The SBCC football team earned its fifth straight victory on Saturday against L.A. Pierce, dominating at home once again in a 63-0 blowout win.
With their second straight home shutout, the Vaqueros are now on an incredible 156-0 scoring run at La Playa Stadium. They improve to 5-1 overall and are 1-0 in the American Pacific League with the conference-opening win. The Brahmas fall to 0-6 overall and 0-1 in the APL.
“Very similar to our last two games, I just told the guys that we’re going to compete for four quarters and play hard until the last snap,” head coach Craig Moropoulos said. “And the guys did it again. Our defense did well forcing a lot of turnovers and we capitalized on all of them, so it was a good day.”
Santa Barbara’s active defense shut down LA Pierce’s offense from the opening play, when linebacker Amir Brown stepped into the passing lane to intercept the first pass of the day. It was one of four interceptions for the Vaqueros, as Keenan Stokes and Tyrone McCoy would later get their first picks of the year and Blake Vollbrecht got his third.
“It all starts with the guys up front,” Moropoulos said. “The back end people, they get the benefit of somebody putting pressure on quarterbacks, making them hurry and put the ball up in the wrong spots. And, just like when we’re rushing the ball, it all starts with our O-Line.”
On the other side of the ball, the SBCC offense made it look easy. On the Vaqueros’ first possession, quarterback Alex Johnson hit receiver BJ Phillips out right for a nine-yard score. On the next drive, he found Kayden Chan on a slant out left before Chan made his way across the field for a 23-yard touchdown. Johnson would later sneak it in from one yard out and toss a 12-yard score to Damare Ward on the next two possessions as SBCC scored on its first four drives.
Johnson finished 8-of-10 for 143 yards through the air. He accounted for five of SBCC’s nine touchdowns, tossing three and running in two.
“Alex does so much more than people really see. His run checks, and what he did getting us in and out of plays, taking advantage of what a defense tries to do was really a strength for him,” Moropoulos said. “Being a part of five touchdowns, that’s pretty special. What real football people understand for the value of a quarterback is efficiency. Not necessarily throwing the ball, or just checking or running, but all of it. As a head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, the most value a quarterback can have is efficiency and he’s doing a fantastic job.”
The ruthless running of sophomore Brandon Smith saw him become the first Vaquero during the Moropoulos era (since 2007) to go over 100 yards on the ground in four straight games. He finished with 156 rushing yards on 16 carries (9.8 Y/R), including a remarkable 52-yard run on the first play of the second half where he shook off multiple would-be tacklers before bouncing it outside all the way to the end zone.
“I was already calling the personnel for the next play and then all of a sudden Brandon squirted out of there and runs for a touchdown,” said Moropoulos. “He’s a pretty special player. He’s almost at 1,000 yards already. I don’t think anybody’s done anything like what he’s doing, not in my time.”
Averaging 135 yards per game, Smith is on pace to set the Vaqueros’ single-season rushing record in their Nov. 12 regular season finale at Santa Monica. As a team, SBCC is also on pace to set a new all-time rushing record in that game.
Runningbacks Mekhi Norfleet, Cameron Woolsey and Uri Loza all ran it into the end zone in the fourth quarter. It was the Vaqueros’ fifth straight game with over 200 rushing yards and third straight with at least 400 yards of total offense.
Defensive lineman Jordan Tagaloa led the defense with six tackles, constantly clogging things up on the run. LA Pierce ended the day with just seven rushing yards on 29 attempts.
Defensive back Jamari Cannon was all over the place and was one of four Vaqueros with 1.5 tackles for a loss, forcing a fumble on a kickoff return as he flew down the field.
Kicker Joe Bowman continued to be incredibly reliable, making all nine extra points to improve to 37-for-37 on the year.
The Vaqueros’ five-game win streak is tied for their longest since 2015, when they won seven straight. They will remain home for their next game on Saturday, Oct. 22 against L.A. Valley at 1 p.m.
Michael Jorgenson works in communications/media relations at Santa Barbara City College.