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Wolverines spoil Vaqueros’ home opener, 35-13

Linebacker Lucas Olgiati scores on a 9-yard interception return in the second quarter. (Photo by Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)
Linebacker Lucas Olgiati scores on a 9-yard interception return in the second quarter. (Photo by Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)

SBCC took a 13-10 halftime lead in Saturday's football home opener and then it was all Wolverines in the second half as San Bernardino Valley shut down the Vaquero offense in a 35-13 victory at La Playa Stadium.

SBVC (2-0) outgained the Vaqueros 276 to 15 yards and outscored them 25-0 in the last two quarters.

The Wolverines dominated in first downs (22-11), rushing yardage (174-39) and total yardage (458-119). Jeffrey James had 12 tackles and Nijel Lockhart added nine tackles and 3.5 sacks for SBVC.

Vaquero quarterbacks were sacked nine times for 63 yards in losses. Santa Barbara (1-1) punted eight times in the second half and managed just two first downs.

Quarterback Armando Herrera led the Wolverines, completing 18-of-28 passes for 284 yards and four second-half touchdowns. He was intercepted twice by Lucas Olgiati and Javan Gail.

Olgiati stepped in front of a flat pass and returned it nine yards for a touchdown to give the Vaqueros a 10-3 lead with 9:34 to go before halftime. SBVC tied it at 10 on a 3-yard run by Herrera.

Martin Ahlstroem booted his second field, from 37 yards out, with 12 seconds left to give the Vaqueros a 13-10 halftime advantage.

The Wolverines scored on their first two possessions of the third quarter, driving 62 yards and 51 yards for touchdowns. Herrera hit CJ Harris with a 17-yard pass into the left side of the end zone and then found DeJuan Moon for a 14-yard TD and a 23-13 lead with 7:40 to go in the third quarter.

"They're a good football team that runs the ball well and their running back got loose a lot," said SBCC coach Craig Moropoulos. "I thought our defense played well, they rose up and were on the field a lot. We couldn't sustain anything offensively and that was very frustrating.

"I'm proud of the way the guys fought to the end. We have some things to work on."

Jeff Proctor ran 15 times for 96 yards for the Wolverines. Herrera tossed two more TDs in the fourth quarter, a 3-yarder to Dionzae Nolan and a 33-yard fly pattern to Elijah Smith with 4:13 to play.

Olgiati, a sophomore linebacker from Gilroy, Calif., led the Vaquero defense with eight tackles, an interception and a forced fumble. He also punted nine times for a 33.7-yard average. Isaac Brown had seven tackles and a 31-yard fumble return on the fourth play of the game.

Will Bayonne rushed 22 times for 65 yards for the Vaqueros and QB Gerald Hickson completed 12-23 passes for 77 yards. Hickson suffered an injury at the end of a short run and left the game with 5:37 to play.

"We have to find the right combinations," said Moropoulos. "They were really good up front and their defensive line was strong."

San Bernardino committed five turnovers (three fumbles, two interceptions) and the Vaqueros only had one.

The Wolverines drove 90 yards in six plays late in the first quarter and had a first-and-goal inside the 1-yard line. Herrera was stuffed by Nakota Shepard-Creer on first down and threw two incompletes with Michael Francis breaking up the second-down pass. On fourth-and-inches, Proctor tried the center of the line and was stuffed by multiple defenders, led by Daniel Ekstrum and Rory Hayes.

"That was a great goal-line stand," Moropoulos stated. "That's not something to laugh at, it takes a lot of guts and energy. I felt real good at halftime. Then they brought a lot of people into the box and our pass game has to improve. We're a work in progress."

The Vaqueros will face their toughest opponent of the year on Saturday when they travel to Santa Clarita to take on No. 6 Canyons at 6 p.m.