Cutbirth, Defense Lead Citrus

Larry Cutbirth passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, and Kenyatta Johnson led a Citrus defense that didn't allow the Moorpark offense a touchdown as the Owls won their second straight game to start the season, 30-10, Saturday afternoon over the visiting Raiders.

The 6-5 Cutbirth, doing his best Colin Kaepernick impersonation, completed 17 of 25 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns, and also scored on an 8-yard run to help Citrus build an early 20-0 lead. Johnson registered three of the Owl defense's six quarterback sacks, setting the tone in the first series with two sacks of Moorpark starter Zach LaBar.

Citrus (2-0) also took advantage of mistakes by Moorpark (1-1), scoring two touchdowns after turnovers, two more after long returns on special teams and a field goal in the fourth quarter after a 7-yard punt. And Moorpark's only touchdown came on a spectacular play by cornerback Derrick Reynolds, who stripped the ball away from Citrus receiver Joseph Lara and returned it 14 yards for a score late in the second quarter.

But Citrus, thanks to the arm and legs of Cutbirth, was never threatened after the early going. The Owl defense forced a Moorpark punt, which Justin Martin returned 34 yards to the Raider 38. Five plays later Cutbirth threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Charles Johnson to give Citrus a 7-0 lead just 5:22 into the game.

Citrus scored again in the first quarter on an 8-yard run by Cutbirth, which came 7 plays after a turnover. Darius Andres sacked LaBar and knocked the ball loose, and it was recovered by Maurice Dupleasis. And the Owls scored midway through the second quarter following another turnover when Cutbirth threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Holmes three plays after Jesus Vargas caused and recovered a fumble by Moorpark quarterback Max Leffler near midfield.

Moorpark finally got on the board on Reynolds' strip-and-return play with 3:12 left in the first half. But Raphael Barr returned the ensuing kickoff 49 yards to the Moorpark 33, and two plays later Emmanuel Pooler scored on a 33-yard run to push the Owl lead back to 20 points at 27-7, which is where it stood at the half.

Each team scored just three points during a second half that was dominated by the defenses. Moorpark got a 36-yard field goal from Chris Taylor with 4:26 left in the third quarter. Citrus tried to answer with a 30-yard field goal try early in the fourth quarter, but Reynolds got a hand on Jaime Toscano's kick, deflecting it wide to the left. The Owl defense, however, forced another punt, and Kevin McLemore's rugby-style kick hit a teammate in the back and ended up being recovered at the Raider 29 after traveling just 7 yards. That led to a 33-yard field goal on which Toscano's kick banged off the right post and just over the crossbar with 9:33 left, closing out the scoring.

Cutbirth had a very strong game at quarterback, but he had plenty of support as well. Pooler led all rushers with 76 yards rushing on 8 carries. Holmes had 3 catches for 75 yards, while Scott Calles and Demetre Smith each caught 4 passes. And the defense all but pitched a shutout, allowing just the third-quarter field goal, while registering 6 sacks and forcing 3 turnovers. And return men Barr and Martin were also key; Martin returned 3 punts for 67 yards while Barr returned 2 kickoffs for 79 yards, with each of them setting up an Owl touchdown.

For Moorpark, Nick Davis came off the bench and completed 8 of 22 passes for 101 yards to lead the passers. He was held out of the first half due to a sore knee, but entered the game at halftime. Nathaniel "Tex" Gillard led Moorpark rushers with 50 yards on 10 carries, and Raymond Bolden led all receivers with 5 catches, good for 67 yards. But the true standout for the Raiders was Reynolds, who scored Moorpark's only touchdown and also prevented a Citrus field goal.

Next week, Citrus hosts Grossmont, with game time set for 1 pm, and will be there. Moorpark travels to Santa Ana to take on the Dons at 1 pm.

