Once the final gun sounded, the jubilant Ventura High sideline celebrated history.
And what a historic win it was.
Rodney Stanley threw three touchdown passes and tailback Conner Armstrong rushed for two more to help Ventura overpower San Marcos 41-0 at Warkentin Stadium to complete its first 10-0 season in school history and its first undefeated regular season in almost 30 years. The win also earned Ventura the outright Channel League title, the school’s first since 1996.
Ventura’s only other undefeated teams were the 9-0-1 squad in 1984, which lost to Camarillo in the section championship, and a 10-0-2 team in 1951.
Ventura’s head coach Brad Steward could not have been happier with the 2011 version.
“I’m just so proud of the job our guys have done this year,” said Steward. “The fact that they could keep their focus from the disappointing loss last year against Dos Pueblos, and to come back this year and win a league championship was the main goal. Now, we are undisputed league champions.”
Ventura’s effort became evident shortly after the opening kickoff. After limiting the San Marcos to a three-and-out — a theme for the game and the seasonc— on its opening drive, Ventura mounted a six-play drive capped off by Stanley’s 22 yard touchdown strike to Hunter Winans. Six minutes later, Stanley found senior Nick Rudolph for a 10-yard scoring completion, the first of two touchdown catches for Rudolph.
The suffocating Ventura defense, allowing just 8.2 points per game in 2011, was as good as advertised. Anchored by standout nose guard Zack Hays, Ventura shut out its opponent for the third time this season by forcing four turnovers and giving only 173 total yards to San Marcos. Safety Nick Januska, Rolf Reeves and Steven Ito each recorded interceptions.
Ventura’s Armstrong continued to pad the lead with touchdown runs of 1 and 20 yards in the second quarter en route to 34-0 halftime lead. Armstrong finished with 120 yards on 16 carries.
Stanley passed for 178 yards on 11 completions.
—Story courtesy of Ventura Star