SANTA MARIA, Calif. – Playing in its first game in nearly two years on Saturday afternoon, the SBCC football team erased a 14-point halftime deficit before falling at Allan Hancock in overtime, 17-14.
The Vaqueros outgained the Bulldogs en route to their highest offensive yardage in a season-opener (268) in five years, but it was Allan Hancock's Colton Theaker who would put away the game-winning field goal from 37 yards out in overtime.
Former San Marcos High School quarterback Ben Partee completed 16-of-28 passes for 188 yards and two scores in his Vaquero debut, but also turned the ball over three times with a pair of picks and a lost fumble. SBCC lost four fumbles as a team, compared to three for Allan Hancock.
Santa Barbara's first solid scoring chance came within five minutes of the opening kickoff, when linebacker Tyler Haughney forced a fumble that was scooped up by defensive back Anthony Myles. It was the first of two recoveries on the day for Myles, who also led the Vaqueros with seven tackles.
After starting the drive at the Allan Hancock 38-yard line, Partee would convert a 3rd and 6 with a 12-yard completion to Cyrus Wallace. The sophomore wide receiver led the way with six grabs for 83 yards (13.8 Y/rec). However, SBCC's drive would stall at the Bulldogs' 20 with the Vaqueros going incomplete on a 4th-and-3.
Allan Hancock would open the scoring early in the second quarter, as Christian Erick broke out for a 25-yard scamper to make it 7-0. The Bulldogs also scored on their next drive on a 32-yard touchdown run from Maurice Smith.
Coming out of the halftime break in a hole, the Vaqueros didn't take long to cut into the lead. Following five straight handoffs to open the third, Partee found wide receiver Keyon Grayer for a 59-yard completion. After fumbling the ball at the one, Grayer recovered in the end zone for SBCC's first points of the year.
Neither team would score again until the opening minutes of the fourth, when Partee found wideout David Rowe on a six-yard, fourth down toss to tie things up with 13:26 remaining. It was the Vaqueros' only fourth down conversion on two tries.
Penalties on the Bulldogs' next drive led to a three-and-out, and SBCC took over at its own 45-yard line in solid position to take the lead. Another third down conversion from Partee to Wallace went for 11 yards down to the Bulldogs' 40. Partee then rushed for nine yards on the following play, taking a hit out-of-bounds which moved the ball all the way to the Hancock 16-yard line.
Unfortunately for the Vaqueros, a red zone fumble ended their drive on the next play, and neither team scored again until Theaker's game-winning overtime kick.
Runningback Jerry Martin led the Vaqueros with 36 yards on 13 attempts, but the SBCC rushing attack was held to just 2.2 yards per rush.
The Vaqueros finished an efficient 7-for-15 (.466) on third down. They dominated in team passing yardage with a 188-to-68 advantage, but were outrun 170-to-80.
This was SBCC's first overtime game in nearly four years, since a 40-37 shootout against LA Pierce on Nov. 4, 2017. The Vaqueros break in their new field next Friday, Sept. 11 for their home season opener against West LA at 1:00 p.m.