The 2011 Raider football team (3-1, 6-3) got the signature win it has been looking for in its West Conference title, and 19th bowl, hunt. Moorpark traveled to first place #10 Citrus College (3-1, 6-3) for a Saturday afternoon showdown. After a first quarter TD by the host Owls, Moorpark dominated with four 2nd quarter TDs, all passes from QB Nick Owens (Westlake HS), three to WR Donnel Robinson (Taft HS).
The domination was limited to the second period, though, as Citrus clawed its way back into the game with two 3rd quarter TDs. The game was not secured until Lucas Mandic (Moorpark HS) intercepted a pass with 51 seconds remaining.
In this war of attrition, both sides suffered several injuries. The Raiders, though, were better able to fill in for those injured. In the second quarter, the Raiders got on the board with a 1-yard TD pass to DeAndre Hutchins (Rio Mesa HS) from Owens. The PAT was blocked. But, MC quickly made up for that as Steven Cristobal (Rio MEsa HS) forced a fumble on the kickoff. This led to another Raider TD only 16 seconds later with an Owens to Robinson 22 yard pass.
The same Owens to Robinson combination accounted for two more second quarter TDs. A four-yarder with 8:29 to go in the hald was followwed up by a 22 yarders with 3:42 remaining. Even though, it looked rather easy for the Raider offense at that point, the remainder of the game was put in the hands of the defense. That defense responded. Connor Benado (Rio Mesa HS) had 11 tackles, 6 of them solo. Marquis Mouton (Taft HS) had 4 pass breakups and 6 tackles. Cristobal registered 7 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery and one interception. Mandic’s interception sealed the victory.
Offensively, Owens was 27 of 44 for 279 yards and 4 TDs. Robinson’s 3 TDS came from 9 receptions for 97 yards. He also racked up 68 punt return yards and 38 kickoff return yards. Hutchins had 10 catches for 126 yards and a TD. Two running backs accounted for most of the MC ground game. William Franklin (Oxnard HS) had 49 yards on 16 carries, and Langston Jackson (Simi Valley HS) also had 49 yards on 13 carries.
Special teams were critical in the victory. Punter David Sandler had 7 punts for 272 yards, including a 62 yarder and one inside the 20. He registered 2 touchbacks. Sandler’s biggest play of the game, though, came from both legs instead opf just his right leg. He scampered for 29 yards and a first down on a fake punt that led to a critical Raider score.
Moorpark will host LA Harbor on Saturday, November 12th in the regular season finale at 6pm.