Saturday's 53rd edition of the Citrus Cup game between Ventura and Moorpark was over almost as soon as it began. Donyai Dixon stuffed MC's opening kickoff return behind the 20-yard line on the opening play of the game and Chuck Wick scampered 30 yards to the end zone on VC's opening possession, just over three minutes into the game, beginning a dominant performance by the Pirates (1-0) in the season opening 62-5 victory at Griffin Stadium in Moorpark.
Ventura, ranked No. 3 in the state in the pre-season JC Athletic Bureau Coaches Poll, dominated the stat sheet as well as the scoreboard. VC out-gained the Raiders offensively with 519 total yards to MC's 195, winning the passing and rushing battles 321-117 yards and 198-78 yards, respectively.
Pirate quarterback Jordan Pachot was an effecient 15-20 through the air for 287 yards and a touchdown while Wick had seven rushes for 72 yards and two scores. Julian Kelly also carries the ball seven times gaining 70 yards with three touchdowns. James Miles and Alex Tili also had rushing touchdowns for VC. Terrell Vaughn led the receiving corps with five catches for 102 yards and a touchdown.
After VC's initial score, the Raiders went back down the field with a drive culminating in a field goal to close to within 7-3.
The Pirates then matriculated up the field with a drive stalling at the MC 10-yard line where they turned the ball over on downs. On the Raiders' next play, Spencer Moore knocked the ball out of the grasp of the runner and Drew Carter recovered the fumble three yards from paydirt. Alex Tili converted on the next play for the Pirates and Alberto Arroyo's kick made in 14-3.
After a three-and-out by the Raiders on the next series, Daquan Benjamin came sweeping around the left side of the line to block the punt, recovering the ball and running 10 yards into the end zone. Ventura led 21-3 at the end of the first quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Pachot's delivered the ball to Vaughn on a swing pass on the right side. Vaughn proceeded to shoot through a seam down the middle, scoring a 79 yard touchdown. Arroyo's kick made it 28-3.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Pirate defense held MC to another three-and-out. Miles punctuated the next VC drive with a 14-yard scoring scamper with a 34-yard Pachot pass to Brady Sturdivan providing the set-up.
The Pirates closed the half with a 4-yard run by Wick and led 42-3 at halftime.
Kelly took the second half kickoff back 36 yards to the VC 41, and on first down Pachot hit Isaiah Isaac for a 49-yard pass play to set up another score. Kelly reached the end zone on the next play, a 10-yard run, and Arroyo's kick made it 49-3 for the visitors.
On Ventura's next possession, a 24-yard pass from Pachot to Sebastian Macaluso led to another scoring run by Kelly, a 20-yard scamper for a 56-3 advantage with 9:22 left in the third period.
Kelly completed the hat trick with his third touchdown run of the quarter at the 4:08 mark. Moorpark received two points when an errant VC punt snap went out of the back of the end zone early in the final stanza to set the final 62-5 score.
The victory was Ventura head coach Steve Mooshagian's 100th career coaching victory. Now in his 12th year at VC, he has 79 wins with the Pirates and had 21 total wins as head coach at Fresno City College (1995), Sacramento State (2003-2006) and Feather River College (2009).
The Pirates open upper division play within the Southern California Football Association on Saturday Sept. 11 with a home contest against San Diego Mesa. Kickoff with the Olympians at the Sportsplex is scheduled for 4:00 pm. Admission will be completely cashless, and fans can purchase tickets online (https://ventura.vbotickets.com/events).