The host Lancers rallied to within 6 points in the final minutes and had the ball with a chance to take the lead before an interception by Ryan Panapa on a deflected pass with 1:59 left finally clinched the win for the Pirates.
For most of the afternoon, Ventura looked to be cruising to a relatively easy win. The Pirate defense completely shut down the Lancers in the first half, holding the hosts to just 4 yards of offense and a single first down. Then when Sims threw a long touchdown pass to tight end Raphael Washington and Dominic Morris broke free for a long touchdown run in the third quarter, the Pirates seemed in control. A field goal by Tyler Stampler late in the third quarter made it 26-6.
But Pasadena, behind backup quarterback Jonathan Troast, rallied to make things interesting. Troast converted a fourth-down play for a 15-yard touchdown pass to DeMonte Bell early in the fourth quarter to narrow Ventura's lead to 26-13. Then, later in the quarter, Troast hit Reuben Thomas for a pair of long passes, sandwiched around a personal foul penalty against Ventura, the second pass being for 39 yards and a touchdown with 5:32 left that made it 26-20.
Then the Pasadena defense forced a Pirate punt, and the Lancers had one last chance to steal the win. But a Troast pass deflected off the hands of a receiver near midfield and Ventura's Ryan Panapa grabbed the loose ball for an interception with 1:59 left. Ventura was unable to run out the clock and had to punt one last time, giving Pasadena possession at its own 30 with 24.8 seconds (and no timeouts) left, but the Lancers never even got close to midfield before time ran out.
That the game was so close late was bit of a surprise in that Ventura's defense was so dominant in the first half. And Sims gave Ventura an early 7-0 lead when, one play after converting a 4th and 4 play, he ran for a 1-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter. Pasadena never made it beyond the Ventura 49 in the first half, and got its only first down on a pass interference call in the first quarter.
And the Ventura defense did its part to extend the lead. Late in the second quarter, Pasadena inserted Troast into the game, but the 6-2 sophomore was rudely greeted by the Pirates' Tommy Stuart, who sacked him on consecutive plays to force a punt. The second sack was nearly good for a safety, with Troast's forward progress ruled just outside the end zone. That made little difference because on the next play Travaun Nixon broke through and blocked Brian Gonzalez' punt through the back of the end zone, making it 9-0.
Ventura extended its lead to 16-0 midway through the third quarter when Sims somehow escaped what appeared to be a certain sack and lofted a long touchdown pass down the right sideline to Washington, who was well behind the defense. Then, after Pasadena finally put together a scoring drive that ended with Roman Pula scoring on a 3-yard run, Ventura pushed its lead back to 16 when Morris broke through the middle of the line for a 56-yard scoring run that made it 23-6 with 3:41 left. Stampler's field goal, his 10th straight made field goal to start the season, in the final minute of the quarter made it 26-6. And that turned out to be just enough of a lead to hold off the rallying Lancers.
For Ventura, Sims was 9 for 14 passing for 176 yards and a TD, while rushing 16 times for 49 yards (13 rushed for 69 yards if the sacks are subtracted out) and a score. Morris led all rushers with 100 yards on 13 carries, and Gabriel Bostic added 77 yards on 19 carries. Nick Karam led Pirate receivers with 4 catches, good for 56 yards. John Lattimore led the defense with 2-1/2 sacks and a fumble recovery, while Stuart also had 2 sacks for the Pirates.
For Pasadena, Troast was 13 for 25 for 230 yards along with 2 interceptions and 2 touchdowns. He entered late in the second quarter for Tyler Ponce, who had been 8 for 13 for 30 yards. The Lancer rushing attack was ineffective all afternoon, totaling a net of minus-34 yards on 22 attempts. Sean Carraway led all receivers with 8 catches for 100 yards. Akheem McKinney was a force on defense for the Lancers with 2-1/2 quarterback sacks, one of which forced a fumble.
The win improves Ventura's record to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the National North. After a bye next week, the Pirates take on perennial power College of the Canyons October 26 at home. Pasadena falls to 3-3 overall and 0-2 in the National-North, and travel to Santa Maria to take on Allan Hancock next Saturday.
