Wolverines fall to Sequoias in bowl game to close out 2023 season

football team on sidelines with packed stands
Sierra College football team on sidelines during game

Dec. 1 was officially the end of the 2023 season for the Sierra College football team who hosted a bowl game against Sequoias, but fell 31-28 as the Giants scored the game-winning touchdown with four minutes remaining. 

The game was close throughout as it went back-and-forth with the Giants scoring first three minutes in before the Wolverines responded as Cruz Herrera connected with Zavery Guerra for a 14-yard touchdown. Sierra followed up a great offensive drive with solid defense as sophomore Lanar Kelley intercepted a pass and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown to take a 13-7 lead.

"It was really exciting and I'm so happy the coaches put me in a position to make a play," Kelley said. 

Sequoias scored another touchdown to retake the lead at the end of the first quarter, but Sierra answered back yet again as Herrera found Dontae Robinson for a 25-yard touchdown. Robinson finished the game with six receptions for 101 yards. Herrera finished his final junior college football game with 300 total yards of offense and three touchdowns including a rushing touchdown in the third quarter. 

"I felt really blessed to be able to get back on the field," Herrera said. "Obviously we wish things went differently in the end, but that's football sometimes. It was good to play pretty well in a game against a good team. We went toe to toe and I think if there was one more round left in that fight the score looks a little different."

Sierra held a 28-21 lead at the end of the third, but the Giants converted a field goal early in the fourth to make it 28-24 before Nick Nelson caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Clark Coleman to take the lead. The Wolverines had one more chance on offense and Herrera helped drive the team down to the Giants 12-yard-line, but Sequoias blocked a 29-yard field goal that would've sent the game to overtime. Sierra had solid performances on defense from freshmen such as Emmanuel Ayaji with 14 tackles and Kaden Huppin with 10.

The loss ends a season where Sierra started 5-2, but went on to lose its final four games. The Wolverines will say farewell to 30 sophomores including players such as Kelley, Herrera and others on both sides of the ball. 

"I'm just so proud of this team and will really forever be appreciative of the opportunity that Sierra provided," Herrera said. 

"I definitely will remember the bond and experiences shared with my brothers," Kelley said. "I really enjoyed my two seasons here at Sierra College."