SBCC football holds on for another victory

WOODLAND HILLS — It was a tale of two halves and one blazing halfback.

SBCC bolted out to a 31-3 lead early in the third quarter of Saturday night’s football game at L.A. Pierce and then hung on for a 38-30 victory. It was the third straight win for the Vaqueros (3-4, 3-1), who remained in a second-place tie in the American Pacific Conference.

Trayone Harris, a 5-11 freshman from University High in Los Angeles, rushed for 222 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries for SBCC. He averaged nearly 10 yards a carry and also had 94 yards on kickoff returns, giving him what is believed to be a school-record 316 all-purpose yards.

“Lately, I haven’t been in as much so I had to just show up and let the coaches know what I can do,” said Harris, who had scoring runs of 5, 53 and 12 yards in the first half. “The (offensive) line is great. I love the line. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have scored at all”
“Trayone is an outstanding back because he runs hard and he runs physical,” said SBCC coach Craig Moropoulos.

Jakharie Murphy returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown with 32.8 seconds left in the first half, boosting the Vaquero lead to 28-3. He finished with 149 return yards.

Harris returned the second-half kickoff 43 yards to the Pierce 36 and, following a personal foul on the Brahmas, the Vaqueros took over at the 21. They only got six yards on three plays, however, and settled for a 22-yard Jeremy Ybarra field goal that made it 31-3 with 11:38 to go in the third quarter.

“II was really proud of the guys because they came out aggressive,” said Moropoulos. “We told them at halftime that we have to play like it’s 0-0. We have to keep our foot on the pedal.”

Instead, it was Pierce who came alive as quarterback Taylor Budd completed 16-of-20 passes in the second half for 212 yards and a touchdown. The home team scored two TDs in a 6 1/2 minute span of the third quarter and then drove 51 yards to the SBCC 11.

The Vaquero defense stiffened up and forced three incompletions, which led to a 28-yard Pierce field goal. Instead of pulling within seven with a TD, the Brahams (2-5, 2-2) trailed 31-20.

Murphy returned the ensuing kickoff 46 yards, setting up the Vaqueros at the Pierce 42. Harris ran the ball six straight times, capped by trip to the end zone on a 2-yard pitchout to the right. Ybarra’s fifth PAT made it 38-20 with 11:24 to play.

Santa Barbara, which entered the game as the lowest scoring team in Southern Cal (9.5 per game), could have scored 50 if it hadn’t lost a pair of second-half fumbles at the 2-yard line. The Brahams outscored the Vaqueros 27-10 in the second half.

“We moved up and down the field but we fumbled twice on the 2,” said Moropoulos, whose team posted season highs in first downs (25), rushing yards (284 on 54 attempts) and total offense (379 yards). “Fumbles happen but it’s how you respond to them. I was really proud with how we responded.”

Austin Civita completed 10-of-14 passes for 95 yards for the Vaqueros, who’ve won three in a row for the first time since midway through the 2005 season. SBCC converted 7-of-11 in third-down situations while Pierce was 1-12.

“The offensive line played great and our offense rose up tonight,” Moropoulos said. “They kept re-establishing the tempo of the game. Austin Civita was outstanding. He checked (changed the play) on probably 85 percent of our runs. He got us in the right runs.”

SBCC plays its next two games at home on Saturday against high-scoring West L.A. and Nov. 8 against L.A. Valley. West L.A., which recently changed its nickname from Oilers to Wildcats, is averaging 43.3 points in its last three games.