SBCC quarterback Alex Johnson dove inside the pylon with just over one minute remaining in the fourth quarter to put the finishing touches on a landmark victory.
The Vaqueros claimed at least a share of the American-Pacific Conference title following a 28-18 victory over Moorpark, on Saturday afternoon at La Playa Stadium.
“We still have to win next week, but it’s special. It has taken a lot of hard work and we have great young men playing for us and I have a great staff. They are loyal, committed and dedicated. They are Vaqs and they just believe,” said SBCC coach Craig Moropoulos. “It starts to rub off on the players and I am just proud of the whole thing.”
A second quarter surge helped SBCC control the game. Alex Johnson connected with Chase Wells on a six-yard touchdown pass to put the Vaqueros ahead 7-0 with 14:30 remaining in the second quarter.
“We throw every day out here. No one is out here, just us. Every time I bug him to throw he comes out and comes through,” said Johnson of his chemistry with Wells. “He ‘s been consistent with that and we’ve built a great connection.”
SBCC added to its lead on an eleven-yard touchdown run by Mekhi Norfleet with 7:59 remaining in the second quarter and took a 14-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
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Moorpark responded with two third quarter touchdowns, including a 20-yard touchdown run by Gabe Landless that cut the Raiders deficit to 14-12 with 17 seconds remaining in the third quarter after a failed two-point conversion. Moorpark also missed two crucial extra points in the contest.
Not to be deterred, SBCC responded with a four-play 54-yard drive capped off by a 12-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Elian Sundquist, which extended the lead to 21-12.
A Johnson fumble midway through the fourth quarter setup Moorparks final touchdown as Macloud Crowton connected with River Stout on a 37-yard pass down to the one-yard line and Cameron Davis powered into the end zone on the next play to bring Moorpark with 21-18 after another failed extra point.
With the entire season on the line Santa Barbara mounted a nine-play, 72-yard drive that was punctuated by Johnson’s 18-yard touchdown run with 1:22 remaining that put SBCC ahead 28-18.
“The way he came back and the way he ran that ball there was no denying him. He was going to get into that endzone,” said Moropoulos of Johnson.
Moorpark attempted a last-gasp field goal to cut its deficit to one possession with about 40 seconds left, but it was wide right and the SBCC sideline exploded in celebration.