Moropoulos gets first win as Vaqs handle Compton

Chris Biderman

First-year head football coach Craig Moropoulos earned his first win as the Vaqueros over-matched the struggling Compton College Tartars 37-15 in Saturday’s home opener.

“It feels great. A win is a win. As long as we get better that’s all I care about,” Moropoulos said soon after enjoying his first Gatorade shower from his players. “We still got a long way to go – a long way. The competition is about to get much better.”

With the sun setting at yet another picturesque sight at La Playa Stadium, the Vaqs’ defense showed their mettle and held the lowly Compton offense to only 45 rushing yards.

With constant pressure applied by the blitzing of safety Randon Nunez and company, Compton was forced into throwing three interceptions, two belonging to sophomore free safety Ferrari Welch.

The most exciting play of the game came mid-way through the third quarter when Welch intercepted a pass at the Vaqs own 38 yard-line.

After returning the ball down to Compton’s 30, Welch was about to get tackled when he heard his name called by a familiar voice.

Just before going down, Welch pitched to ball to his left where lightning-quick defensive back Nate Bailey received the pitch.

Speeding past would-be tacklers, Bailey figured his way to the end zone making it a 30-7 contest.

“I saw Nate just standing there,” Welch said. “I was kind of tired anyway so then I just pitched it to Nate…and no one’s going to catch Nate.”

Compton struggled to get anything going offensively as City College forced five turnovers and six Tartar punts.

Their lone offensive touchdown came late in the fourth quarter when the Vaqs had already substituted most of their starters.

The only other score came in the second quarter when Compton’s defense returned a fumble 52 yards to make it a 7-10 game.

Quarterback Nick Acciani started the Vaqs scoring in the first quarter when he ran into the end zone from six yards out after Compton’s first turnover.

Running back Chris O’Day scored twice for the Vaqueros in the second quarter by pounding the ball in from two and three yards out.

The point of emphasis in practice all week for Santa Barbara was the offensive line play. After struggling in last week’s loss to Golden West, the wall of big men showed improvement as they controlled the line of scrimmage for most of the game.

“I thought they stepped it up big after last week,” O’Day said. “They blocked all the right assignments and gave me enough holes to run through.”

It was an important win for the young team’s confidence as the Vaqueros are scheduled to take on two Western State Conference powerhouses on the road when they travel to College of the Canyons and Allan Hancock College in the next two weeks.