Defense dominates Vaqueros

The Vaqueros were unable to corral the Brahmas on Saturday night as football defeated Santa Barbara City College in their first conference matchup of the season.

The Brahmas’ defense stood out in the win with eight sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one interception and only allowing a late score on a short field.

Marqi Morgan led the way with four sacks while Mylic McCurdy had two. David Williams also made a big impact on defense with a forced fumble that he recovered and an interception.

Head Coach Carlos Woods said he was very happy with the way his defense played.

“We knew were capable of doing something great,” Woods said. “We just had to play well  for four quarters.”

The Brahmas kicked off to open the game and they forced a fumble on Santa Barbara’s first possession. The fumble was forced and recovered by Dante Witcher Jr.

A field goal from kicker Erik Castro gave the Brahmas a 3-0 lead.

On their next possession, Pierce lined up to kick a field goal on fourth-and-six, but ended up running a trick play. They faked the field goal and Corey Horvath threw a 24-yard touchdown to Marcus Johnson, giving the Brahmas a 10-0 lead.

The second quarter was an offensive struggle for both teams, and the Brahmas took a 10-0 lead into halftime.

The third quarter started out with both offenses struggling. Williams forced a fumble and recovered it to give the Brahmas the ball, only to see the offense give it back with a fumble.

The defense stopped the Vaqueros once again and the offense rewarded them.

Quarterback Jonathan Saavedra found wide reciever Christian Graves for a 55-yard completion to put the Brahmas in the red zone.

“It was kind of a broken play,” Saavedra said. “I was rolling out of the pocket and saw him one-on-one. We have that chemistry where I’ll take him one-on-one any day.”

The Brahmas finished the drive with a five-yard touchdown run by David Kates to give the team a 16-0 lead.

“We were running hurry up, I saw that the line wasn’t ready,” Kates said. “They were all bunched up  together so as soon as they snapped it I needed to get to the outside because they weren’t set.”

Kates finished the game as the Brahmas leading rusher with nine carries for 42 yards and one touchdown.

The Brahmas defense then stepped up again as Williams intercepted a pass from Santa Barbara quarterback Franco De Luca.

With the momentum on their side, the Brahmas offense drove down the field again. Saavedra found wide receiver Giomanni Perez for a 41-yard completion.

“I know his skill set,” Saavedra said. “He’s going vertical, he has speed. I saw the safety flat-footed so i just tried to give him a chance. Unfortunately it wasn’t a touchdown but it was those two big plays that sparked the offense.”

Saavedra finished the game with 12 completions for 166 yards. Graves had 4 catches for 95 yards and Perez had 5 catches for 69 yards.

Three plays later, running back Doma Morris finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to put the Brahmas up by 23.

The Brahmas did not score in the 4th quarter, and a Brahmas fumble gave the Vaqueros excellent field position.

Vaqueros’ running back Clifton Taylor had a 5 yard touchdown run to make the score 23-7 with 3:31 left in the game.

The Vaqueros recovered an onside kick but they were unable to do anything on offense.

The game ended 23-7 as Pierce picked up their first conference win of the season.

After the game, Woods said they need to improve as they prepare to play more conference games.

“We are grateful for the win, but we still have a lot to work on,” Woods said. “The conference games are going to be that much more competitive. So you gotta lift your level of expectation to the competition and they did a good job tonight.”

The Brahmas are now 3-3 on the season and 1-0 in conference play. They will be back on the field next Saturday, Oct. 20 as they host Pasadena City College (2-4, 0-1). Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.