In a deceptively dominant performance, the Pirate football team rolled past Bakersfield 23-10 in their Northern Conference opener Saturday night at the Sportsplex. Hayden Nease rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown and Brock Domann came off the bench at quarterback to run for 116 yards and pass for 82 more to lead the charge. The VC defense also had a strong performance holding the Renegades to 248 yards of offense and generating three turnovers in the victory for Ventura (5-1, 1-0).
Jay Vanderjagt made the start behind center for the Pirates, passing for 111 yards. He directed VC's first scoring drive, a 14-play, 84-yard march that was punctuated by Gil' Scott Jackson's 6-yard touchdown run with 18 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Ian Henzi's kick made it 7-3 for the Pirates and they never looked back.
In the second quarter, the Pirate defense came up big with an interception at the goal line and a forced fumble at the VC 15-yard line. Jaylen Watson came up with both turnovers as Ventura led 10-3 at halftime.
The Renegades received th second half kickoff, and after a 3-and-out, Ventura marched down the field on an 8-play 88-yard drive culminating in Nease's 3-yard touchdown run. Henzi's kick made it 17-3 for Ventura with 9:20 remaining in the period.
After another BC three-and-out, the Pirates scored on a 32-yard Henzi field goal.
The Renegades used a big kick return to set up their lone touchdown of the night late in the third period, but that would be all the offense they could muster.
VC answered with another Henzi field goal late in the final stanza to set the final 23-10 margin.
Watson accounted for all three turnovers for the Ventura defense, intercepting two passes and recovering a fumble. Trennan Carlson had nine tackles, one for a loss, and a pass break up, while Cory Owens and Cail Jackson each recorded eight stops. The Pirate defense held BC to 13 first downs in the game with a dismal 19 percent third-down conversion rate (3-16).
Ventura, ranked No. 5 in the state and No. 4 in the SCFA, next hosts Moorpark in the annual Citrus Cup game. Kickoff against the Raiders is slated for 6:00 pm on Saturday Oct. 20 at the Sportsplex.