Ventura College Athletics

Pirates Survive Hornet Comeback in Overtime Thriller

VC quarterback Alaka'I Yuen set school records for total yards (493) and passes completed (41) in leading the Pirates past Fullerton 48-47 in overtime Saturday at the Sportsplex.
VC quarterback Alaka'I Yuen set school records for total yards (493) and passes completed (41) in leading the Pirates past Fullerton 48-47 in overtime Saturday at the Sportsplex.

Hearts stopped and records fell Saturday night at the VC Sportsplex as the Pirate football team gave up a 21-point fourth quarter lead over visiting Fullerton, only to reclaim victory in overtime, 48-47 on the Hornets' missed extra point attempt on the first extra possession. Quarterback Alaka'I Yuen totaled a school-record 493 yards of offense including 481 passing yards and three touchdowns while wide receiver Terrell Vaughn tied the VC record for passes caught with 15 receptions for 201 yards and two touchdowns in the barn burner.

The No. 5-ranked Pirates (4-1) dominated No. 18 Fullerton early, forcing two Hornet punts while putting up 10 points in the first quarter. Alberto Arroyo connected on a 23-yard field goal when a 10-play, 71-yard VC drive stalled deep in FC territory, and Jayden Vargas scampered one yard around right end with key blocks by Will Bonkavich and Reese Silofau on the offensive line. 

Fullerton began an intense final six minutes of the second period with a touchdown to cut the deficit to 10-7. 

The Pirates answered two minutes later when Vaughn scored on a 21-yard pass and run from Yuen with 3:36 on the clock.

A breakdown on special teams cost the Pirates on the ensuing kickoff as the FC returner raced 97 yards through the middle to paydirt. The 2-point conversion failed, however, and VC led 17-13.

With 3:23 on the clock the Pirates were not done. They started on their own 36 yard line via a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on the Hornets, and took full advantage. Yuen completed two passes to Vaughn for 25 total yards before a pair of incompletions set up fourth-and-seven. An offsides penalty on Fullerton gave VC a second chance after a third incompletion, and Yuen made them pay with a 34-yard pass and run to Chris Reaves. Arroyo's kick completed the 1:10 drive and a 24-13 advantage.

Fullerton had 2:01 on the clock when they took possession after the ensuing kickoff, but they needed just 12 seconds for a 66-yard touchdown pass and run through the middle of the Pirate defense.

The wild finish to the half continued when VC took possession with 1:44 remaining. Yuen completed four passes and Vargas had a 26-yard run to set up first-and-goal at the FC 9-yard line for the Pirates. A 6-yard pass to Chuck Wick took the ball to the 3-yard line, and Ventura appeared to score a touchdown on the next play, but a pass interference penalty pushed the ball back to the 18. With four seconds remaining, Arroyo's field goal attempt was blocked, but an offsides penalty gave VC a second chance. Arroyo took advantage of the opportunity, nailing a 30-yard field goal o the final paly of the stanza as Ventura held a 27-20 halftime lead.

After the Pirates had a punt blocked to open the third quarter, the defense held fast, stopping the Hornets on a fourth-and-three play inside their own 10-yard line. 

Yuen had a 34-yard run to get Ventura out of the deep hole, then completed five passes to set up the next score, an eight yard run by Vargas.

The teams then exchanged punts before Wick ran 11 yard to paydirt, finding the end zone inside a five-yard scrum powered by the offensive line. Arroyo's kick gave Ventura a seemingly safe 41-20 margin with two seconds left in the third period.

Fullerton had other plans, however, scoring a touchdown quickly and taking advantage of a Ventura turnover to set up another score. The Hornets tied the game at 41-41 with 5:43 remaining in regulation time. Both teams had an opportunity to push for a game-winning score, but neither was successful as the game went to overtime.

VC had the first offensive possession in extra play. Taking the ball at the 25-yard line, Yuen had a 19-yard pass play to Vaughn to set up  the same connection from six yards out one play later. Arroyo's kick gave Ventura a 48-41 lead with Fullerton's possession still to come.

A celebration penalty after the VC touchdown gave the Hornets the ball at the 13-yard line, but it took a fourth down play for them to reach the end zone. On the PAT, a high snap led to a shanked kick, giving the Pirates the victory.

Yuen was 41-58 in the air, breaking Jake Luton and Brad Odeman's school record for completions (36 in 2016 and 2013, respectively) and tying Luton's record for attempts (58 in 2016). He also added 12 rushing yards to his 481 passing yards for 493 yards of total offense, besting Odeman's total of 490 set in 2013. 

Vaughn's total of 15 receptions tied Chris Marshall's record of 15 catches in a game in 2014.

Vargas had 14 carries for 43 yards on the ground and Vaughn's receptions totaled 151 yards. Reaves had eight catches for 132 yards. 

Travis Calloway continued to pace the VC defense with 12 tackles while Jalen Cooper had nine stops. Dom Brown and Jeremiah Nunnery each collected eight tackles.

VC earns a well-deserved week off at the midpoint of the season. THey will begin Northern Conference play on Saturday Oct. 18 at Bakersfield. Kickoff is slated for 6:00 pm.