Whether it’s the quarterback sporting the buzz cut taking the snaps or the one with the thick, long hair, SBCC doesn’t miss a beat in its high-tempo offense.
Quarterbacks Joshua Lindman and Noah Holle were masterful at directing the up-tempo attack in an entertaining 45-28 home-opening football victory over West L.A. on Saturday afternoon at La Playa Stadium.
Utilizing the variety of weapons around them, the quarterbacks kept the Vaqueros moving all game long. The team gained 274 yards on the ground and 244 through the air. Holle, who came off the bench, threw for 141 yards and three touchdowns on 8 for 10 passing, while Lindman was 7 of 13 for 103 yards and one score.
“The quarterbacks did a great job today,” SBCC coach Craig Moropoulos said “We didn’t have one turnover and they got us into plays and checked us out of plays. There was some good stuff.”
The transition between Holle and Lindman was seamless on Saturday.
“It’s a situation where those two guys are very even. It’s almost like they’re identical,” Moropoulos said. “They’re both brilliant, they’re both strong armed and they’re both 6-4 and 225 pounds. It’s almost like you can do the same thing. They throw the ball really well and they showed that today.”
The quarterbacks are having fun with their similarities.
“We joke around,” Lindman said. “It’s almost like we’re interchangeable Even our coach will mess up with our names — they did today on the scoreboard as well.”
Said Holle: “We feed off each other and we support each other. It’s back and forth (on who will start). It’s whoever has the momentum. We love competing against each other but we both support each other at the same time.”
The quarterbacks have a potent running attack to work with. Freshmen Perry Martin and Manny Nwosu had big games. Martin, a former Thousand Oaks High star, rushed for 128 yards on 16 carries. Nwosu, of Dos Pueblos, bulled his way for 87 yards on just 8 carries and scored a touchdown on an impressive 32-yard run.
Cedric Cooper also ran for a 9-yard touchdown in a wildcat formation.
“In my 11 years here, we probably have one of the best backfields overall that we’ve ever had,” said Moropoulos. “Perry Martin, Manny Nwosu, Demetrius Vinson, Abel Gonzalez … those guys, when they’re coming down hill, they’re going fast.”
Lindman praised the offensive line for its work.
“Our O-line is killing it and our running backs are obviously seeing that,” he said. “There were not very many plays that weren’t for positive gains today.”
Holle echoed his friend’s compliment. “The O line did great. I told them, if the O line does their job, we’re going to score every time. We feel like when we’re back there behind the O line we can do anything.”
The Vaqueros came out firing from the start, scoring on their first possession. Cooper lined up in the wildcat formation, took the snap and bolted 9 yards for a touchdown.
West L.A. scored the next two touchdowns in the second quarter. Behind the play of slick quarterback Jorge Ramos, the Wildcats scored on a 52-yard pass play. Ramos scrambled to his right and fired across the field to Rasheed Cox for the TD.
Ramos eluded the rush and found Andrew Williams for a first down at the 19 on a fourth-and-seven play. He then hit Justin Garrett for a 14-7 lead.
Ramos completed 50 of 67 passes for 419 yards and 4 TDs. The majority of his completions came on bubble screens and shovel passes.
“That’s what is very frustrating for us on defense because when they get in this alignment they do that and they’re very consistent,” Moropoulos said. “And, sure enough, it’s hard to defend.”
SBCC responded with a tying touchdown. Holle entered the game and completed four straight passes, the last one to Jacob Ortale for a 22-yard touchdown at 6:53 of the second quarter.
Ramos continued to frustrate the Vaquero defense with his elusiveness and slick ball handling. He connected with Daniel Bell, who cut in front of a SBCC defender for a 16-yard touchdown reception, giving the Wildcats a 21-14 lead with 3:14 left in the first half.
SBCC then turned Nwosu loose. The former Dos Pueblos star powered through the line and dragged a defender the last five yards on a 32-yard scoring run. That tied the score at 21-21 with 1:50 left in the half.
Nwosu, who also was a soccer star in high school, said he’s enjoying college football.
“I like it. I like the team bonding and everything that comes with it, and the camaraderie. It’s really fun,” he said.
He’s become good friends with Martin, and the two give SBCC a solid 1-2 punch in the backfield.
Ramos drove West L.A. to the SBCC 6 on its first possession of the second half. A personal foul pushed the ball back to the 21 and the Vaquero defense came up big and stopped the Wildcats. They attempted a field goal and it was blocked by Edward Jones and returned to midfield by linebacker Thomas Lash.
The Vaqueros capitalized, with Lindman hitting Jason-Matthew Sharsh for a 34-yard touchdown and a 28-21 lead.
Holle led SBCC on a 90-yard drive and capped it with a 14-yard toss to Elijah Cunningham for a 35-21 advantage.
The defense, led by Cole Marmor, Lash and Cameron Clokey, held the Wildcats to only one touchdown in the second half. Their only score came early in the fourth quarter on 1-yard pass to Bell on a fourth and goal.
Cunningham and Holle hooked up again on a 40-yard pass play to give the Vaqueros a 42-28 lead with 9:34 to go in the game.
Perry broke a 33-yard run to the West L.A. 8. A sack on Lindman pushed the ball back to the 13 and the drive stalled. Moropoulos elected to go for a field goal and Patrick Nasiatka booted a 30 yarder to make it 45-28.
“It was more important that our kicker knows I have faith him, because we’re going to need him down the road,” Moropoulos said of the decision to kick the field goal. “It was about the same distance as the L.A. Valley kick last that we missed to lose that game. I was very pleased to see that go through.”
And the Vaqueros were pleased to get their first win of the year.