Ventura College Athletics

Huge First Half Helps Pirates Lift Citrus Cup

The Pirate football team celebrates their 62-7 win over rival Moorpark in the 51st Citrus Cup game at the Sportsplex on Saturday.
The Pirate football team celebrates their 62-7 win over rival Moorpark in the 51st Citrus Cup game at the Sportsplex on Saturday.

The 51st Citrus Cup game between Ventura and Moorpark ended up being the most one-sided for the Pirates. VC scored in a variety of ways Saturday night at the Sportsplex en route to a 62-7 victory over their cross-county rivals, setting a series record for a Ventura margin of victory in the process. The Pirate defense forced five Raider turnovers, and the VC special teams scored three touchdowns in the rout, sending No. 3-ranked Ventura (6-1, 2-0) into next week's showdown at No. 1 Canyons.

Moorpark took the opening kickoff and possessed the ball for nearly five minutes  while running five plays, gaining a net total of three yards and punting three times. On the third punt (the first two had been brought back due to penalties) VC partially blocked the kick to take over at the Raider 45-yard line. The Pirates needed eight plays to traverse the 45 yards to the end zone with quarterback Jay Vanderjagt rushing the final two yards to paydirt. Ian Henzi's extra point was good and Ventura led 7-0.

On the ensuing possession, Moorpark had another penalty on the return, pinning them deep in their own end of the field. They ran two plays and fumbled twice, the second forced by VC's Cail Jackson and recovered by Trevon Lambert at the 12-yard line. On the next play, Vanderjagt connected with Brandon Jordan for a 12-yard scoring strike and the Pirates extended the lead to 14-0.

The next possession did not fair any better for MC. After a three-and-out, Ventura's Ahmad Jalloh blocked the Raider punt, and it was recovered by Jared Thomsen and returned three yards for another touchdown. The Pirates scored three touchdowns in less than two minutes of play to completely take control of the game, 21-0.

The Pirate defense forced another three-and-out on the next possession, and Jaylen Watson's 10 yard punt return put VC on their own 45-yard line. On the next play, running back Thomas Duckett hit Dominic Benson in stride down the right sidelines for a 55-yard pass play to the end zone. A missed extra point made the score 27-0 for VC at the quarter break.

The wheels totally came off for the Raiders early in the second quarter. Ventura began the drive with a 41-yard pass play from quarterback Brock Domann to Juan Gaytan to the Raider 15-yard line. Two plays later, the Raiders were flagged with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, moving the ball to the 6-yard line. On the next play, a Moorpark quarterback sack, they were flagged again, moving the ball to the 3-yard line. After Gil' Scott Jackson ran the ball to the 2-yard line, MC was flagged once again for unsportsmanlike conduct, and in the ensuing discussion, two more flags were thrown against the Raiders, moving the ball to the MC one. Jackson completed the bizarre drive with a 1-yard run to paydirt, and Kyle Continente's kick made it 34-0 for VC with 14:09 still left in the second period.

After another Moorpark punt, Domann ran the first play of the "drive" 45 yards around left end to the end zone to extend the lead to 41-0.

On the next possession, Jalloh intercepted a Raider pass on 4th-and-8, bringing the ball back 65 yards f another Pirate touchdown. 

Ventura's special teams produced the final score of the half on yet another blocked punt. Trennan Carlson rushed up the middle to block the kick into the end zone, then recovered the ball in the scramble in the end zone for the VC touchdown. Continente's kick pushed the score to 55-0 for Ventura at halftime.

As if the 55-point outburst in the first half was not enough with only 24 offensive plays (eight coming on the final drive of the half which did not result in a score), three blocked punts, two of which returned or recovered for touchdowns, an interception return to the end zone, two recovered fumbles and three 1-play scoring "drives," Benson mishandled the second half kickoff before racing 94 yards straight down the field for another Pirate score. Continente's PAT made it 62-0 for VC 14 seconds into the second half.

With the game well in hand, the Pirates got a bit sloppy on the ensuing drive, providing the Raiders with 44 yards worth of penalties in MC's 60-yard scoring drive. With successful point after try, the final margin was set at 62-7.

The 55-point margin of victory is the largest for the Pirates' in their 30 wins in the series. Previously, the 66-13 win for VC in the inagural contest in 1968 was VC's largest margin of victory. The Raiders hold the series' record with a 63-3 win in 1991.

Ventura dominated the game statistically, outgaining the Raiders 407 yards to 212. The Pirates doubled up the Raiders in average yards per play, 6.5 to 3.2, and had wide margins in both passing and rushing yards.

Quarterback Davis Pinkston played the entire second half for VC, completing 14 of 20 passes for 112 yards. Vanderjagt had one rushing and one passing touchdown and Domann was VC's leading rusher with his 45-yard touchdown scamper. Antonio Brown had six catches for 45 yards and Gaytan had four receptions for 65 yards.

Calvin Williams led the defense with 12 tackles, including one for a loss, two forced fumbles and an interception. Brett Moyer recorded seven tackles, including 2.5 for a loss. Dassani Freeman and Tai Williams each had six tackles for the Pirates.

Almost lost in the excitement of Rivalry Week and the Pirates' 11th consecutive Citrus Cup triumph, VC head coach Steve Mooshagian won his ninth straight cup and moved to within one win of the Pirates' all-time wins leader, Dick James. Mooshagian now has 65 victories in his nine-year tenure at Ventura College, one behind James' total of 66 earned 1970-79 and 1990-92.

The victory sets up another showdown for the Pirates next week. They will travel to No. 1-ranked College of the Canyons (7-0, 2-0) on Saturday Oct. 27 in a game that could determine a top-2 seed and a home game for the upcoming SCFA playoffs and the Northern Conference championship.  The game can be seen live on the SoCal College Sports YouTube channel and on the VC Sports Network beginning at 6:00 pm.