Ventura’s running game too much for Dons

Junior Tyler Peralta ran for 266 yards and five touchdowns as the Ventura High football team wrapped up a 4-0 Channel League championship season with a 35-20 win over visiting Santa Barbara Friday night at Larrabee Stadium.

One week after shutting out rival Buena 31-0 to earn ashare, the Cougars (5-5) finished the job by racing out to a 14-0 lead and grinding down Santa Barbara (4-6, 1-3).

As if reaching back into the school archives for page of a decade-old playbook, Ventura spent the night handing the ball to a tough running back named Tyler 40 times.

The five touchdowns were the most Peralta had scored since a freshman game two years ago against Santa Barbara. Although this game had slightly more riding on it.

Beginning its first three possessions on its 47 and the Santa Barbara 41 and 37, Ventura took control of a short field to jump out to a 14-0 lead.

Peralta capped a three-play, 41-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown run. Following a three and out and a 23-yard punt, Peralta carried six times on an eight-play drive, blasting in on fourth and goal from the 1.

Meanwhile, Santa Barbara started the game looking uphill. It faced third down and 12, 23 and 26 yards on its first three possessions.

But the game shifted in the second quarter. Ventura was threatening to take a three-score lead when Alex Guadarrama stepped in front of a Tyler Smith pass and returned it 70 yards. That set up Santa Barbara’s first score, a 15-yard pass from Brent Peus to Russel Endholm.

Senior Cheroke Cunningham rushed for 101 yards and a 4-yard touchdown, which pulled Santa Barbara within 21-13 with 5:44 left in the third quarter.

Three plays after Peralta’s 1-yard run extended the Ventura lead to 28-13, Peus’ 62-yard scoring strike to Jordan Guzman again pulled Santa Barbara within eight with 8:26 to play.

But the Cougars responded. Santa Barbara’s only real chance to tie the game ended with a three-and-out with 4:56 to play.

Information provided by the Ventura County Star