Vaqueros see first action in new conference

With a difficult non-conference football schedule in the rear-view mirror, SBCC will be putting the pedal to the metal in Saturday’s American Pacific Conference opener at La Playa Stadium. The inaugural APC clash between the Vaqueros (0-3) and Antelope Valley (0-3) will kick off at 6 p.m.

“We’ve been aiming for the conference as a goal since we started,” said second-year SBCC coach Craig Moropoulos. “It’s been a tough preseason but we knew it would be against the old WSC teams.”

 SBCC has been outscored by Hancock, No. 3 Canyons and No. 12 Ventura by a combined 119-16 with the last two games on the road. It hasn’t been much better for the Marauders, who’ve been outscored 120-35 by Canyons, Ventura and Chaffey. Santa Barbara committed five first-half turnovers in a 49-0 loss to Ventura last week while Antelope Valley fell to Chaffey 31-14.

Ravonte Wilkerson, SBCC’s talented receiver/kick returner, broke his collarbone last week and will miss the rest of the season. Defensive end Clint Nix and linebacker Ken Dorset missed several practices with ankle injuries but are expected to play.

The Vaqueros lead the all-time series with AVC 11-8 and this is the first meeting since 1992, when SBCC prevailed 24-22. The Marauders won their first nine games in 2007 and finished with a 9-2 record.

“Antelope Valley is very athletic on defense,” noted Moropoulos. “They like to blitz and play a lot of man-to-man, which we’re not used to seeing.”

SBCC’s Justin Leverette rushed for a season-high 83 yards on 14 carries last week. Eddie Russ returned a kickoff 88 yards for AVC’s first TD against Chaffey.