Vaqueros lose a heartbreaker to L.A. Valley, 28-27

SBCC's Chad Woolsey scores the first of his two touchdowns during the first quarter. He rushed for 60 yards. (Photos by Ken Sciallo, Sevilla Photography)

SBCC’s Chad Woolsey scores the first of his two touchdowns during the first quarter. He rushed for 60 yards. (Photos by Ken Sciallo, Sevilla Photography)

Football games are often decided by inches and that was the case on Saturday as L.A. Valley caromed a PAT off the goalpost and through with 3:07 remaining and SBCC misfired on a 28-yard field goal with 10 seconds to play. It added up to a 28-27 American Pacific League victory for the visiting Monarchs at La Playa Stadium.

“We lost that fumble late in the first half and that blocked punt (with 6:17 to play) was crucial,” said Vaquero coach Craig Moropoulos. “I’m proud of my guys for bouncing back (after falling behind 28-27) and moving down the field and putting ourselves in position to win. We had a guy who’s one of the better kickers I’ve been around at this level with a chance and he just missed it.

“It’s a game and it’s a hard thing but I’d put him out there again.”

Blake Levin had three chances to make the 28-yard game-winner. He missed the first and the second one was partially blocked but Valley called timeout prior to those two attempts. His third try was wide left.

Levin missed a PAT kick after Chad Woolsey ran 19 yards for his second TD with 3:59 to play in the third quarter, giving the Vaqueros a 27-21 lead. Levin actually made the first PAT but Valley was called for an illegal substitution and SBCC couldn’t decline the penalty, forcing another PAT attempt.

SBCC tried a punt from its own 26 with 6:30 to go in the game but Valley blocked the kick and Josh Stanton recovered at the SBCC 22.

Six plays later on fourth-and-goal from the 1, Anthony Wyche was tackled near the 1 but reached over the goal line for the go-ahead score. Ryan Boyd’s fourth PAT kick made it 28-27.

The Monarchs (5-1, 3-0) got off to a quick start as Tristan Freeman intercepted a short pass by quarterback Brandon Edwards on the third play of the game and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown. SBCC responded with a 12-play, 74-yard drive capped by Woolsey’s 7-yard run around the left side that tied the game at 7.

The Vaqueros (3-3, 2-1) covered 74 yards on their first possession of the second quarter and took a 14-7 lead on a trick play. Edwards threw a lateral to receiver Osha Washington and he fired a 42-yard TD pass to a wide-open Calvin Crockett.

Santa Barbara pinned the Monarchs back at their own 12 and then forced a punt, resulting in good field position at the Valley 48. On fourth-and-2 from the 40, Marvin Millett broke through a big hole on the left side and ran 40 yards for a TD that made it 21-7.

The Vaqueros drove to the Monarchs’ 18 with just over two minutes to go in the first half. Edwards fumbled on third down on a hit by Stanton and Tristin Freeman recovered for LAVC at his 17-yard line. The Monarchs moved down the field, aided by a 15-yard Vaquero penalty and a 35-yard run by La’Dontez Bryant.

Two plays later, quarterback Patrick Tyler found Bryant on a screen pass and he sprinted 24 yards to cut the deficit to 21-14 at the half.

Edwards completed 17-of-30 passes for 183 yards and one interception. Millett rushed 11 times for 68 yards and a score while Woolsey had 60 rushing yards and two TDs. Crockett caught five passes for 86 yards and Washington grabbed five for 27 yards.

L.A. Valley dominated the third quarter, taking the second-half kickoff and marching 65 yards in 20 plays. They converted three fourth-down chances, including a fourth-and-1 for the TD. The drive lasted nearly 10 minutes and culminated in a 1-yard plunge by Wyche that tied the game at 21-21. Valley outgained the Vaqueros 100-17 in the third quarter and had the ball for 14:05 of the 15-minute stanza.

The Vaqueros had more first downs (18-13) and more total yards (364-276) for the game.

“That first drive of the second half was tough,” said Moropoulos. “They just kept making first downs and kept converting third downs. We have to do a better job on third- and fourth-down conversions.

“Our guys could have folded it up with three minutes to go but we went right down the field. That was a great catch by Jacob Ortale (in triple coverage on a third-and-18 play that went for 36 yards to the Valley 18).

“But it’s still a loss and it doesn’t feel good.”

Daniel Collins, a freshman linebacker from Westlake High, led the defense with a season-high 13 tackles, including four solo. Thomas Hopp added 10 tackles.

SBCC travels to Woodland Hills to take on L.A. Pierce on Saturday at 6 p.m.