Vaquero football squad trounced in second half

Hancock+halfback+Chris+Barnwell+jumps+over+the+goal+line+for+a+third+quarter+score+against+the+Vaqueros+on+Friday%2C+Sept.+7

Hancock halfback Chris Barnwell jumps over the goal line for a third quarter score against the Vaqueros on Friday, Sept. 7

Cody Brumbaugh, Sports Editor

Despite having a winless 2011 campaign the Vaquero football squad opened its season against Hancock with 3,015 fans in the stands.

In the first half, it looked as if the Vaqueros could upset the Hancock Bulldogs, ranked 18th in the state.

The Bulldogs took home the 41-19 victory by outscoring the Vaqueros 27-0 in the second half with a ruthless rushing attack.

“Let’s call it what it is,” City College head coach Craig Moropoulos said. “They are a very hard team to play the first game.  They run the ball. They’re huge and physical. It’s what they do.”

The Vaqueros surprised many as they exploded out to a 19-14 halftime lead that featured a new no-huddle spread-option offense and improved offensive line. The Vaquero line boasts four 300- pound players this year, after having none last season.

“I was really proud of our offensive line, they gave our guys some time to make plays,” Moropoulos said.

The Vaqueros scored three first half touchdowns in exhilarating fashion. The first score came on a school-record 99-yard kickoff return by freshman Kyle Brown, followed by a 30-yard reception by sophomore Tyson Heller from quarterback Jared Evans. Vaquero scoring ended with a trick reverse pass from sophomore wide receiver Anthony Fullman to a wide-open freshman Steven Jerome with 1:21 left in the first half.

“That was a really important first game, and that’s really the most successful we’ve been in a few years on offense,” Moropoulos noted.

Evans, a freshman quarterback from Philadelphia, shared time with sophomore Jake Umphreyville, but led the Vaqueros through the air, completing 15-of-32 passes for 139 yards a touchdown and two interceptions. He also rushed 11 times for 40 yards. Fullman had nine receptions for 32 yards.

“I see a lot of positive things this year, said injured sophomore running back Terrance Brown at half time. “We left that negativity home. This year is brand new.

“Everyone is staying focused and you can tell we are in great shape.”

The Vaqueros lost sophomore defensive back and Mitch Nelson, who was second in tackles on the team last season,  to muscle cramps on the second play of the second half.

“Second half, I think we got a little bit satisfied with the score. We haven’t beat this team in six years,” said sophomore running back Kevin Dennis.

The Vaqueros trailed 26-19 going into the fourth quarter, but a bad snap over the punters head and out of the end zone for a safety, which two plays later gave Hancock the added momentum to pull away.

“We missed a lot of tackles and dropped some balls,” Moropoulos said. “ We had a lot of success first half, then that safety kind of took the wind out of our sails.

Hancock took the two points and the ball, marching 77 yards in 9 plays to score.

The Vaquero defense wasn’t without its big moments and top performers. At one point, it stopped the Bulldogs four straight plays from the 2-yard line.

Freshman linebacker Morgan Nevin from Truckee, Calif., had a solid Vaquero debut with 18 tackles. Sophomore defensive back Olefemi Odaibo added 11 tackles; Mitch Nelson had 7 tackles before leaving the game.

City College looks to finish strong and come home with a win as it travels to East L.A. next Saturday for a 6 p.m. game.