Moorpark Overcomes Bad Start To Top LA Valley

Dominating defense and the lethal passing combination of Tony Williams and Barry Tolli enabled Moorpark to overcome a horrific start and beat LA Valley, 33-16, to clinch the Mountain Division of the WSC November 16th at Monarch Stadium. Williams threw for 336 yards and 5 TDs, most of that to Tolli, and the Raider defense completely shut down the Valley offense.

Tolli, who spent the early part of 2001 competing for Moorpark's starting QB job, finished with 10 catches for 251 yards, one better than the old school record set in 1991, and caught touchdown passes of 42, 65 and 76 yards.  Williams' 5 TD passes tied the school record, which was set in 1972. 

Entering the game, Moorpark was known as a strong running team, led by the duo of Chase Schmidtz and Greg Morris.  But the Raiders were held to just 32 yards on 35 carries by Valley, and Morris ended the game with –9 yards on 12 carries. 

And yet the Monarchs had even less success running against the Moorpark defense, finishing with 11 net yards on 20 carries.  And a lot of that came late in the game while the first-team Raider defenders were helping pour Gatorade on the coaches to celebrate clinching the Division title.

A horrific start by Moorpark threatened to cancel the celebration altogether.  On the game's opening kickoff, return-man Art Garcia stumbled shortly after catching the ball and was downed at his own 10.  Three plays later, Moorpark tried to punt, but the kick was blocked by Valley's Amral Johnson, and Tearius George fielded the bouncing ball in the Raider end zone for a Monarch touchdown just 1:58 into the game.

And on the ensuing kickoff, Garcia muffed the kick and Valley's Craig Gobroski recovered the ball at the Moorpark 28.  Completions by Kevin Arbuckle to Eddie Whitaker and Calvin Stuckey got the ball to the Raider 4.  But then in a preview of things to come, Moorpark's defense stiffened and, after a penalty, the Monarchs were forced to settle for a 26-yard field goal by Ryan Donahue, which made it 10-0 just over 5 minutes in.

After Morris successfully caught and returned the next kickoff, he almost gave the ball back to Valley when he fumbled, but Moorpark recovered.

But Moorpark wasn't quite done courting disaster.  After an exchange of punts, the Raiders had the ball but faced a 4th down at their own 27 and lined up to punt.  But the snap rolled about 5 yards behind center.  Up-man Nick Perrin picked up the ball and pitched it to punter Christian Thomsen, who rolled left trying to kick, but Valley's Brook Emelio blocked the punt out of bounds at the Valley 20.

Then the Moorpark defense came to the rescue.  Before Valley could extend their lead any further, Moorpark's Eric Watkins grabbed a Kevin Arbuckle pass and returned it 24 yards.  And the Valley offense would be held scoreless the rest of the way.

The rest of the game belonged to Williams and Tolli.  They hooked up for their first TD pass, a 42-yarder, with 24 seconds left in the first quarter when Tolli got behind the defense.  Williams' throw sailed over two defenders and into Tolli's hands at about the 15, and he ran into the end zone for the score.

The next mistake was by Valley.  On Moorpark's next possession, Thomsen punted to Valley's James Norris, who muffed the punt.  Kareem Merhi more or less picked up the bouncing ball, and the whistle blew.  After a lengthy discussion amongst the officials, the ball was awarded to Moorpark at the Monarch 20.  Two plays later, Williams found Cedric Carmel in the end zone for a 17-yard scoring pass, giving Moorpark a lead they would hold the rest of the day.

Moorpark's next TD came on a 65-yard pass from Williams to Tolli.  The XPA was blocked by Valley's Craig Chisholm, leaving the score 20-10 at the break.

The next big play came on Valley's first possession of the second half.  Arbuckle hit Stuckey for what appeared to be a big gain over the middle.  A plethora of Raider defenders converged on Stuckey at about the 15, and Moorpark's Watkins came out of the pile with the ball. 

The Raiders then went on a long, 6-minute drive, which was capped by a 33-yard TD pass from Williams to TE Greg Estandia.  A bad snap doomed the XPA, but by now the score was 26-10.

Valley got the next score on a spectacular 83-yard punt return by James Norris late in the 3rd quarter.  Norris took the punt in the middle of the field, darted past the first two defenders and ran up the left sideline.  A couple of nice downfield blocks got him into the end zone.  QB Arbuckle was sacked by Moorpark's Gabe Reininger on the conversion, however, so it remained a two-score game at 26-16.

And Moorpark restored their lead to a comfortable margin shortly after that on a 76-yard pass from Williams to Tolli.  It looked like a relatively harmless play when Tolli caught a short pass, but he broke through two defenders and down the right sideline for the score with 1:13 left in the third quarter.  Thomsen's kick made it 33-16.

The teams played a scoreless fourth quarter, but Norris nearly scored another TD on a punt return.  He took a kick at his own 8 and darted through several defenders and into the end zone, but a blocking from behind penalty negated the run.

