With the security of a conference championship and playoff berth, the Pirate football team completes its second undefeated regular season in school history with a 44-23 defeat of East Los Angeles College at the Sportsplex Saturday night. The defense and special teams continued to shine with a pair of interception returns for touchdowns by Travis Calloway and Donyai Dixon, and Daquan Benjamin returned a kickoff to the house to help secure the triumph for No. 1-ranked Ventura (10-0, 5-0). Wide receiver Terrell Vaughn also returned to the end zone on a 63-yard touchdown catch and run.
After the defense stopped the Huskies on 4th-and-1 at midfield, VC started its first possession in great field position. Four plays later Julian Kelly raced eight yards to paydirt, and Alberto Arroyo's kick made it 7-0 for the Pirates.
The teams then traded punts, and Ventura won the field position battle by pinning ELAC on their own 5-yard line late in the first quarter. six plays later With East LA on the move, the defensive line pressured the quarterback into a scrambling throw that was intercepted by Travis Calloway and returned 65 yards for a score. The ensuing PAT was blocked and returned for a score by ELAC and Ventura led 13-2 at the quarter break.
Early in the second quarter, the Pirates stopped the Huskies again on 4th-and-1. On the first play of the ensuing drive, VC quarterback Vince Walea hit Terrell Vaughn on a screen pass, and Vaughn did the rest racing 65 yards down the field for another Ventura score. Arroyo's kick made it 20-2.
The Huskies finally broke through for a touchdown with 1:44 left in the half, and on the ensuing kickoff, Benjamin took the ball short and ran around the left side of the coverage and down the sideline for another Ventura touchdown. Arroyo's kick was good for a 27-9 score.
East LA then managed to drive down the field for another score before the half and the Pirates led 27-16 at halftime.
In the third quarter, two of the state's best defenses took control of the game with neither team putting together scoring drives. With 5:21 remaining, Dixon stepped in front of an out-route and intercepted an ELAC pass, racing 49 yards down the sideline to th end zone for his second pick-6 in as many weeks. Arroyo's kick was good and the Pirates led 34-16.
East Los Angeles too the ensuing kickoff, and drove down the field for a score in the final minute of the period to cut the Pirate lead to 34-23.
After the kickoff, Ventura took over at their own 39. Walea led the Pirates on a 12-play 63-yard drive, including a 37-yard pass and run to Derek West, culminating in a 27-yard Arroyo field goal. VC led 37-23 with 11:11 remaining in the game.
The Pirate defense generated a pair of turnovers down the stretch, an interception by Ralph Navarro and a forced fumble on a quarterback sack by Calloway, recovered by Joe Hernandez. VC used the latter to set up a 11-yard touchdown run by Jesse Valenzuela to seal the victory and the unbeaten regular season.
Walea came off the bench for the Pirates and passed for 166 yards and a score and Valenzuela led the running back corps with 46 yards on just five carries.
With the win, VC records its second undefeated season in school history, the first coming in 2012, also under head coach Steve Mooshagian. The Pirates will likely receive the No. 1-seed in the upcoming Southern California Football Association playoffs, which will keep Ventura at home throughout the post-season, which begins on Saturday Nov. 27.