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Costly mistakes sink Vaqueros in 35-10 loss to LA Harbor

File photo by PJ Heller/Sevilla Photography
File photo by PJ Heller/Sevilla Photography

LA Harbor capitalized on five SBCC turnovers as the Seahawks topped the Vaqueros 35-10 in a pivotal SCFA American Pacific contest Saturday in Wilmington, California.

SBCC falls to 2-5 on the season, 1-1 in league play.

LA Harbor (3-4, 2-0) got on the board first, cashing in on a Vaquero turnover in what would be a game-long trend. After Ryan Casias and Jacob Shultz stuffed a LA Harbor quarterback sneak on 4th and inches, the Vaqueros took over on downs and looked to gain early momentum.

The Vaqueros converted their first third down of the game when Cyrus Wallace took a short pass and made some nice moves to convert a 3rd and 9 after it looked like he was going to be stopped after three yards. However, on the next play, the Vaqueros fumbled a handoff exchange and Harbor recovered the fumble on SBCC's 27-yard line.

After a Harbor conversion, the Seahawks were set up with 1st and goal from the nine-yard line and scored two plays later when Anthony Maxwell reached the end zone on a six-yard run. The point after put LA Harbor up 7-0 with 7:26 left in the first quarter.

SBCC couldn't do much with their ensuing possession and the momentum looked to be swinging in LA Harbor's favor after a 22-yard pass completion on first down. However, the Vaqueros defense stood strong and forced a punt when Matt Molina recorded his first of two first-half sacks on 3rd and 6.

The Vaqueros next drive started strong when sophomore quarterback Bradley Kleven connected with Wallace for 15-yard game. A roughing the passer penalty tacked on 15 more yards as SBCC looked to be on the move for the first time.

However, the Vaqueros drive stalled and a 14-yard SBCC punt gave LA Harbor the ball back on their own 24. At that point, SBCC's defense nearly came up with a huge play. On 3rd and 16, Molina and Shultz combined for a sack and forced fumble deep in LA Harbor's territory. The Seahawks recovered on their own five.

After both offenses stalled, a punt by SBCC freshman Ray Shay pinned LA Harbor on their own 10-yard line. For the first time in the half, LA Harbor sustained a long drive, ultimately cashing in on a three-yard touchdown run. A key play on that drive came when SBCC was called for a late hit on a 3rd down that would have forced a punt.

With new life after the penalty, LA Harbor connected for a 31-yard pass to advance to SBCC's 35. Another third down penalty by SBCC gave the Seahawks another first down and five plays later, Brian Williams scored his first touchdown on the season for LA Harbor.

The Vaqueros answered on what would be their final drive of the half.

Jaylon Smith took the ensuing kickoff eight yards deep in his own end zone and brought it out to the 18-yard line. A horse collar penalty added 15 yards to the play to set SBCC up on the 33-yard line.

On the first play of the series, Scotty Forbes connected with running back Will Bayonne and for the second straight week, Bayonne broke free for a huge gain. Bayonne was caught at the LA Harbor 11-yard line after scampering 55 yards. However, a sack and two incomplete passes forced a 36-yard field goal attempt by Jesse Mollkoy. The freshman from Dos Pueblos High School converted the attempt to cap the scoring as LA Harbor took a 14-3 lead into the half.

Bayonne was SBCC's leading receiver in the first half on the strength of his 55-yard catch and run. Wallace caught three passes for 30 yards in the first half. LA Harbor outgained SBCC 131-125 in total yards in the first half.

Both teams traded punts on each of their first two possessions and after SBCC took over on their own 28 midway through the third quarter, a series of miscues tilted the game strongly in favor of the Seahawks.

After a Wallace reception gave SBCC a first down, Dayshawn Littleton stepped in front of a Kleven pass for an interception that he returned 54 yards for a touchdown.

SBCC looked like it caught a break after Jaylon Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 41 yards and when 20 penalty yards were added to the end of the play, the Vaqueros had the ball at the LA Harbor 28. However, the Seahawks intercepted Forbes on the first play to bail out the Seahawks.

The Vaqueros forced a three-and-out, but the punt grazed returner Jaylon Smith, resulting in a fumble that was recovered by LA Harbor deep in SBCC's side.

The Seahawks converted the turnover into a touchdown shortly after when third-string quarterback Matthew Origel, seeing his first action of the year, connected with Lamont Hurt, Jr. on a 35-yard touchdown to extend their lead to 28-3.

SBCC's offense finally got on the board early in the fourth quarter when Forbes rolled right and connected with Sammy Ortiz on a 33-yard touchdown pass. It was Ortiz's second catch of the season with both going for touchdowns and Forbes' first touchdown pass as a Vaquero.

Any momentum that SBCC gained from that was lost soon after. Nazir Hopson recorded a third-down sack to force a punt, but once again the punt was fumbled and recovered by LA Harbor on the Santa Barbara three-yard line. It was the third special teams turnover on the game.

Harbor scored two plays later to extend their lead to 35-10 to cap the scoring.

Kleven started the game under center for SBCC and went 9-19 for 67 yards and one interception. Forbes finished 8-15 with a career high 119 yards passing. He threw one touchdown and one interception.

Although the score was lopsided, team yardage for the game was relatively close as LA Harbor outgained SBCC 274-224. Bayonne was SBCC's top offensive performer for the game. The sophomore running back rushed 12 times for 44 yards and caught three passes for 71 yards. 

SBCC's run defense was strong as the Seahawks ran the ball 48 times but only gained 124 yards for a 2.6 average.

The Vaqueros will be back in action next Saturday in their final home game of the season when they take on Allan Hancock College. Game time is set for a 1pm kickoff.