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Football: Streaking Vaqueros Win a Wild One, 55-52

Harris runs for three TDs; SBCC intercepts five passes in fifth-straight victory.

Points and yards were coming fast and furiously Saturday night at La Playa Stadium.

In a football game that featured a school-record 107 combined points and nearly 1,100 yards, SBCC held on for a wild 55-52 victory over Los Angeles Valley after taking a 45-24 lead into the fourth quarter.

“That was fun,” said Vaqueros quarterback Austin Civita. “We’re really starting to click on offense.”

The Vaqueros (5-4, 5-1) won their fifth-straight game, the longest streak since 1991, and took over sole possession of second place in the American Pacific Conference. Valley (5-4, 4-2) lost despite amassing 694 total yards and 33 first downs.

Meanwhile, Antelope Valley walloped Los Angeles Pierce, 42-7, to clinch a tie for the conference title at 6-0. Even if the Marauders lost their final game at Valley next Saturday, they would still win the title because they beat SBCC in the APC opener, 28-14.

Lamont Dupree had two of the Vaqueros’ five interceptions. He got the home team off to a strong start with an 80-yard interception return on the third play of the game. Valley answered with a 64-yard TD drive, then Jakharie Murphy ripped off a 62-yard kickoff return.

The Vaqueros took over at the Monarchs’ 29 and Trayone Harris ran five straight times, scoring on a 2-yard pitchout. Less than six minutes into the game, the Vaqueros had a 14-7 lead.

Murphy had a huge night of returns with 198 yards on two kick returns and a pair of punt returns. His 77-yard kickoff runback — his longest of the year — set up the Vaqueros at the Valley 4. Two plays later, Oscar Loza found clear sailing on a 4-yard reverse for a 21-7 lead.

The margin grew to 31-21 by halftime, thanks to a 46-yard Civita-to-Loza scoring strike with 52 seconds left in the second period. Loza caught seven balls for 140 yards and a TD, but injured his knee while making a spectacular grab of a 50-yard third-quarter pass to the Monarch 4. Harris ran it in on the next play, extending the lead to 38-24.

Harris finished with 139 yards rushing on 20 attempts with three TDs. He scored on a 4-yard run to cap an 80-yard drive in the third quarter and Robin Lawson bulled his way into the end zone from a yard out, giving the Vaqueros a 45-24 lead with 3:13 to go in the third period.

Valley’s QB Bret Visciglia completed 31-of-52 passes for 523 yards and six TDs. Four of his scoring strikes came in the fourth quarter when the Monarchs outscored the Vaqueros 28-10.

“We allowed a couple of big plays but we also made a couple of big plays,” said SBCC coach Craig Moropoulos. “The good thing was they tried to sell out stopping the run — again, the second week in a row — and we were able to run the ball. We were also able to hit a few big pass plays, which was really important.”

Valley had a first-and-goal on the 1-yard line in the third period but SBCC’s defense held on three plays, forcing Wilmer Segura to kick a 20-yard field goal.

Jakharie Murphy’s 32-yard TD on a well-designed reverse on the second-to-last play of the third quarter was erased by a blocking penalty.

After Valley scored to cut the deficit to 48-45 with 1:32 to play, Harris recovered an onside kick at the Valley 43. An offside penalty moved the ball to the 38 and Harris broke free around the left corner for a 38-yard TD run that made it 55-45 with 1:22 remaining.

SBCC closes out the regular season Saturday at East Los Angeles.

Dave Loveton is Santa Barbara City College’s sports information specialist.

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