Ventura College Athletics

Ventura Comeback Falls Short in Joe Kapp Real Estate Beach Bowl

Pirate quarterback Alaka'I Yuen passed for 310 yards and two touchdowns, but Ventura's comeback fell short in the 46-39 loss to Cerritos in the Joe Kapp Real Estate Beach Bowl Saturday night at the Sportsplex.
Pirate quarterback Alaka'I Yuen passed for 310 yards and two touchdowns, but Ventura's comeback fell short in the 46-39 loss to Cerritos in the Joe Kapp Real Estate Beach Bowl Saturday night at the Sportsplex.

The Pirate football team fell into a 21-6 hole early in the second quarter of Saturday's Joe Kapp Real Estate Beach Bowl, and, despite a valiant attempt, could not climb out of it, falling to Cerritos 46-39 at the VC Sportsplex. Ventura (8-3) held an early 3-0 lead, but the Falcons scored 21 of the next 24 points to secure the advantage in the season finale. Alaka'I Yuen was 17-20 in the air for 310 yards and two scores while tight end Daniel Moraga caught eight passes for 119 yards and a score to earn team MVP honors for the game.

The game was an offensive show throughout as the teams combined for 1,158 yards and 85 total points. There were just two punts in the entire game, one for each team, and the Pirates had the lone turnover in the game, a fumble on a quarterback sack midway through the fourth quarter.

The Falcons had a three-and-out on their first possession, punting the ball away to the Pirates. VC took the ball down the field for Alberto Arroyo's 40-yard field goal for an early 3-0 lead.

Cerritos answered on the next drive, however, marching 74 yards in just five plays for a touchdown and a 7-3 advantage.

Arroyo countered with his second field goal on the next drive to pull VC back to within 7-6.

Cerritos took their next two possessions to the end zone and led 21-6 with 11:39 remaining until halftime.

Ventura kept up the fight, however, as they took the next drive to the Cerritos 12 yard line before it stalled out. Jayden Vargas had the big play of the set, a 38-yard run, but VC had to settle for Arroyo's third kick of the game, this time from 36 yards out.

VC held Cerritos to a field goal on the next drive, and the Pirates took the ensuing possession down the field for their first touchdown of the game. Yuen hit Mark Ferrell for 34 yards to set up the score, a 24-yard pass to Chris Atkins. Arroyo's kick was blocked, making the halftime score 24-15.

The offenses continued to dominate in the third quarter as both teams scored a pair of touchdowns in the stanza. 

Vargas scored the first touchdown for VC, a five yard run that was set up by a 56-yard pass play from Yuen to Atkins. Yuen then completed a 5-yard pass to Moraga to paydirt, culminating a 10-play, 75-yard drive.

Early in the fourth quarter, Yuen engineered another 75-yard scoring drive, powered by two completions to Moraga totaling 43 yards. Yuen finished the series with a 1-yard run to the end zone, and Arroyo's kick closed the deficit to two points, 38-36.

On the ensuing drive, Cerritos missed a field goal, opening the door for the Pirates to complete their comeback.

The Pirates took over at their own 20-yard line, and after overcoming a pair of penalties, they fumbled and lost the ball on their 37-yard line. Cerritos used the short field to complete a quick score and a two-point conversion made it 46-36 with 5:46 remaining in the game.

Ventura was able to drive down for Arroyo's fourth field goal of the night on the ensuing drive, but the clock ran out on the comeback as the Pirates fell 46-39.

Vargas had 14 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown to lead the VC ground attack. Atkins racked up 80 yards on just two pass receptions.

Wes Anusiem recorded 12 tackles to lead the VC defense and Jalen Cooper had nine stops. 

Despite the loss, the Pirates still completed their fifth consecutive 8-win season, a feat accomplished by just one other SCFA National Division program. VC also won its 17th overall conference championship, its sixth title in the last eight years.