Gauchos improve to 4-0

photo c/o Cliff Robbins
photo c/o Cliff Robbins

The Saddleback football team picked up a 36-20 win against Moorpark College at Mission Viejo High School on Saturday night.  The Gauchos never trailed in the game in improving to 4-0.

Saddleback scored on its opening drive, going 79 yards in 13 plays.  Chance Nolan found Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda, who raced 16 yards for the early lead.  The two-point attempt was good when Nolan found Colin O'Brien for an 8-0 lead. 

Moorpark cut the lead to 8-6 early in the second quarter when they drove 82 yards in 11 plays.  The Raiders then attempted a two-point conversion, but failed on the attempt.

Saddleback wasted no time in extending the lead, going 65 yards in 12 plays.  The Gauchos found the end zone when Nolan found Elijah Jefferson for a 4-yard touchdown as Saddleback extended the lead to 16-6 with another two-point conversion. 

Saddleback increased the lead to 19-6 with 3:50 left in the half when Matthew Freem connected on a 40-yard field goal.  The Gauchos would carry the 13-point lead into the locker room.

Freem was again on target with 11:22 remaining in the third quarter when he split the uprights on a 35-yard field goal for a 22-6 lead. 

Things then got a bit sloppy for Saddleback for the reminder of the third quarter as the Moorpark defense started to stiffen.  The Raiders clawed their way back into the game when Tyree Morrison took a pitch and threw a 55-yard touchdown strike to Alex Sarti with 2:52 remaining in the quarter.  Moorpark again went for two and this time were successful on the attempt, cutting the Gaucho lead to 22-14.

On the ensuing kickoff, Saddleback grabbed back the momentum as Shawn Poma raced down the sidelines 71 yards to give Saddleback great starting field position at the Moorpark 25-yard line.  The Gauchos cashed in four plays later when Elijah Jefferson strolled in from 8-yards out as Saddleback pushed the lead back to 29-14.

Moorpark wouldn't quit as the Raiders had their best drive of the night in the middle of the fourth quarter.  Moorpark went 99 yards after the Gauchos downed a punt at the Raider 1-yard line.  The Raiders took 13 plays to drive the length of the field as quarterback Isaiah Johnson capped it off with a 2-yard score.  Moorpark again went for a two-point conversion in an attempt to make it a one possession game, but Johnson's pass fell incomplete as the score remained at 29-20. 

Saddleback took over the ball and went to work in an attempt to close out the game.  The Gauchos managed to run off 5:30 as the Moorpark defense looked gassed.  Saddleback put the game out of reach when Jonathan Jefferson scampered nine yards for the final score of the game with only 54 seconds remaining.

Nolan finished the game leading Saddleback in both passing and rushing.  He finished 20-of-34 for 170 yards passing and two touchdowns through the air while rushing for 72 yards on 17 carries. 

Tyriek Bell, Lance Tiangco and Kai Ross led the defense with seven tackles apiece.  Austin Moore finished the game with three quarterback hurries as Saddleback held Moorpark's Isaiah Johnson to just 22-of-42 passing while holding a 31:34-to-28:26 advantage in time-of-possession.

Saddleback is now 4-0 heading to Mt. San Antonio College (3-1) next Saturday.  The Gauchos and Mounties are scheduled to start at 6:00 PM at Covina District Field.