Vaqueros can win co-title with help

One week after racking up 55 points, SBCC travels to East L.A. to complete its regular season against a Husky football team that has struggled on defense.

The Vaqueros (5-4, 5-1) went over the .500 mark for the first time last week with their fifth straight win — a wild 55-52 victory over L.A. Valley. SBCC took over sole possession of second place in the American Pacific Conference behind Antelope Valley (6-0) and could tie for the title in the first year of the conference if the Vaqueros win and the Marauders fall at L.A. Valley.

A Vaquero victory would give them their longest win streak since 1982-83, when they won eight straight. The 1982 squad captured its last five games and the ’83 edition opened with three wins. The last time SBCC won six straight in a season was 1979.

SBCC, ranked No. 21 in Southern Cal, also has an outside shot at receiving a bowl invitation if it finishes 6-4.

“We have to beat East L.A.,” said coach Craig Moropoulos. “That’s the only thing we can control. We can’t control the rankings or how Antelope Valley plays or how anyone else plays.”

The inaugural Tremblay Financial Services Bowl will be held at SBCC on Nov. 22 with kickoff set for 6 p.m. There are seven bowls in Southern Cal — four playoff games and three other bowls. The pairings will be announced on Sunday.

SBCC is seeking its sixth straight win against an East L.A. defense that ranks last in scoring defense (48.9 per game) in Southern Cal and fourth-to-last in yards allowed (447). The Huskies (1-8, 1-5), who got their only win at Santa Monica 42-37 two weeks ago, surrendered 65 points to Cerritos and 75 to Glendale in the first two weeks of the season.

East L.A. scored a lot of points last week but still came up short at West L.A., 58-41.

“They’ve got some outstanding players, including No. 1 (Antoine Smithson), who’s one of the best guys we’ll face,” said Moropoulos.

Smithson ranks No. 1 in the APC in receiving (55 for 752 yards, 3 TDs) and all-purpose yards (152).

SBCC’s Trayone Harris, who ran for 139 yards and three TDs last week, is No. 2 in all-purpose yards (113) and No. 3 among conference rushers (608 yards, 6.7 avg., 7 TDs). The offensive line that has helped cleared the way for Harris includes center Jon Nissing, guards Peter Moller and Mako Malapeai, tackles Jeremy Jestice and David Rheault and tight ends Josh Cohen and Josh Anderson.

Cohen will be his second straight game with an injury while Oscar Loza, the sixth-leading receiver in the APC (28 for 443, 3 TDs), is questionable with an injured knee.

The 55 points that scored last week were the fourth-highest total in school history. The 1996 squad set the school record in a 63-9 rout of Ventura. Harris rushed for 139 yards and three TDs last week while Lamont Dupree had two of SBCC’s five interceptions, including an 80-yard return for a score. Harris and Dupree, teammates at University High  L.A., were named the APC offensive and defensive player of the week, respectively.

SBCC has the No. 2-ranked kickoff and punt return squads in the SCFA. Jakharie Murphy, who had a season-high 77-yard kickoff return against Valley, is No. 1 in Southern Cal in punt returns (23.7 yards) while Harris is No. 4 in kickoff returns (32.0).