Vaqs Rise as Rain Falls on WSC Competition

Ross Coleman

Even a cold and rainy night couldn’t dampen the excitement felt by the Vaqs after their 17-14 victory against a talented Ventura College Oct. 1 at Sartoris Field.

Coming into the game, the Pirates from Ventura were ranked as the number two defense in the state. The Vaqueros were coming off a tough loss at home to Orange Coast College.

The win brings the Vaqs record to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in WSC conference play.

Because of the heavy rains that fell for most of the game, the Vaqs had to rely heavily on their talented rushing attack. Jason McNeil paced the Vaqs on the ground with 92 yards on 11 carries. Lavelle Peterson finished with 69 yards on 13 carries and Willie Youngblood helped the effort rushing for 52 yards on 15 carries.

While the passing game was where most of the points came from for the Vaqs, the rain frequently deterred the Vaqs from throwing the ball. Quarterback Dylan Martinez completed 11 of 20 passes for 153 yards two touchdowns and an interception.

“We don’t want to have to relay too heavily on [Martinez] when we don’t have too,” said head coach John Rome.

However the game was really won on the defensive side of the ball. The Vaqs held the Pirates to only 14 first downs, four in the first half, and only giving up 14 points all in the second half. The defense also forced two turnovers, interceptions by Kalii Robinson and Max Williams. Michael Klintworth also played well for the defense, recording six tackles including two sacks and one more tackle for loss.

“The defense just played phenomenally,” said Rome. “When you only give up only 14 points, that’s a fantastic effort.”

The game wasn’t without controversy though.
After the game, it was apparent that Ventura was quite angry and looked for others to blame. One Ventura player got into a shouting match with a Vaquero supporter after the post-game handshake.

“They may have taken us a little lightly,” said Rome of Ventura.

While this win could be called a signature win against a very good football team, they Vaqs didn’t play a perfect game by
any means.

“I think we surprised them offensively with the way we moved the ball initially, but we gave away great scoring opportunities early,” explained Rome. “We probably could have scored a few more touchdowns early.”

The Vaqs failed on a fourth down conversion on their opening drive, missed a field goal on their third drive and turned the ball over deep in Ventura territory on their opening drive of the second half.

Despite these miscues, the Vaqs still came up with a win against a very talented team.
“It was a good win, a great team effort,” said Rome happily.

The Vaqs are off until Saturday at 7 p.m. at Sartoris field when they continue WSC play against the very talented and undefeated College of the Canyons.