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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Vaqueros’ win over Bobcats marks beginning of the fall football season

The Vaqueros run onto the field in the second half of their home opener on Saturday, Sept. 9 at City College’s La Playa Stadium. The next home game for City College’s football team will be on Saturday, Sept. 23 against Santa Clarita’s College of the Canyons.

In their home opener, the Vaqueros lit up La Playa Stadium with a 34-28 win over the Saddleback College Bobcats on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Five minutes into the game, tight end Elian Sundquist put the first points of the game on the board with a three yard receiving touchdown from quarterback Will Doherty, followed by an extra point kicked by Hunter Simmons.

With 10 minutes and 47 seconds remaining in the first quarter, the ball was kicked off back into Bobcat territory by Brandon Bowers. Two plays later, defensive back Ajani Cuevas-Gillis made a diving interception over an opposing wide receiver. The Vaqueros took back possession at their own 40 yard line. 

After two scoreless drives, the Vaqueros gained possession with two minutes and 16 seconds remaining in the first quarter. They held onto it with 11 rushing yards in three plays from running back Prince Borten, which brought them into the second quarter at 2nd down and 9 at the Vaqueros 31 yard line. 

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In the first play of the second quarter, Will Doherty completed a pass to wide receiver Cameron Green for a gain of 28 yards into Bobcat territory, followed shortly by yet another Doherty-Green connection for an additional 20 yards.

At 3rd down and 10 yards in, the pressure weighed on the entire stadium. If the Vaqueros didn’t convert here they’d lose their chance of extending their lead. Doherty heaved the football downfield where wide receiver Ryles Buckley made a diving catch to bring the team within ten yards of the endzone. 

This set up wide receiver Damare Ward to catch a touchdown pass from Doherty to extend the Vaquero lead to 13 points. 

Simmons’ extra point attempt was blocked by defensive back Trevor Romaldo.

With a comfortable lead of 13-0, Brandon Bowers kicked off to Saddleback’s freshman running back Paolo Burak, who took off for a 52 yard return. 

This set the Bobcats up to gain their first points of the game when quarterback Trey Kukuk punched in a one yard rush for a touchdown, followed by an extra point kicked by Kian Afrookhtek.

Restless Vaquero fans squirmed in their seats as their comfortable lead was cut in half.

In an attempt to extend the lead, running back Donovan Harris returned the kickoff for a 98 yard touchdown. Kicker Sean Stepenosky‘s extra point attempt extended the Vaqueros lead to 20-7. 

With 1 minute and 31 seconds left in the half, Doherty piled on another touchdown with a 1 yard rush after a successful drive. Punctuated by an extra point from Stepenosky, the Vaqueros headed into the second half with a 27-7 lead.

In the third quarter of the game, at 2 minutes and 43 seconds, linebacker Matt Croteau intercepted the ball and carried it 80 yards, breaking tackles for a touchdown.

The score was now 34-7.

Just before the end of the third quarter, Saddleback subbed out quarterback Kukuk for Branden Berwald. 

In the first minute of the 4th quarter, Saddleback scored their second touchdown with a 13 yard rush from Kenny Manassero. 

With the score now 34-14, the Vaqueros still held the lead.

Yet another play by defensive back Romaldo gave the Bobcats another chance at the Vaquero 37 yard line. Berwald ran 12 yards in for the touchdown, spinning past Vaquero defenders for another 6 points. Afrookhteh’s extra point was good. 

Berwald was able to complete another touchdown pass to Tristan Duncan, but in the end, the Vaquero defense held strong and secured a 34-28 victory over the Saddleback College Bobcats. 

Bolted out early, playing all three phases of the game well,” said Vaquero Head Coach Craig Moropolous concerning his thoughts about the match. “Hung on at the end for a great National Division first win.” 


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