Chabot College football coach Eric Fanene said it all in a tweet after Saturday's game in Santa Rosa.
"I love my guys. Great fight tonight."
With an indomitable spirit, the Gladiators rallied from deficits of 27-7 and 40-24 to force overtime in a 47-40 loss to the host Bear Cubs in Bay 6 Conference play on Oct. 20.
Freshman quarterback Chayce Akaka -- Chabot's gift from Maui -- completed 24 of 40 attempts for 339 yards and four touchdowns, also rushing 15 times for 60 yards. Akaka completed a dramatic 47-yard TD to top target Da'Juan Johnson with 2:01 left in the fourth quarter, followed by a 2-point pass from Tanner Wright, to tie it 40-40 and force overtime.
Johnson had a spectacular game with 13 receptions for 190 yards and two TDs. He also had four punt returns for 114 yards with a long of 60.
Chabot linebacker coach David Phillip loved the Gladiators' resilience, tweeting:
"Proud of my guys tonight. When things got tough, you guys kept your heads down and clawed back into it one play at a time. Came up short in OT. Everybody at some point in their life will get knocked down, only real men get back"
After Santa Rosa scored 10 straight points to lead 40-24 in the fourth quarter, the resilient Gladiators (5-2, 1-1 Bay) responded with a stirring 16-0 run. Akaka's 54-yard TD pass to Chris Washington, followed by a 2-point conversion cut the deficit to 40-32.
After Chabot forced OT, Santa Rosa (5-2, 1-1) escaped with a victory on a 7-yard completion from Jake Simmons to Lucas Triplett.
After Santa Rosa took a 27-7 halftime lead, Ponove Veimau gave the Gladiators new life in the third quarter with a 28-yard TD run. Khalil Robertson then scored on a 4-yard pass from Akaka, along with Alejandro Cervantes' extra point to trim the deficit to 27-21.
On defense, Chabot's Ethan Allen and Samuelle Cavallini led the way with nine solo tackles apiece and combined for 21 total tackles. Cavallini was a beast with 2.5 sacks for 25 yards total and 5.5 tackles for loss for 33 yards. Lando Grey had 1.5 sacks and Allen had 1 sack. Hufangahau Moala had 2 tackles for loss and half a sack. Ozbourne Seuteni made on 1.5 tackles for loss and half a sack.
Overall, Akaka spread the wealth completing at least two passes to six receivers.
Ryan Nisbett punted very effectively averaging 43.0 yards on four attempts, one inside the 20, with a long of 62 yards.