VENTURA, Calif. – Two touchdowns in the first 90 seconds of the game sparked host Ventura College to a quick 14-0 lead, which extended to 21-3 before even half of the first quarter was over, as the host Pirates beat visiting College of the Canyons, 45-30, in a National Division Northern Conference matchup on Thursday night.
The win propels Ventura to a 4-2 overall record and a 1-0 conference mark while Canyons, which is ranked 11th in the most recent CCCSIA and Junior College Athletic Bureau statewide polls, is 4-2 and 0-1. Ventura is ranked 13th by the JCAB and receiving votes by the CCCSIA.
The Pirates wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard with quarterback Jake Constantine hitting Thomas Duckett for a 76-yard TD pass on the game's third play. A nice kick return by Brandon Pierce set Canyons up at the 50-yad line but defensive lineman Jarryl Taylor forced a fumble on Canyons' first play from scrimmage, which the Pirates recovered.
Duckett carried the ball 37 yards to the 13 on the ensuing play and Gil Scott Jackson carried it in from there to help make it 14-0 with just 1:14 gone in the opening quarter. Louis Eusebi's 28-yard field goal got the Cougars on the board two minutes later.
Trailing 21-3, Canyons answered Ventura in the second quarter, thanks to an 85-yard interception return by KJ Latu and a 4-yard TD run by Keland White, making it 21-17 midway through the second quarter.
Sam Flowers' 41-yard touchdown reception and Cooper Garcia's 19-yard field goal reopened the Pirates' lead to 31-17 by the early fourth quarter. However, the Cougars were able to make it a one-possession game twice in the fourth quarter but could not get any closer.
Constantine completed 24 of 32 passes for 382 yards and four touchdowns while Kendric Mallory caught eight passes for 111 yards and a score. Four different receivers caught TD passes for Ventura. White rushed for 134 yards to lead Canyons, averaging 6.7 yards a carry, while Desean Holmes caught three passes for 95 yards.
Defensive back Alvin Pacheco had eight tackles, five of them solo, and recovered a fumble for the Pirates' defense. He also broke up two passes. Chris Fanqaa had nine tackles and Bobby Brown added eight for Canyons.
The game was one of two Southern California Football Association matchups on Thursday night. In the other matchup, No. 13/16 El Camino, like Ventura, used a pair of touchdowns in the game's opening minutes en route to a 20-0 lead after one quarter and a 35-0 advantage at halftime, as the Warriors (4-2) downs L.A. Harbor (2-4) 48-20.
(Mike Robles, CCCAA)