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No. 23 Citrus tops Vaqueros in defensive battle

Jacob Shultz (28), a 6-5, 225-pound lineman from Eugene, Ore., led the Vaquero defense with 11 tackles, including three for loss. (File photo by PJ Heller/Sevilla Photography)
Jacob Shultz (28), a 6-5, 225-pound lineman from Eugene, Ore., led the Vaquero defense with 11 tackles, including three for loss. (File photo by PJ Heller/Sevilla Photography)

SBCC's defense came up big on Saturday while the offense struggled to find a rhythm in a 12-3 football loss to No. 23 Citrus on an overcast, drizzly day in Glendora.

The Vaqueros (1-3) have dropped three straight to top-25 opponents on the road. Citrus (4-0) was held 22 points under its average of 34.7 per game.

The Vaqueros trailed by three points (6-3) for most of the last three quarters until Citrus put together a long drive in the fourth quarter. The Owls started on their own 9 and covered 75 yards in a run-dominated drive that lasted 7½ minutes.

On fourth-and-5 from the 16, Austin Zavala tossed a high pass that Jeremy Lineberger caught in the end zone. A bad snap on the PAT try left the Owls up by nine, 12-3, with 1:44 to play.

The Vaqueros got to the Citrus 29 on a 16-yard pass from Bradley Kleven to Jaylon Smith but it was wiped out by a personal foul that moved the ball back to the SBCC 40. The Vaqueros turned it over on downs after an incompletion and a short pass to Deyland Cardwell with 57 seconds left.

The Owls outgained the Vaqueros 298-194 and enjoyed a 21-12 advantage in first downs.

SBCC's defense was stout, led by lineman Jacob Shultz who had 11 tackles (10 solo) and three tackles for loss. Defensive back Eric Lopez, a freshman from Dos Pueblos High, had nine tackles and a forced fumble. The Vaqueros recorded five QB sacks and 14 tackles for loss.

Cory Butler intercepted a Citrus pass at his own goal line and returned it 29 yards on the last play of the third quarter.

The Owls received the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in 10 plays, scoring the game's only touchdown on a 6-yard pass from Zavala to Sal Tover. Citrus had a third-and-23 on its own 22 before Justyn Alexander broke free for runs of 30 and 24 yards, moving it to the Vaquero 24-yard line. A bad snap foiled the PAT kick, leaving the home team with a 6-0 lead.

Alexander and Walter Carl both ran for 99 yards.

The Vaqueros drove to the Citrus 20 on their first drive, capped by a 16-yard Kleven to Smith pass connection. Eden Smith forced a fumble and Marquise Ogletree recovered for the Owls at their own 21.

Smith caught six passes for 73 yards.

The Vaqueros got on the board on the third play of the second quarter when Lucas Eilbacher booted a 30-yard field goal to cut the deficit in half, 6-3. The drive began on the Citrus 34 following a 24-yard punt by Citrus. Scotty Forbes threw a 20-yard pass to Smith, giving the Vaqueros first-and-goal at the 8. Two incompletes and a minus 1-yard pass led to fourth down and the field-goal try.

The Vaqueros drove 37 yards at the outset of the fourth period before a Forbes' pass was intercepted by Chima Mbaruguru at the Citrus 10.

SBCC will play the next two at home, starting with the final non-conference game against Antelope Valley on Saturday at 6 p.m.