FOOTBALL: Behind quarterback Brad Odeman the Pirate offense rolled to a 24-0 halftime lead Saturday night at Bakersfield. The VC defense did the rest, holding off a late charge by the Renegades, as Ventura claimed a 24-16 victory at Bakersfield's Memorial Stadium, the Pirates first victory in 13 tries at the classic California community college football venue. Odeman passed for 236 yards and two touchdowns while Paul Harris rushed for 106 yards, and punter Alex Nelson pinned BC inside their own 10-yard line three times, including on the Renegades final drive, to help preserve the Pirate win.
Ventura (3-1) dominated the opening half of play, scoring on their first possession when Aaron Stanton carried the ball 15 yards to paydirt, completing a 10-play 59-yard drive. Following a BC punt, Odeman led the Pirates down the field once again, finishing the drive with a 34-yard scoring strike to Kevon Mitchell with 4:23 left in the first quarter. VC's third possession stalled on the Bakersfield 37-yard line, but their fourth ended in paydirt again, as Dylan McDaniel made a circus catch on a 22-yard Odeman pass with 9:17 remaining in the first half.
The Renegade defense began to get untracked at that point, but Nelson's punting aided the Pirate defense when the offense stalled. To close the half, Nelson had a 48-yard boomer, and then he backed up the Renegades to their own 1-yard line with 4:10 left in the half. With BC on the move on a long drive, defensive back Ronny Camacho forced a fumble at the VC 14-yard line which was recovered by David Emanuel, and the Pirates dodged a bullet. In addition, they fired one of their own, driving to the Renegade 14-yard line before Kevin Kircher closed the half with a 31-yard field goal.
The Pirate offense struggled in the second half, and Bakersfield responded with a touchdown and 2-point conversion at the 4:01 mark of the third quarter. BC put another eight points on the board with 5:56 remaining in the game to pull within one possession, setting the stage for another fantastic finish.
VC recovered an onsides-kick attempt, and worked nearly four minutes off the clock before Nelson's punt pinned the Renegades back to their own 7-yard line with 2:04 on the clock. Bakersfield was able to get to the Pirate 39-yard line, but Benito Moran sacked the BC quarterback on the final play of the game to put the Pirate victory on the bus.
McDaniel and Mitchell led the VC receivers, each with 70 yards and a touchdown on six and five catches, respectively. Patrick Hall and Antonio Cowart each had an interception for the Pirates and Hall and Gary Jr. Wortham each recorded eight tackles for the defense.
The Citrus Cup will be at the VC Sportsplex on Saturday Oct. 5 as Moorpark comes calling in the annual cross-county rivalry. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 pm and the game can be seen live online on www.socalcollegesports.com.