Defense, Evans are sharp; Vaqueros win third straight

Freshman quarterback Jarred Evans rushed for three touchdowns on Saturday night and the defense was spectacular as SBCC topped L.A. Southwest 24-10 in an American Pacific Conference football game in Los Angeles.

Evans ran for TDs of 1, 2 and 3 yards and also threw for 192 yards in the third straight win by the Vaqueros (3-2, 2-0). Santa Barbara piled up 27 first downs while holding the Cougars (1-4, 0-2) to just seven.

The Vaqueros led 18-3 at halftime, thanks to touchdown drives of 62 and 52 yards plus a safety on a high punt snap with 12 seconds left in the second quarter. The play started on the 34-yard line and the Cougar punter raced back to his own 2 and kicked the ball out of the end zone.

Evans completed 16 of 31 passes (with no interceptions) for 192 yards and ran 15 times for 37 yards. Jerome Stevens caught five passes for 86 yards and Tyson Heller grabbed five for 50 yards.

SBCC outgained the home team 336-92 and used its no-huddle offense to run 84 plays compared to 51 for Southwest. The defense stifled the Cougar running game, limiting them to minus 26 yards on 33 tries.

Linebacker Morgan Nevin, the third-leading tackler in Southern Cal, had 11 tackles, including 3.5 for loss. Thomas Borchert added 10 tackles and Joel Medina had seven tackles and a sack.

Defensive end Collin Powell collected six tackles, including three for 19 yards in losses, and 2.5 sacks.

“Our defense is playing well because we have great coaching and play calling,” said Nevin, a 6-foot freshman from Truckee, Calif. “Our defense has really stepped up the last few weeks and pretty much gotten the Ws.”

The Vaqueros have allowed just 23 points the last three weeks (7, 6 and 10) while scoring 79. On Saturday, they recorded four sacks and 12 tackles for loss, totaling 49 yards.

“It’s almost like a competition between the defensive players over who’s going to make a sack, who’s going to make a big defensive play,” added Nevin.

It was essentially a shutout for the defense as Southwest scored on a 50-yard field goal by Jose Arias on the last play of the first half after a 52-yard kickoff return. Their only touchdown came on a 34-yard interception return with 8:53 to play.

The Vaqueros extended their lead to 24-3 on the seventh play of the fourth quarter when Evans plowed three yards over left tackle to cap an eight-play, 66-yard drive. Marcus Hoerberg’s PAT kick caromed back off the left upright.

“That’s a good win,” said coach Craig Moropoulos. “We had different people step up and take charge and the defense did another great job.
“Jarred played well and Tyson Heller had a good game. Overall, it was a good solid win going into the bye week.”
After a bye next weekend, SBCC has two straight Friday home games against unbeaten Antelope Valley (Oct. 13) and L.A. Pierce (Oct. 20).

Santa Barbara, Antelope Valley, L.A. Pierce and Santa Monica are all 2-0 in conference play.