Santa Barbara City College got off to a rousing start and a wrenching finish in its football season opener.
Trying to defeat Hancock College of Santa Maria for the first time since 1992, the Vaqueros had three passes fall incomplete in the end zone in the final seconds Saturday night at La Playa Stadium. Hancock came away with a 14-10 victory.
SBCC took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter on a 25-yard field goal by Jeremy Ybarra and a 72-yard punt return by Ravonte Wilkerson.
It was 10-7 at halftime after Hancock scored on a short pass reception by Chris Van Pelt, and the Bulldogs went ahead early in the third quarter on a 25-yard touchdown run by quarterback Eric Anderkavich.
The Bulldogs twice drove deep into SBCC territory in the fourth quarter, but the Vaqueros’ defense turned them back.
With 1:20 remaining in the game, a short punt gave SBCC the ball at Hancock’s 40-yard line. On fourth-and-4, Conner Rehage passed to Jed Elsbury for a first down at the 28, and then Rehage hit Austen Lott for 21 yards and a first-and-goal at the seven.
Rehage spiked the ball to stop the clock with 15 seconds remaining. Then the sophomore quarterback took three shots at a game-winning touchdown. His first pass went off Lott’s hands in the end zone, his second was overthrown in the corner of the end zone, and on fourth down Rehage fired a spiral that was too high for Sean Hutchinson.