Riley St. Clair’s first collegiate field goal turned out to be long and memorable.
The freshman punter from Dana Hills booted a 50-yarder with 1:49 to play Saturday night, lifting SBCC over Los Angeles Southwest 10-7 in an American Pacific Conference football game at La Playa Stadium. It was the first win of the season for the Vaqueros (1-4, 1-1).
Arnold Doxie’s diving interception with 3:24 to play set the Vaqueros up at the LASW 33-yard line. SBCC lost five yards on three plays, however, and St. Clair came out to try a 55-yard field goal. He was well short but the Cougars (1-4, 1-1) were offside, setting up his 50-yard game-winner.
“When they moved it up five yards, I focused on kicking it straight,” said St. Clair. “That’s my longest ever and the first time I ever kicked one off the ground (in high school, kickers use a tee).
“It still hasn’t hit me yet, I’m in shock.”
St. Clair barely missed the school record for the longest field goal. Steve Verner booted a 52-yarder in 1980 against Canyons.
“He hit the second one really, really good,” coach Craig Moropoulos said of St. Clair’s boot that cleared the crossbar by a few yards. “This feels good, because of the way we won it — with all three phases of the game. We came together and everybody was pulling for everyone at the end, going crazy.”
St. Clair also had a strong night punting, with seven kicks for a 34-yard average, including five inside the 20.
Linebackers Nate Goldie and Logan Hurn were everywhere for SBCC on defense, finishing with 15 and 14 tackles, respectively.
SBCC scored first after forcing the visitors to punt from their own 10 and then starting at the 34 with 7:47 to go in the second quarter. On first-and-10 from the 23, quarterback Austin Civita pitched the ball to running back Trayone Harris, who tossed it to Oscar Loza for a 23-yard score and a 7-0 halftime lead.
The Vaqueros’ pass defense, ranked fourth in the state, held the Cougars to zero yards passing in the first half.
Southwest tied the game on the fourth play of the fourth quarter with QB Torrey Harkness’ 1-yard leap capping a nine-play, 52-yard drive. Luis Deleon’s PAT tied the score at 7-7 with 13:37 to play.
Justin Leverette (77 yards, 20 carries) and Harris (70 yards, 17 carries) combined for 140 of SBCC’s 145 rushing yards. Al Hines led Southwest with 112 yards on 23 tries.
Civita, making his first start at QB for the injured Conner Rehage, completed 9-of-16 passes for 55 yards with one interception. Loza caught three passes for 49 yards and a touchdown.
“This is a good time to get a win (going into the bye week),” said Moropoulos. “Hopefully, we’ll get some guys healthy.”
Dave Loveton is Santa Barbara City College‘s sports information specialist.