Ventura Pirates 26
Pasadena Lancers 20
Saturday, October 10, 2009 - 1 pm - Robinson Stadium - Pasadena
National Division - Northern Conference
V - Sims 1 yd run (Stampler kick) 7:40 (7-0)
V - Safety - punt blocked out of end zone 2:00 (9-0)
V - Washington 53 yd pass from Sims (Stampler kick) 8:02 (16-0)
P - Pula 3 yd run (run failed) 5:02 (16-6)
V - Morris 56 yd run (Stampler kick) 3:41 (23-6)
V - FG Stampler 46 yds 0:57.4 (26-6)
P - Bell 15 yd pass from Troast (Luevano kick) 14:05 (26-13)
P - Thomas 39 yd pass from Troast (Luevano kick) 5:32 (26-20)
First Downs: Pasadena 12 (1 rush, 10 pass, 1 penalty), Ventura 17 (9 rush, 7 pass, 1 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Pasadena 22-(-34), Ventura 51-227
Passing Yds: Pasadena 260, Ventura 186
Comp-Att-Int: Pasadena 21-38-2, Ventura 10-19-0
Return Yds: Pasadena 133, Ventura 126
Sacks-Yds: Pasadena 3-20, Ventura 5-53
Fumbles-Lost: Pasadena 4-2, Ventura 4-1
Penalties-Yds: Pasadena 5-37, Ventura 15-105
Time of Possession: Pasadena 24:11, Ventura 35:49
Rushing: Pasadena 3-Pines 6-13, 1-Roberson 5-8, 44-Pula 1-3, 6-Bell 1-(-3), 13-Ponce 3-(-7), 5-Troast 6-(-48); Ventura 34-Morris 13-100, 8-Bostic 19-77, 6-Sims 16-49, 21-McPherson 3-1
Passing: Pasadena 5-Troast 13-25-2-230, 2 TDs; 13-Ponce 8-13-0-30; Ventura 6-Sims 9-14-0-176, 1 TD; 12-Jimenez 1-5-0-10
Receiving: Pasadena 2-Carraway 8-100, 23-Thomas 3-74, 4-Bateman 3-42, 6-Bell 3-27, 10-Tree 2-12, 1-Roberson 2-5; Ventura 3-Karam 4-56, 4-Washington 2-83, 14-Holcolm 2-18, 7-Parham 1-19, 10-Leith 1-10
Interceptions-Ret Yds: Pasadena none; Ventura 47-Kurz 1-17, 7-Panapa 1-0
Sacks: Pasadena 18-McKinney 2-1/2, Pula 1/2; Ventura Lattimore 2-1/2, 54-Stuart 2, 33-Cline 1/2
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: Pasadena 24-Bermal 1-0; Pasadena 90-Lattimore 1-3, 17-Powers 1-0
Punters: Pasadena 37-Gonzalez 7-37.1 avg + 1 blk; Ventura 45-Reynoso 9-39.0 avg
Kick Returns: Pasadena 8-Ross 4-83, 6-Bell 1-31; Ventura 8-Bostic 5-94
Punt Returns: Pasadena 1-Roberson 2-13, 23-Thomas 2-2, 22-D'Antignac 1-4; Ventura 3-Karam 2-12
Missed FG: Pasadena none; Ventura 81-Stampler 31 yds (wide right)
Notes: Ventura entered #12 in South and t-#25 in nation (JC Grid-Wire) and improves to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in National-North. Pasadena entered as #15 in South and falls to 3-3, 0-2. Jimenez and Sims split time at QB all afternoon for Ventura. Ponce started at QB for Pasadena; Troast came in for final series of 2nd qtr. He was greeted by 2 sacks by Stuart that pushed Pasadena back to its 1, and 5-Nixon blocked the punt on the next play. Nixon had earlier caused the Roberson fumble that Powers recovered. Pasadena had a net of 4 yards of offense and 1 first down (on a pass int penalty) in the first half. Ventura's field goal came after Kurz' interception. Pasadena got the ball back with 3:05 with a chance to pull out the win but Panapa intercepted a deflected pass near midfield to clinch the win for Ventura. 45-Tuifua caused the Bostic fumble that Bernal recovered for Pasadena. Stampler's missed FG was his first of 2009 after making his 1st 10 tries. Pasadena now leads the all-time series, 24-8-2.