Vaqueros score 49 in shoot-out win over West L.A.

SBCC and West L.A. have staged some wild shootouts in recent years and Saturday’s final football game of the regular season was no exception.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 31-21 halftime lead before the Vaqueros (7-3, 4-3 APC) stormed back to outscore them 28-7 and pull out a 49-38 triumph in Culver City.

“They have a good offense and it’s tough to slow them down,” said SBCC coach Craig Moropoulos. “Our defense rose up at the end and our offense played very well.”

The Vaqueros are still hoping to get a bowl bid after completing their best season (7-3) in 17 years.

Mike Petersen, a sophomore running back from Denmark, had his best game as a Vaquero. He refused to go down on the first tackle or two and finished with 146 yards on 23 carries.

“I guess I wanted it more than the other guys,” said Petersen who appeared to be tackled at the West L.A. 5 early in the fourth quarter but carried three defenders into the end zone to complete a 21-yard TD run and give the Vaqueros a 42-38 lead. “This was my last game with my boys and I wanted to finish strong.”

The Vaqueros racked up a season-high 254 rushing yards on 45 attempts. They won the first-down battle, 29-24, and the total yards were nearly identical with 467 for West L.A. and 465 for the Vaqueros.

The 49 points were a season high for SBCC and the most they’ve scored in five years.

Brandon Nicastro blocked a punt for the second straight week on a fourth-and-12 play from the Wildcats’ 20-yard line. Zack Arnell recovered at the 12 and Martin connected with Poling for his second TD of the day, boosting the lead to 49-38 with 8:45 remaining.

Santa Barbara’s two quarterbacks combined to complete 19-of-26 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns. Josh Martin, who entered in the second quarter, was a perfect 11-11 in the second half for 126 yards and two scores.

Martin completed 13-16 in the game for 152 yards. Bruce Shipley was 6-10 for 59 yards, including TD tosses of 8 and 16 yards to Giovanni Sanders and Landon Poling, respectively.

Poling, who caught four passes for 63 yards, gave the Vaqueros their first lead at 14-10 when he broke free over the middle for the 16-yard score with 12:36 to go in the second quarter.

West L.A. struck back just 47 seconds later when Treviel Boone ran 20 yards for a score. After Shipley threw an interception, the Wildcats (1-9, 1-6) added a 30-yard scoring pass to go up 24-14. Quarterback Derek Stewart completed 32-of-48 passes for 333 yards and two TDs.

Sanders scored his second TD on a 3-yard reverse at the 1:32 mark, then West L.A. went 58 yards in just four plays and took a 31-21 halftime lead on a 24-yard Stewart pass to Boone.

The Vaqueros had two TD drives of more than 90 yards – a 92-yard march that led to Sanders’ 3-yard TD run in the second quarter and an 11-play, 98-yard drive that culminated in a 9-yard end-around score by Tyler Higby that put the Vaqueros ahead 35-31 with 1:30 to go in the third quarter.

Linebacker Jake Pettit paced the defense with 10 tackles while Aaron Carr had nine and Arnell seven.