Laron Gilchrist, Isaac Bausley and quarterback Jimmy Kelleher also scored once apiece for the Bulldogs.

Kelleher controlled the offense with his arm in the first half. He threw for more than 200 yards in the first 30 minutes. The sophomore finished the day by completing 18 of his 24 passes for 239 yards. He threw one interception.

Sophomore receiver Nick Kimball set career highs with 11 catches for 136 yards. The Nipomo High School graduate became the first Hancock receiver to haul in 10 or more catches in a single-game since 2014. Sophomore Michael Ferraro caught five passes for 68 yards, including a 41-yard reception.

Defensively, Hancock’s sophomore linebacker Basiru Jobe compiled a career-high 20 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss. He was credited with 1.5 sacks. Stephen Sings added seven tackles and broke up one pass. Taupule Asotau had one sack that caused a fumble eventually recovered by Anthony Miller. Freshman Domanic Chapa intercepted Santa Ana quarterback Conner Miller in the third quarter and returned it 28 yards to set up another Hancock score.

The Bulldogs scored on their opening possession of the game when Whitmill, Jr. ran it in from six yards out to cap a seven-play, 59-yard drive to give Hancock the lead for good 7-0 with 10:52 to play in the first quarter.  After the Hancock defense forced Santa Ana to punt, Jordan Pollard converted a 34-yard field goal to put Hancock ahead 10-0.  The Dons scored on their next possession to cut the deficit to three points. Kelleher and Kimball connected four times for 72 yards on Hancock’s next possession, including a 36-yard gain. The drive ended with a one-yard touchdown run by Kelleher to push the lead to 16-7 with 4:00 to play in the quarter. Asotau sacked Miller on Santa Ana’s next possession that led to a fumble recovered by Anthony Miller to give the ball back to the Bulldogs. On the very next play, Bausley ran it in from 23-yards out. The Nipomo High School graduate’s first collegiate touchdown gave Hancock a 22-7 lead after the first quarter.

Hancock’s offense was shutout in the second quarter, and the Dons scored one touchdown and kicked two field goals to close to within 22-20 at halftime.

The Bulldogs received the opening kickoff of the second half and went right to work. Skinner and Whitmill led an eight-play, 63-yard drive that ended with a 27-yard touchdown run by Skinner to give Hancock a 29-20 lead with 11 minutes to go in the third quarter. The Dons’ next drive ended when Chapa picked off Miller and returned it 28 yards to the Santa Ana 22-yard line. Just two plays later, Skinner ran it in for a seven-yard score to give Hancock a commanding 36-20 advantage just five minutes into the second half. Hancock’s defense forced Santa Ana to cough up the football on its next drive, and turned it into seven more points. Facing a fourth down with 15 yards to go, the Bulldogs surprised the Dons resulting in a 34-yard touchdown run from Gilchrist. Thanks to a 21-0 run over a six-minute period, the Bulldogs took control of the game 43-20 with 5:01 to go in the third quarter.

The Dons scored once to make it 43-28 to start the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs found the end zone one more time in the fourth quarter when Prather took a carry 57 yards for a touchdown to give Hancock a 50-28 advantage. The 57-yard gain by the Nebraska native was the team’s longest run of the season.

Hancock finished with a season-best 572 yards of total offense with 333 coming on the ground and 239 through the air. Santa Ana finished with 444 total yards, 301 came through the air. The Bulldogs held a 29:05-28:44 edge in time of possession.

The Bulldogs will return home to host San Bernardino Valley College next Saturday, September 30, at 2 p.m. The game will be Hancock’s final non-conference tuneup. SBVC blanked LA Southwest this weekend 45-0 to even its record at 2-2. Last year, Hancock won 16-6 at SBVC.

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