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Moorpark Raiders run over by Stevenson and the Cerritos Falcons

Moorpark+College+Football+players+huddle+around+coach+Mike+Stuart+after+a+called+timeout+by+Moorpark+Photo+credit%3A+Conrad+De+Santiago
Moorpark College Football players huddle around coach Mike Stuart after a called timeout by Moorpark Photo credit: Conrad De Santiago

Moorpark College Football players huddle around coach Mike Stuart after a called timeout by Moorpark Photo credit: Conrad De Santiago

Moorpark College Football players huddle around coach Mike Stuart after a called timeout by Moorpark Photo credit: Conrad De Santiago

By Robert Gonzales

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Moorpark Raiders’ season started off rocky after a 0-2 start. The first drive looked optimistic for the Raiders, holding the Cerritos Falcons to a three and out, but by the next defensive drive the Raiders found themselves dug into a hole they would never get out of.

Rhamondre Stevenson, Falcons running back, put his stamp on the game early. On Stevenson’s second rush attempt, Rhamondre busted a 78-yard scramble behind the impressive O-line blocking of the Falcons and outran the entire Raiders defense to the end zone. Stevenson was just getting started.

The Raiders answered back with a touchdown drive of their own. Using a healthy mix of rushing by both Raiders’ running back, Jeremiah Cration and Brandon Archibald, and several short, yet efficient passes by quarterback, Bryce Viole, they performed a quick three-yard burst by Brandon Archibald on a delay run punctured through the defense for a touchdown. The game was tied 7-7.

Momentum started to shift when Raiders’ running back, Tawan Funches, fumbled the football on his first rush attempt of the game. The fumble was recovered by Falcons’ defensive end, Jordan Thomas, on the Moorpark 16-yard line. Two careless Falcons unsportsman-like conduct penalties committed after the play helped bail out the Moorpark defense. Instead of a first and 10 at the 13-yard line, the Falcons faced a first and 40 at the Moorpark 43.

Unfortunately for the Raiders, that didn’t bother Stevenson one bit. Stevenson displayed timely cuts and vision to break three-arm tackles. Using an aggressive hand swim move to push off attempting defenders, Stevenson capped off the 43-yard sprint with another Falcons TD, putting the Falcons up 14-7.

Moorpark Raiders defense almost came up big on a nearly blocked punt by Dru Mathis, Moorpark linebacker. The disruption forced Leonard Arzt’s punt to awkwardly sail for a short distance of 16 yards.

Unfortunately, Moorpark was not able to take advantage of the defensive stand. After a first down completed by competing freshman quarterback, Ethan Postler, his next pass attempt was intercepted by Jordan Thomas, defensive end, and returned for another 33 yards to the Moorpark nine-yard line.

Penalties would once again plague the Cerritos Falcons. An illegal block in the back and an unsportsman-like conduct penalty backed the Falcons up to their own 48-yard line.

Runningback Carl Odom of the Falcons, gained back many of the penalty yards lost by bulldozing over another poor tackle and moving the chains. Next play Jovon Tucker, Falcons’ wide receiver, made a beautiful adjustment on the ball turning over his back left shoulder and diving for the touchdown catch with a defender nipping at his heels.

With the game at 21-7, the 32-yard touchdown strike sent the Moorpark Raiders’ defensive coaches back to the white board, scheming on how to slow down the potent Falcons offense.

The coach’s defensive rally got through to one Ivory Jackson, defensive end, as he collided hard in the backfield with the Falcons running back, and forced a fumble that was recovered by Dillon Chong, linebacker, at the Cerritos 12-yard line. Although the defense gave the offense a great opportunity to close the gap on the score, two incomplete passes and a negative rush of two yards by quarterback Viole forced the Raiders to settle for a field goal.

Cerritos started driving down the field once again and with 44.9 seconds left on the clock they were knocking on the door of a fourth touchdown. This was Cerritos’ first time in the red zone, all previous touchdowns were scored on long plays, and the Raiders defense held up fairly well. Three incomplete passes forced the field goal unit out with 17 seconds to go in the second quarter. The Moorpark Raiders went into the half down 24-10.

The start of the second half continued more of the same offensive woes for the Raiders, when Stephen Gomez’s punt was blocked by Etieni Valele and recovered by Theoren Landeros, defensive back, of the Falcons on the Moorpark two-yard line. Stevenson easily pounded the ball through for the two-yard score on the next play.

The game would remain stalemated at the same score, as the Falcons focused on running the clock out and leaving with a victory of 31-10.

Although the game plan did not unfold in his favor, head coach, Mike Stuart, remains optimistic for the upcoming game against Glendale. Coach Stuart admits his team needs some sharpening up to do personnel-wise. Substitutions, getting the right guys on the field, and he is still figuring out which freshman quarterback is going to lead his team.

“Offensively, we have two young quarterbacks that are like competing for the job still,” Stuart admitted. “I really don’t know who the guy is, as you can see we were rotating guys; we don’t know who had better rhythm at it.”

Coach Stuart believes that his team needs a faster start this week. That it all goes back to practice.

“It just starts on Monday, you know, we can’t just have one good practice like we did last week, it’s got to be four,” said Stuart. “Usually they only go full pads for two days but I actually made them go full pads Thursday just ’cause it was a bad week, and that was our best practice but at that point, it’s like it’s too late, you gotta have one, two, three, good practices, from the get-go.”

The belief is that a faster start on the week will lead to more momentum going into the game. During the last two games the Raiders dug themselves into holes that they tried to rebound out of, but have difficulty doing it against this level of competition. The Raiders look to build some confidence off of an away win next week and bring their record up to 1-2 before coming home for game four.

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