FOOTBALL: As the bumper sticker says, "Get in, sit down, and hold on!" A year after winning seven games by a touchdown or less, and a week after racing to an 18 point first-half lead, only to fall by 18 points, the Ventura College football team is at it again, leading 44-14 in the third quarter before having to rely on a blocked field goal in the closing seconds to preserve their 44-42 home win against Long Beach City College Saturday. Aaron Stanton rushed for 120 yards, Brad Odeman passed for 337 yards and five touchdowns and Dylan McDaniel caught 10 passes for 119 yards, but it was Antonio Cowart who blocked the Vikings' 33-yard game winning field goal attempt to preserve the win for VC (1-1).
The Pirates started fast, drawing a LBCC holding penalty in the end zone on the first play from scrimmage, giving VC two points for a safety. When VC received the ball following the Viking free kick, they promptly drove 53 yards on nine plays, finishing with a Odeman to Brandon Stedfelt scoring strike from 4-yards out. The Pirates led 9-0 less than four minutes into the game.
Long Beach would not go easily, however, holding Ventura scoreless for the rest of the quarter. The Vikings closed the gap with a touchdown at the 14:44 mark of the second stanza, but VC answered three minutes later when Odeman hit Kurt McCormack for a 33-yard pass to paydirt. LBCC went 76 yards in seven plays on the ensuing posession, using just 2:23 off the clock to make the score 16-14 with nine minutes remaining in the first half.
Ventura seemingly took over at that point, socring a pair of touchdowns before halftime. Odeman hit Kevon Mitchell for a 21-yard score with 5:57 oon the clock, and threw his fourth touchdown pass of the half with 33 seconds left, a six yard completion to Dylan McDaniel. Kevin Kircher's extra point made the score 30-14 at intermission.
The Pirates received the ball to begin the third quarter, and promptly drove 82 yards in 10 plays. An Odeman to McDaniel pass combination punctuated the drive from 12 yards out. Following a three-and-out by the Vikings, VC took over on their own 35-yard line when Aaron Stanton raced 65 yards to the end zone. Kircher's kick made it a 44-14 Pirate lead and the route was on, or so it seemed.
VC's offense went on sabbatical at that point, gaining just 75 yards the rest of the game (50 yards on one drive late in the contest), while Long Beach fought back. The Vikings scored a touchdown on their next possession and cashed in a Pirate fumble for seven more points late in the third quarter. LBCC scored another touchdown early in the fourth period, and hit the end zone for the final time with 5:06 remaining in the game, making the score 44-42.
Ventura took over, and tried to put the contest on ice, using 3:54 off the clock while driving 50 yards in 10 plays, but they could not convert a fourth-and-two at the Long Beach 24 yard line with 1:04 left in the contest. The Vikings took over, marching 60 yards to the VC 16 yard line before their final field goal attempt with 0:09 on the clock.
Odeman completed passes to 10 different receivers, including McDaniel and McCormack, who hauled in six catches for 91 yards. VC improved from week 1 on the ground, gaining 225 rushing yards as a team. The VC defense, good at times, recovered two Long Beach fumbles. They still showed their youth, however, giving up 530 yards total offense to LBCC.
Ventura returns home next weekend, hosting Los Angeles Harbor on Saturday Sept. 21. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 pm and the game can be seen live online at www.socalcollegesports.com.