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Vaqueros can’t keep up with Corsairs, 38-17

Vaqueros can’t keep up with Corsairs, 38-17

 Jerry McConnico ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more on Saturday, leading Santa Monica to a 38-17 football victory over SBCC at La Playa Stadium.

 McConnico tossed TD passes of 34 and 47 yards as the Corsairs built a 17-3 lead on the second play of the second quarter. He then ran for a pair of 9-yard scores in a span of 4:18, stretching the lead to 31-3 at the half. McConnico completed 18-of-29 passes for 229 yards and ran for 66 yards.

 Santa Monica, the two-time defending American Pacific Conference champion, won its 18th straight APC game to improve to 6-2 and 5-0 in conference. The Vaqueros (6-2, 3-2) dropped their second straight after a 6-0 start.

 SBCC lost its starting quarterback, Jarred Evans, to injury late in last week's game against L.A. Pierce and was also missing running back Orion Prescott and defenders Jackson Weed and Cameron Gamble.

 Josh Martin was 15-30 passing for 277 yards and a 69-yard score to Giovanni Sanders. Sanders caught four passes for 155 yards.

 Santa Barbara looked like it would take a 7-0 lead when Martin connected with Sanders on a 67-yard bomb with 8:15 to go in the first quarter. Qujuan Floyd caught him from behind, however, and forced a fumble at the Corsair 3-yard line.

 The ball rolled into the end zone and Floyd recovered for a touchback. The Vaqueros had six turnovers, including three interceptions by Martin.

 "We had a fast start, we just didn't finish," said coach Craig Moropoulos. "We were inside the 10 a couple of times but you have to score. We didn't do it and there's no excuses. We have to get things done.

 "Josh Martin was playing with a bad ankle and it was hard for him to push off. He made some mistakes and he'll learn from it."

 Santa Monica piled up 601 yards and 30 first downs on 108 plays. SBCC had 384 yards on 59 plays and hurt itself with 11 penalties for 130 yards..

 Linebacker Morgan Nevin had a career-high 28 tackles with 10 solo for the Vaqueros. Zack Arnell added 14 tackles and Jake Pettit had 11.

 "Our defense was out there a lot of the time and we couldn't keep our offense on the field," said Nevin, a 6-1 sophomore who boosted his state-leading tackle average to 15.8 per game. "We had some missed coverages and miscommunication on a couple of their big plays.

 "We were shutting down the runs in the middle but they hurt us on the outside contain."

 Mike Petersen had an 80-yard kickoff return return late in the first quarter, leading to SBCC's only points of the first three quarters – a 33-yard field goal by Marcus Hoerberg.
 The Corsairs extended the lead to 38-3 on a 2-yard run by Melvin Davis with 44.4 seconds left in the third period.

 "Santa Monica is a very good football team," said Moropoulos. "They ran the ball, they threw the ball and their quarterback was very good. We made some mistakes in the secondary.
 "When you do that and you don't convert on offense and you don't play well on special teams … You lose all three phases, you're not going to win many games."

 SBCC got a pair of passing TDs in the final 4:43. Martin got a key first down on a fourth-and-10 from the 49 and had a big collision with Nick Corse, causing Martin's helmet to fly off.

 Bruce Shipley entered at QB and promptly fired a 39-yard TD pass to Sterling Cash. The Vaqueros went 97 yards in 4 plays on their final possession, capped by the longest TD pass of the year, a 69-yarder from Martin to Sanders with 1:09 remaining.

 "We've been a little down this whole week and we're trying to figure out how to get back on track," said Nevin. "This next week, we know what we have to do to get things moving again.
 "The past is behind us and we only have two games left to do the best we can."

 The Vaqueros will play their final home game on Saturday when Glendale visits La Playa for a 6 p.m. contest.