SANTA MONICA — Riley St. Clair produced his second game-winning field in as many games Saturday night, lifting SBCC to a 17-15 football victory over Santa Monica. St. Clair put the visitors ahead on a 46-yarder with 3:46 to go in the first half and neither team scored in the final 30 minutes.
It wasn’t as dramatic as his 50-yard game-winner two weeks ago with 1:49 to play in a 10-7 win over Los Angeles Southwest but the Vaqueros (2-4, 2-1) will gladly take it. They won their second straight American Pacific Conference game and snapped an eight-game road losing streak with their first-ever triumph at Santa Monica. The Corsairs lead the all-time series 15-2-1.
“St. Clair was money on that field goal,” Vaqueros coach Craig Moropoulos said after earning the first road victory of his two-year career. “Even more important, he had a couple of key punts that were downed deep in their territory.”
The Corsairs (1-4, 1-2) found the end zone with 2:06 to play but the apparent 33-yard TD pass was erased by offensive pass interference.
After Santa Monica went ahead 8-0, SBCC answered with a 1-yard TD run by Robin Lawson, following a thrilling 72-yard kickoff return by Jakharie Murphy. The Vaqueros took their first lead, 14-8, on a 31-yard pass to Oscar Loza from Austin Civita with 13:47 to go in the second quarter.
“We just took what the defense gave us,” said Loza, a 6-2 freshman from Sacramento who caught five passes for 103 yards. “The reason I got open (on the TD) was because Jed (Elsberry) took the safety out of the play and I just ran over the top.”
Santa Monica regained the lead, 15-14, on a 2-yard run by Cedric Hayes. A short kickoff was returned to the SBCC 45 by Joe Camera. Five plays later, Civita hit Loza with a 33-yard pass that led to the game-winning field goal. Civita completed 6-of-16 passes with one TD and an interception.
The Vaqueros defense held the home team to 60 yards in the second half, including just 19 rushing yards on 17 attempts. They forced four turnovers with interceptions by Matt Racowski, Nate Bailey and Lamont Dupree and a key second-quarter fumble recovery by Ken Dorset at his own 2-yard line.
Trayone Harris, who prepped at nearby University High in Los Angeles, collected 47 of his team-high 69 rushing yards in the fourth quarter. Harris averaged 7.7 yards on his nine carries. Lawson added 45 yards on 12 tries. They were filling in for Justin Leverette, who injured his knee in Thursday’s practice. St. Clair, the Vaqueros’ punter and long-distance kicker, booted the second-longest field goal in school history Oct. 4 — a 50-yarder that gave SBCC its first win of the year. He had a 39-yard punt that was downed at the Santa Monica 7-yard line in the third quarter and a 27-yarder that pinned the Corsairs back at their own 4 in the fourth period.
With 38 seconds left, the Vaqueros lined up to punt from their own 49. The snap bounced back to St. Clair, who alertly ran to his right and somehow managed to get off a 40-yard kick to the Corsairs’ 11. The kick was nullified by a roughing-the-kicker penalty, however, and SBCC was able to run out the clock with a kneeldown by Civita.
Dave Loveton is Santa Barbara City College’s sports information specialist.