Going doesn’t get any easier for Vaqs

SBCC’s grueling non-conference football schedule has resulted in more than just a pair of losses. The Vaqueros lost their starting running back, Bryant Hilliard, with a knee injury in the opening minutes of a 14-10 season-opening setback to Hancock and then watched several offensive linemen go down in last week’s game at No. 3 Canyons.

The Vaqueros (0-2) complete their non-conference slate on Saturday when they travel to 12th-ranked Ventura for a 7 p.m. game at Larrabee Stadium. On Sept. 27, SBCC will play its first American Pacific Conference game at home vs. Antelope Valley.

 “The injury list is pretty big,” said Vaquero coach Craig Moropoulos. “We’re pretty banged-up.” Offensive linemen Ben Pena, Juan Guttierez, Jon Nissing and Darryl Berry all suffered injuries in the first two weeks.

Ventura is 2-0 after decisive wins over L.A. Valley (48-3) and Antelope Valley (35-7). Two weeks ago, Antelope Valley dropped a 54-14 decision to Canyons. The Cougars beat SBCC last week, 56-6.

“Ventura has some good athletes,” said Moropoulos. “They have a lot of returners, including their quarterback (Lee Mondol) and running back (Michael Lee).”

Mondol threw a pair of first-half touchdowns to Tim Pope last Saturday on a day when the Pirates gained less than 200 yards and lost the first-down battle, 19-11. Ventura scored on a 41-yard fumble return and blocked a punt to set up another touchdown.

SBCC quarterbacks Conner Rehage and Austin Civita combined for 200 yards and a touchdown at Canyons. The Vaqueros scored their TD on the final play of the third quarter when Civita hit Robin Lawson with an 8-yard pass that capped a 63-yard drive.

“We’re not down,” said Moropoulos. “We’re focusing on the good things. We need to protect our quarterback, play better on defense and we can’t turn the ball over.”