Mario Martinez had a hand in both the safety and the block, which allowed SBVC to win despite generating just 149 yards of total offense and 6 first downs against a tough AVC defense.
It was a hard-fought, slug-it-out kind of game, and every score came after either a turnover or a mistake. Nathan Acrey and Rodney Love, a pair of 230-plus-pound RBs, scored the touchdowns for the Wolverines. Each team punted the ball 8 times, and neither team got anywhere near 100 yards passing on the day. And in the end it was a heartbreaking loss for Antelope Valley, which was hoping to end a losing streak that extends from early in 2003 and avoid the first winless season in Head Coach Brent Carder's 36-year career at AVC.
The mistakes began early for AVC, which fumbled on its very first play from scrimmage. SBVC's Foaki Fifita recovered at the 32-yard line, and the Wolverines quickly moved into striking position on a 25-yard run by Kendrick Harris, which gave SBVC a first-and-goal from the 7. However, the AVC defense, led by the Ikahihifo brothers, held firm and turned SBVC without any points. Linebacker Ngaluma'a Ikahihifo threw Harris for a 2-yard loss on 2nd down, and the AVC defense stopped Harris at the 1 on 4th down, giving the ball back to the offense.
But the reprieve was only temporary. Since neither team could move the ball on offense, SBVC maintained field position and the entire first game was played on the Marauder half of the field until SBVC finally broke through on a 17-yard TD run by Acrey later in the quarter. Each team had had the ball 3 times by the time Acrey scored, and a nice 12-yard punt return by Terryl Wilson had gotten the Wolverines the ball at the AVC 37. Five plays later, Acrey put his team on the board.
Neither team scored again until AVC got a break in the second quarter when Wilson attempted to field another punt. Just as he tried to catch the ball, a teammate, trying to block, backed into him. The ball bounced off his shoulder pad and Jason Young recovered for AVC at the SBVC 46. QB John Taylor completed passes of 11 yards to Colt DeCasas and 19 yards to Andy Watts, putting the Marauders into scoring position. On the next play, Dominic Cornelius scored from 12 yards out to tie the game 7-7. That touchdown also ended a 9-quarter scoreless streak for the Marauders, who had last scored against San Diego Mesa on September 24th.
The next score came in the third quarter after an AVC turnover. The Marauders' Taylor threw a pass that was intercepted by Mobroso Washington, who returned the ball 27 yards to the AVC 19. After Acrey picked up 7 yards, Love got the call and powered the ball the final 12 yards and into the end zone to give SBVC a 14-7 lead.
But AVC answered back with a touchdown before the end of the third quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, Donald Green broke off a 69-yard return to give AVC the ball at the Wolverine 31. Only the saving tackle of Rickey Harris of SBVC prevented Green from tying the game. But the Marauder offense was unable to take advantage of the field position, losing 11 yards on three plays (including a penalty) and being forced to punt. However, Kenny Havro's punt bounced out of bounds at the SBVC 8, pinning the Wolverines deep. And the SBVC defense held, forcing a punt. On the punt, AVC's Nick Skophammer broke through the middle of the line and nearly blocked the kick, and the pressure caused Jarret Calbera to shank the kick. The ball went just 20 yards. Then the AVC offense capitalized on the second chance with a quick 4-play scoring drive. A 20-yard run by Ashcraft moved the ball to the 5, and two plays later Green scored from the 3 to tie the game at 14.
On the next kickoff, SBVC's Myron Moore gave his team excellent field position with a 47-yard return to the AVC 43. But the AVC defense refused to give any more ground, and DL John Ikahihifo threw Harris for a 3-yard loss on first down. Three plays later, SBVC punted, which turned out to be yet another turning point in the game.
As Calbera's high kick descended from the sky towards return man Milton Davis, an SBVC gunner approached. Davis signaled for the fair catch, standing at his 10. However, as the ball approached, so did the SBVC defender, distracting (or possibly making contact with) him. Whatever the case, the ball popped loose and bounced towards the AVC goal line. Darius Clarke appeared to save the day for AVC by recovering the muff, even though it was at the AVC 1-yard line. No penalty was called on the play (though it could easily have been ruled that the SBVC player had been blocked into Davis).
In any case, SBVC got the game-winning score on the very next play. Taylor faded back into the end zone, and was hotly pursued by DE DePhilip Harris. Just before Harris could grab him, Taylor handed the ball to Ashcraft further back in the end zone. But by this time, the rest of the SBVC defensive line was in the backfield. Just after Ashcraft got the ball, he was smothered by Martinez and Devin McCroy. Ashcraft managed to hold onto the ball, but SBVC was awarded a safety, giving the Wolverines a 16-14 lead.
