The SBCC football team took the opening kickoff back for six to open Saturday’s game at Orange Coast and never looked back, dominating every area of the game in a 45-7 blowout win.
“It was a good win because when you play really sharp and win pretty much all three phases of the game, it’s really, really rewarding as a head coach,” said Craig Moropoulos. “I told the team last night I was very pleased with their response after a disappointing loss against Hancock. Even though we’re missing some key guys, for us to take care of our business and for guys to step up and do the job was very rewarding, and now we just need to continue that when we get those guys back.”
Among the missing Vaqueros (1-1) was quarterback Alex Johnson, who was sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols. Treton Luera got the start in Johnson’s stead and did not disappoint.
After a strong showing late in SBCC’s week one game against Allan Hancock, Luera was even better against the Pirates (0-2), going 11-of-14 (.786) for 153 yards, three touchdowns and a pick.
“It was unfortunate that Alex was forced to miss the game, but Trent deserves to go. He’s very meticulous and very calm, just low key and he doesn’t get flustered,” Moropoulos said. “The safety undercut his throw in the second quarter and it was unfortunate, but he didn’t lose his cool and came right back. Those are really big things for a quarterback not to get down and lose his focus. Trent’s one of the better ones at that, so I recognize those things.”
Santa Barbara jumped on Orange Coast to take a 14-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. Defensive back Terrance Biser-Coleman brought the opening kickoff back 92 yards to paydirt, setting an energized tone for the Vaqueros right out of the gates. On the Pirates’ first offensive play, SBCC forced and recovered a fumble at the Orange Coast 17-yard line, setting up three straight runs for running back Mekhi Norfleet on a three-play scoring drive as he took it in from nine yards out.
Two drives later, Luera found wide receiver Chase Wells for a 23-yard touchdown to make it 21-0. Luera’s interception would come in the opening minute of the second half, but the Vaqueros would respond with three straight scoring drives to end the half.
First, freshman runningback Brandon Smith broke out for a 46-yard score. Defensive back Jake Hadzicki blocked a punt on Orange Coast’s next possession, leading to a Joe Bowman field goal from 44 yards out. Then, on a 2nd-and-17 with 53 seconds left before halftime, Luera hit Wells again for a 49-yard touchdown to send SBCC into the break leading a commanding 38-7.
Luera’s third and final touchdown went for four yards to tight end Elian Sundquist midway through the third.
Wells set a new career-high in receiving yards, ending his day with six catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns. It was the second two-touchdown outing of his career.
Smith had at least 15 carries for the second straight week, averaging 5.9 yards per carry for 88 yards and a touchdown.
SBCC’s defense had four sacks, forced five turnovers and one punt block. This is the fifth time in 11 games that the Vaqueros have held their opponent to seven points or fewer.
Defensive backs Deontae Johnson and Blake Vollbrecht both had interceptions. Linebackers Errius Ishmal and Joe Carson had two tackles for a loss and a sack each.
“I like the tenacity of our defense. They’re just very aggressive,” said Moropoulos. “They’re very good against the run and the guys up front – Jordan Tagaloa, the linebackers, and the secondary’s coming around, too. It’s good for the team, just like our special teams. They’re called that for a good reason and it gives you a sense of calm when you know your special teams are calm.”
The Vaqueros will be on the road once again next Saturday, Sept. 17 for a 1 p.m. game at West L.A.
Michael Jorgenson works in communications/media relations at Santa Barbara City College.