Citrus Owls 30, Moorpark Raiders 10

Saturday, September 14, 2013 - 1 pm - Citrus College Stadium - Glendora

1st Quarter:
C - C.Johnson 21 yd pass from Cutbirth (Toscano kick) 9:38 (7-0)
C - Cutbirth 2 yd run (kick wide left) 2:23 (13-0)

2nd Quarter:
C - Holmes 51 yd pass from Cutbirth (Toscano kick) 5:39 (20-0)
M - Reynolds 14 yd fumble return (Taylor kick) 3:12 (20-7)
C - Pooler 33 yd run (Toscano kick) 2:19 (27-7)

3rd Quarter:
M - FG Taylor 36 yds 4:26 (27-10)

4th Quarter:
C - FG Toscano 32 yds 9:33 (30-10)

Team Statistics:

First Downs: Citrus 14 (7 rush, 7 pass), Moorpark 20 (5 rush, 13 pass, 2 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Citrus 40-125, Moorpark 36-71
Passing Yds: Citrus 184, Moorpark 183
Comp-Att-Int: Citrus 17-25-0, Moorpark 15-36-1
Return Yds: Citrus 163, Moorpark 146
Sacks-Yds: Citrus 6-34, Moorpark 1-8
Fumbles-Lost: Citrus 4-1, Moorpark 2-2
Penalties-Yds: Citrus 10-81, Moorpark 7-40
Time of Possession: Citrus 29:41, Moorpark 30:19

Individual Statistics:

Rushing: C 21-Pooler 8-76, 4-Holmes 10-37, 2-Cutbirth 13-23, 32-Gordon 1-6, 5-Bias 4-3, 23-Henderson 1-1, team 3-(-21); M 30-Gillard 10-50, 6-Jean 7-26, 43-Robles 3-17, 14-Beasley 1-10, 12-Davis 6-0, 9-Leffler 4-(-14), 7-LaBar 5-(-18)
Passing:  C 2-Cutbirth 17-25-0-184, 2 TDs; M 12-Davis 8-22-1-101, 9-Leffler 5-12-0-72, 7-LaBar 2-2-0-10
Receiving:  C 18-Calles 4-38, 88-D.Smith 4-27, 4-Holmes 3-75, 81-C.Johnson 2-28, 6-Haines 1-12, 14-Newton 1-8, 1-Barr 1-(-1), 82-Lara 1-(-3); M 13-Bolden 5-67, 19-Coburn 3-56, 11-Civita 3-42, 81-Bluhm 2-10, 17-Cash 1-6, 30-Gillard 1-2
Sacks-Yds: C 36-K.Johnson 3-17, 9-Andres 1-8, 45-Vargas 1-8, 77-Gardella 1-1; M 46-Henley 1-8
Interceptions-Ret Yds: C 27-Timmes II-Manderville 1-12; M none
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: C 50-Dupleasis 1-5, 45-Vargas 1-0; M 26-Reynolds 1-14
Punters: C 63-Barnes 6-37.3 avg; M 36-McLemore 8-35.6 avg
Kick Returns: C 1-Barr 2-79; M 13-Bolden 4-85, 30-Gillard 1-23, 14-Beasley 1-21
Punt Returns: C 33-Martin 3-67, team 1-0; M 20-Lester 1-3
Missed FG: C 64-Toscano 30 yds (partially blocked)

Notes: Both teams entered 1-0; Citrus was ranked #14 in Calif (JCAB). LaBar started at QB for Moorpark; Leffler played almost all of the 2nd quarter and Davis played the entire 2nd half. A 34-yd punt return by Martin set up Citrus' 1st TD. Citrus' 2nd TD came after Dupleasis' recovery of a LaBar fumble that was forced by Andres. Citrus' 3rd TD came after Vargas' fumble recovery, which he also forced. Reynolds stripped the ball from Lara and returned it for Moorpark's TD. But Barr returned the ensuing kickoff 49 yds to set up Citrus' 4th TD. Reynolds deflected Toscano's 1st FG attempt, which went wide left. Toscano's 2nd FG attempt hit the right upright but bounced through, just over the crossbar. Citrus now leads the all-time series, which began in 2007, 3-2.

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