Though nearly 13 minutes remained in the game, those turned out to be the game-winning points. SBVC got the ball at the 50 after the free kick went out of bounds. And when Acrey gained 15 yards on the next play, it looked like SBVC might be ready to take control of the game. But the AVC defense had other ideas, and allowed just 4 more yards on the next 3 plays. On 4th down and 6, AVC's Young stopped Marquis Smith of SBVC a yard short of the first down, keeping AVC in the game. AVC's next drive got a boost when a roughing the punter penalty kept the Marauder offense on the field, but that drive fizzled at the SBVC 38. However, Havro again did an excellent job of punting, as his kick rolled dead at the SBVC 7. Three SBVC offensive plays gained just 5 yards, thanks in part to a 2-yard tackle for loss by John Ikahihifo on 3rd down, sending the SBVC punt team back onto the field. Calbera's 36-yard kick gave AVC the ball at the Wolverine 48 with 4:02 left.
And when AVC started moving the ball, it looked like the long losing streak might be over. Taylor gained 5 yards on the first play, and though Cornelius gained just 3 on the second play, a 15-yard facemask penalty on SBVC moved the ball to the 25. Then came a 2-yard gain by Green, a 4-yard gain by Cornelius and another 2-yard run by Green. That made it 4th and 2 at the 17, and well within Havro's field goal range. Just over a minute remained in the game.
But the kick never had a chance. The whole play was a little out of sync, beginning with a snap that might have been a little high. And SBVC got some penetration up the middle. The kick might have been a bit low. And in the end, all that mattered was that the kick never got through, giving SBVC the victory.
SB – Acrey 17 yd run (Ramos kick) 3:55 -- 7-0
AV – Cornelius 12 yd run (Havro kick) 8:02 -- 7-7
SB – Love 12 yd run (Ramos kick) 5:05 -- 14-7
AV – Green 3 yd run (Havro kick) 0:06.2 -- 14-14
SB – Safety – Ashcraft tackled in end zone 12:53 -- 16-14
|Team Statistics:||Antelope Valley||San Bernardino Valley|
|First Downs||15 (9 run; 4 pass; 2 penalty)||6 (5 run; 1 pass)|
|Rushes – Yards||44-167||39-126|
|Comp - Att – Int||8-17-2||5-15-0|
|Sacks – Yards||3-19||2-7|
|Fumbles – Lost||4-1||2-1|
|Penalties – Yards||9-56||2-30|
|Time of Possession||33:24||26:36|
AV: 21-Cornelius 13-60, 29-Ashcraft 8-46, 6-J.Taylor 6-34, 32-Green 6-20, 4-Davis 9-15, 8-Hamilton 2-(-8) SB: 26-Harris 16-73, 32-Acrey 12-65, 22-Love 3-17, 7-Smith 1-5, 10-Rising 4-(-28), team 3-(-6)
AV: 6-J.Taylor 7-15-2-62; 8-Hamilton 1-2-0-6 SB: 10-Rising 5-15-0-23
AV: 29-Ashcraft 3-5, 15-DeCasas 2-22, 80-Watts 1-19, 89-Jones 1-16, 21-Cornelius 1-6 SB: 88-Flournoy 2-11, 15-Hawkins 1-9, 5-Butler 1-6, 26-Harris 1-(-3)
AV: none SB: 2-Montgomery 1-0, 11-Washington 1-27
AV: 24-Young SB: 44-Fifita
AV: 2-Cooper, 3-Lisk ½, 10-N.Ikahihifo ½, 90-Skophammer ½, 91-Durant ½ SB: 97-McCroy, 99-DeCastro
AV: 12-Havro 8-34.9 avg. SB: 93-Calbera 8-39.5 avg
AV: 32-Green 1-69, 4-Davis 1-23 SB: 23-Moore 2-62, 22-Love 1-26
AV: 4-Davis 1-(-9) SB: 19-Wilson 3-25, 88-Flournoy 1-12
AV: 12-Havro 35 yds (blocked)
Notes: SBVC improves to 3-4 (2-3 in Foothill) while AVC falls to 0-7 (0-5) and has now lost 13 straight, dating back to last year. AVC fumbled on its 1st play from scrimmage, giving SBVC field position that eventually led to its 1st TD. AVC's 1st TD, which broke a 9-quarter scoring drought, came after a punt muff (Wilson was run into by a teammate as he tried to catch the ball) which Young recovered. SBVC's 2nd TD came after Washington's int. AVC's 2nd TD came after a short (20-yd) punt that Skophammer nearly blocked. The safety came after Davis muffed a punt; 13-Clarke recovered for AVC on its own 1 but 64-Martinez and 97-McCroy smothered Ashcraft for the safety on the next play. AVC drove to the SBVC 17 for the last FGA, but the kick was low. Several Wolverines were in the vicinity but it looked like Martinez got the block.