An unbelievable exhibition on the ground by Brandon Smith led the SBCC football team to a 30-14 win at Glendale on Saturday in the battle of the Vaqueros. Smith’s 260 rushing yards went down as the most in program history.
Santa Barbara won its fourth straight to improve to 4-1 on the year, while Glendale fell to 2-3.
“I told the team that I was as proud of them tonight as I’ve been in my 17 years here,” head coach Craig Moropoulos said. “We played with a great sense of urgency. To go on the road and play as well as we did in all three phases of the game, it was impressive and I’m very proud of them.”
Smith carried the ball 33 times, finishing with his third consecutive game of at least 109 rushing yards, 7.9 yards per carry and two rushing touchdowns. It was just the fifth 200-yard rushing performance all-time at SBCC and the first since Tamir Walker in 2018.
“Brandon’s just a very physical runner. He was just unstoppable,” said Moropoulos. “What he did tonight in that game, he was something special, he really was.”
Sophomore quarterback Alex Johnson returned to the starting lineup for the first time since SBCC’s season-opener and threw for 94 yards completing 10-of-16 passes. He was also very effective on the ground, sneaking in two rushing touchdowns of his own and finishing with a career-high 46 yards on eight attempts.
“Alex did a great job tonight not only throwing the ball but also on some run options,” Moropoulos said. “He came in there and did his part. He did a great job tonight.”
With another 59 rushing yards (6.6 Y/R) coming from running back Mekhi Norfleet, the Vaqueros finished with 356, their most since 2014.
After a scoreless first quarter, a bad shotgun snap midway through the second put Glendale in its own end zone for a safety. On the ensuing SBCC drive, a 24-yard run by Johnson setup Smith for a nine-yard scamper to put his team up 9-0. Glendale answered with a touchdown before halftime to make it 9-7 at the break.
On its opening drive of the third quarter, Santa Barbara went 72 yards in 11 plays before capping it with a 1-yard sneak by Johnson to go up 16-7. SBCC went with a run on all seven plays of its next possession, highlighted by a 52-yard burst by Smith and another 3-yard touchdown by Johnson, giving them a comfortable 23-7 advantage.
Glendale’s Nicholas Garcia connected with receiver Jahrique Lowe to make it 23-14 early in the fourth, but SBCC answered once again with an excellent 15-play drive that took 10:16 off the clock. Smith carried it in from nine yards again to put the Vaqueros up 30-14 with just three and a half minutes remaining.
Santa Barbara’s defense forced three turnovers and had two sacks. Blake Vollbrecht forced and recovered a fumble as well as intercepting a pass and returning it 10 yards. Fellow defensive back Jakobie Seabourn had an interception of his own.
Following the win, SBCC will have a bye week before returning to action against LA Pierce in its American Pacific League opener on Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. at La Playa Stadium.
Michael Jorgenson works in communications/media relations at Santa Barbara City College.