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Moorpark rushes past Vaqueros in Beach Bowl, 49-12

Cedric Cooper ran for 90 yards with a 41-yard TD to earn Player of the Game honors for the Vaqueros. (Photos by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)
Cedric Cooper ran for 90 yards with a 41-yard TD to earn Player of the Game honors for the Vaqueros. (Photos by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)

Isaiah Johnson ran for 208 yards and four touchdowns on Saturday, leading No. 23 Moorpark to a 49-12 football win over No. 29 SBCC in the Beach Bowl at La Playa Stadium.

Johnson, a 6-foot sophomore from Clarksville, Tenn., was named Most Valuable Player. He carried 21 times for a 9.9-yard average and scored on runs of 19, 1, 3 and 5 yards. Quarterback Kado Brown also averaged 9.9 with 119 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns.

The Raiders (6-5), who finished second in the National Northern League, racked up 449 rushing yards on 54 tries (8.3 average) with six touchdowns. In the last two games, Moorpark has rushed for 959 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The Raiders needed just three plays to cover 71 yards on their opening drive, capped by a 19-yard scoring run from Johnson. They went 45 yards on their next possession with Johnson scoring from a yard out to make it 14-0 just 4½ minutes into the contest.

It was the first home bowl game for the Vaqueros (7-4) in 33 years and their first meeting with Moorpark in five seasons.

"Their quarterback is a heck of a player and so is that running back," said Vaquero coach Craig Moropoulos. "It is what it is. We didn't play very well and we needed to."

SBCC was missing starting quarterback Noah Holle and top receiver Jason-Matthew Sharsh, who were sidelined by injuries.

"Joe Osegueda and Tim Milliken did the best they could and I admire them for that," said Moropoulos. "They're the No. 3 and 4 quarterbacks. You hope you don't get to that point but when you do, you hope they step up and that's what they did."

Michael Hightower stripped the ball from Milliken at the SBCC 46, scooped it up and returned it to the 18. Three plays later, Brown ran it in from 13 yards to boost the lead to 21-0 with 1:02 to go in the second quarter.

The Vaqueros nearly had two 100-yard rushers. Emmanuel Nwosu ran 14 times for 108 yards (7.7 average) and broke off a 71-yarder in the fourth quarter. Cedric Cooper was voted Santa Barbara's Player of the Game after running for 90 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown on the fourth play of the second quarter. A mishandled snap foiled the PAT try and the Vaqueros trailed 21-6.

Rhomel Fields picked off a pass from Corbin Covey on a wide receiver reverse and the Vaqueros took over on their own 10 with four minutes left in the second quarter. Joseph Osegueda completed a 43-yard pass to Jonathan Licea during the six-play, 90-yard march. Tight end Jacob Ortale scored the 29-yard TD on a screen to the left.

The Vaqueros went for two and Milliken tossed it to Cooper but he was stopped at the 2. The Vaqueros trailed 21-12 at the half.

Osegueda completed 8-of-15 passes for 149 yards with one TD and one interception.

Moorpark, which had a noticeable size advantage in both lines, led in first downs, 25-16, and total yards, 595 to 349.

"You have to play really well when you're missing key pieces like we were," Moropoulos noted. "We just didn't play well. When we turned the ball over, they scored."

The Raiders went 38 yards in four plays on their first possession of the third quarter. Brown juked left and right on his 27-yard TD run up the middle that made it 28-12. The Vaqueros drove  81 yards on their next possession but stalled on the 14. Jordan Flack and Sam Denka sacked Osegueda for a 9-yard loss on fourth-and-13.

Johnson sprinted 46 yards on second down and five plays later, he scored from 3 yards for a 35-12 lead with 2:29 to go in the third quarter.

Jonathan Licea caught five passes for 89 yards, including a 43-yarder for the Vaqueros. Dallas Martin had 12 tackles with 2½ for loss and a quarterback hurry.

"We've won seven games in three of the last four years and been to bowl games in two of the last three seasons," said Moropoulos. "I'm very proud of our program and where it's headed."