For the game, Moorpark's defense limited Valley to just 9 first downs and none of those were on the ground.  In fact, the Moorpark defense was hardly to blame for any of Valley's scores:  two TDs on special teams and a FG that was set up by a fumble, also on special teams.  DB Eric Watkins led the way with a pair of interceptions and his theft of the ball for a fumble recovery.

Valley was led by WR Stuckey, who had 8 catches for 136 of Valley's 184 yards of offense on the day.  Arbuckle finished 13 of 29 passing for 173 yards but also had 2 interceptions.  James Norris had 199 yards on punt and kickoff returns including a TD and another that was called back on a penalty.  He also caught 3 passes for 11 yards.

With the win, Moorpark moves to 8-1 overall and 6-0 in the Division.  Valley drops to 4-5 overall and 3-3 in the Division.

Saturday, November 16, 2002 - 1 p.m.
at Monarch Stadium (LAVC), Valley Glen, CA
A Western State Conference (Mountain Division) Game

Moorpark College (Raiders)  33
Los Angeles Valley College  (Monarchs)  16

1st Quarter:

V – George recovered blocked punt in end zone (Donahue kick) 13:02 -- 0-7
V – FG Donahue 26 yards 9:59 -- 0-10
M – Tolli 42 yard pass from T.Williams (Thomsen kick) 0:24 -- 7-10

2nd Quarter:

M – Carmel 17 yard pass from T.Williams (Thomsen kick) 10:14 -- 14-10
M – Tolli 65 yard pass from T.Williams (kick blocked) 3:51 -- 20-10

3rd Quarter:

M – Estandia 33 yard pass from T.Williams (pass failed) 8:44 -- 26-10
V – Norris 83 yard punt return (run failed) 4:02 -- 26-16
M – Tolli 76 yard pass from Tolli (Thomsen kick) 1:13 -- 33-16

4th Quarter:

No Scoring

Team Statistics: LA Valley Moorpark
First Downs 9 (6 pass; 3 pen) 15 (11 pass; 3 run; 1 pen)
Rushes – Yards 20-11 35-32
Passing Yards 173 336
Comp - Att – Int 13-29-2 17-26-2
Return Yards 202 151
Sacks – Yards 2-17 2-16
Fumbles - Lost 4-3 4-1
Penalties – Yards 12-90 19-184
Time of Possession 25:20 34:40

Individual Statistics:


V:  23-Jackson 13-30, 21-Daley 3-(-9), 14-Arbuckle 4-(-10)
M:  32-Schmidtz 15-48, 38-Daly 1-5, 20-Garcia 2-1, 28-Morris 12-(-9), 7-T.Willliams 5-(-13)


V:  14-Arbuckle 13-29-2-173        
M:  7-T.Williams 17-26-2-336, 5 TDs


V:  85-Stuckey 8-136, 5-Norris 3-11, 6-Alberty 1-13, 88-Whitaker 1-13
M:  3-Tolli 10-251, 87-Estandia 2-38, 1-Wall 2-31, 83-Carmel 1-17, 28-Morris 1-8, 32-Schmidtz 1-(-9)


V:  22-Donahue 2-33.0 avg; 9-Silver 5-30.2 avg      
M:  15-Thomsen 7-38.0 avg + 2 blk

Kick Ret:

V:  5-Norris 5-109
M:  20-Garcia 3-32, 28-Morris 1-16

Punt Ret:

V:  5-Norris 5-90
M:  16-Randolph 4-45, 31-Cook 1-0

Kick Blocks:

V:  3-A.Johnson, 55-Emelio (punts); 8-Chisholm (XPA) 

Int – Ret Yards:

V:  29-Moreland 2-3
M:  21-Watkins 2-24

Fumble Rec-Yards:

V:  82-Gobroski 1-0
M:  8-Merhi 1-0, 21-Watkins 1-22, 56-Reed 1-12


V:  57-Pizarro 1-8, 32-Goodrum 1-9
M:  30-Dinapoli 1-8, 56-Reed 1-8


Moorpark entered 7-1, 4-0 in WSC-M, ranked #7 South & #18 JCGW.  Valley entered 4-4, t-#17 South. This win clinches the WSC-Mountain Division for Moorpark.  Tolli – if these totals are official (and the Daily News had the exact same numbers for him) this sets a new Moorpark record for receiving yards in single game.  A.Johnson blocked the (first) MC punt that George recovered in end zone.  On second block, the snap rolled to up-man Perrin, who pitched the ball to Thomsen, whose punt was blocked by Emelio.  Valley's FG followed Gobroski's fumble recovery of Garcia's muffed kickoff return.  Watkins snatched the ball from Stuckey for the fumble recovery.  Norris had a 92-yard punt return for TD called back on penalty in 4th.  Reininger sacked Arbuckle on the unsuccessful 2-pt conversion attempt.  Merhi's fumble recovery was on a Norris punt muff.

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