There was an invasion of Pirates Saturday at the VC Sportsplex. The invasion by the Pirates of the South from Orange Coast College were soundly turned back by the Ventura College Pirates of the North 51-10 in VC's 2017 home opener. Thomas Duckett had 121 yards rushing with a touchdown on 13 carries and Kendric Mallory posted 10 pass receptions for 73 yards and a score. Defensive end Kenny Turnier had nine tackles, including two for a loss, a fumble recovery and an interception for the VC defense.
The game got off to a slow start with both team's opening possessions ending in punts. The second time they had the ball, Orange Coast drove down the field 52 yards in nine play before stalling at the VC 11-yard line. OCC hit a 28-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 8:14 remaining in the opening quarter.
Late in the first quarter Ventura (2-1) finally got untracked offensively. Playing with a short field courtesy of VC's special teams and defense, the Pirates drove 45 yards in five plays to take the lead for good. Quarterback Ricky Town completed three passes on the drive, including a 19-yard strike to Sam Flowers in the end zone to complete the drive. Cooper Garcia converted the extra point for a 7-3 Ventura lead with 3:21 left in the opening period.
On the ensuing OCC possession, the Ventura defense got into the act. The Pirates of the South drove just past midfield before fumbling the ball. Turnier came up with the turnover, setting up the offense with another short field. Town was 6-8 through the air on the drive for 41 yards, and rushed for another 10 to set up Garcia's 31-yard field goal and a 10-3 VC advantage.
With Jake Constantine calling signals the next time out for VC, the offense turned in a 7-play, 83-yard drive to the end zone. The big play on the drive was a 33-yard run by Duckett, and Constantine hit Mallory for a 1-yard touchdown pass for the score. Garcia's PAT made it 17-3.
The Ventura defense produced another turnover on the next Orange Coast possession with Chris Henry recovering the OCC fumble. That set up another scoring drive for VC, punctuated by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Constantine to Tony Daggett. Garcia hit another extra point to put the Pirates of the North ahead 24-3 at halftime.
The fireworks started early in the third quarter for VC. It took just 13 seconds for Savion Simms to return the opening kickoff of the second half all the way back to the house for another VC touchdown. Garcia's kick quickly put Ventura ahead 31-3.
Midway through the stanza Garcia hit another field goal, this one from 28 yards out, to make it 34-3.
Following a three-and-out by OCC, Ventura drove 79 yards on nine plays for yet another score. Duckett completed the drive with a 4-yard scoring run, followed by a Garcia kick.
Two plays into the next Coast possession, Turnier picked off a pass for VC, returning it to the Orange Coast 23-yard line. After three Marcus Chambers runs, Town hit Darrion Ballard with an 11-yard touchdown pass for a 48-3 Ventura advantage after three quarters.
Orange Coast finally pushed the ball into the end zone early in the fourth quarter but the damage had been done by VC. With the game essentially over, the Pirates of the North ran the ball and the clock in the final period, with Garcia hitting a 44-yard field goal in the closing minutes of the game to set the final margin at 51-10.
Ventura outgained Orange Coast 541-295, and won the turnover battle 3-0. Town was 20-27 in the air for 169 yards and two touchdowns while Constantine hit 11 of 12 passes for 121 yards and two scores. VC had 251 yards rushing led by Duckett's 121 yards and 43 yards from Gil Scott Jackson. Mallory led the receiving corps, and Daggett had five catches for 64 yards and a score.
Turnier led the defense, and Jesse Leomnaire had six tackles. Defensive back Alvin Pacheco recorded five stops.
Ventura will hit the road on Saturday Sept. 23 for a contest at No. 2 Riverside. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 pm and fans can see the game live on the VC Sports Network.