Football falls to undefeated Ventura

Mike Stevens

The City College Vaqueros struggled against the undefeated Ventura College Pirates in their third game of the season on Saturday night. Ventura accumulated 372 yards of offense on the evening, while the Vaqs only managed to gain 52 yards, eventually losing 35-7.

After last weekend’s upset victory over the College of the Canyons, the Vaqs would have liked to give their coach another win to go along with the one he got for his birthday. Since last weekend’s game, the Vaqueros moved up in the rankings for Southern California to #18 as the Pirates were ranked #14. The Vaqs came into the game winning their last 4 home games at La Playa Stadium.

The Vaqueros got the ball during the opening of the first quarter, but Freshman Quarterback John Uribe was sacked after a minute and 40 seconds into the game. Within the first 4 minutes of the opening quarter, the Pirates had possession of the ball and it took them only 3 plays to make it down the field for their first touchdown of the game, making it 7-0.

By the time the Vaqs got the ball back, they were close to having the same amount of rushing yards that Antelope Valley made in the entire game last week against the Pirates. With 8:27 left in the first, the Pirates turned the ball over on a fourth down conversion attempt, but the Vaqueros were unsuccessful at doing anything with their possession. At the end of the first quarter, Ventura held a one touchdown lead.

The Pirates started the second quarter off by attempting to kick a field goal, but turned it into a fake field goal attempt and capitalized against the Vaqueros by running for a touchdown with 12:52 left. Ventura utilized a similar play against City College last year, and was successful again, gaining a two touchdown lead.

During a long Ventura drive, the Vaqs managed to sack the Pirate quarterback twice, but were unable to defend the run, as the Ventura running back broke free for a 58-yard run to increase the lead to 21 points with 5:39 left in the half.

With 1:21 left in the first half, the Vaq’s Matt Racowschi partially blocked a Pirates punt that set up a return for sophomore free safety Lamont Dupree.

“I was hoping to have a great return to give the offense a good position to start the drive, but the return surprised some of my own teammates, who were celebrating the blocked punt and they didn’t realize I had started to return the ball even to see me score a touchdown,” said Dupree.

Dupree was all over the field making plays on Saturday night, adding up 13 tackles and an interception for the Vaquero defense.

The touchdown put the Vaqs up on the board 7-21 giving them what looked like to be an edge with the first half coming to an end, but the Vaqs committed their seventh penalty of the evening, giving Ventura excellent field position. With 11.4 left, the Pirates had their fourth rushing touchdown of the half, increasing their lead to 28-7 with the second quarter coming to an end just in time.

The five referees were having issues communicating on the field, and flags were being thrown left and right. “We as coaches can not control the officiating and so we try our best not to let it be a distraction,” said head coach Craig Moropoulos.

Everyone the Pirates put in the game seemed to gain yards against the Vaqueros. Just before the third quarter ended, the Vaqueros were able to intercept the ball from the Pirates, giving them their fifth of the season.

In the fourth quarter, the Pirates intercepted the ball again with 12:18 left. This turned out to be Uribe’s second interception of the game. The Pirates seemed to have a strong defense all night against the Vaqueros. When the final whistle blew, the Pirates ended up having 10 penalties totaling over 96 yards.

The Vaqueros are now 1-2 for the season and head to Lancaster next Saturday to face the Antelope Valley Marauders in Marauder Stadium, who are 0-3 for the season so far.