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Moorpark football falls to top-ranked Ventura

Ventura running back Derek West jumps through the Moorpark defense on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Moorpark, CA. (Ryan Bough)
Ventura running back Derek West jumps through the Moorpark defense on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Moorpark, CA. (Ryan Bough)

By Hunter Deniaud and Ryan Bough/Moorpark Reporter

MOORPARK -  The Moorpark football team fell to top-ranked Ventura 62-5 Saturday night (Sept. 4) in what was the season opener for both teams, and the 53rd annual Citrus Cup.

The Pirates have dominated the rival game for the past 13 years, but this win was paramount for Ventura coach Steve Mooshagian, who reached his 100th career win.

"I think this was my 16th year as head coach, so it took a few years to get to 100," said Mooshagian. "These guys have been together, and they're a very close team because of that. COVID has made them all closer because they had to go through it all together."

The Raiders seemed to have come onto the field with passion and energy but were met early by the Pirates' aggressive front seven. The Raiders' first snap was blown up by a powerful interior blitz that led to a sack. That sack would be a preview of the game as the Pirates' front seven were unstoppable all night. They kept constant pressure on the Raiders' offensive line, especially in the second half.

Ventura's secured 28 first downs and 519 yards of total offense. Four Ventura players scored a total of seven rushing touchdowns. Ventura's Terell Vaughn seemed to have an impressive night as he completed five receptions, securing 102 yards and his team's only passing touchdown.

Moorpark Head Coach Mike Stuart touched on the Raiders' drop in morale going into the second half of the game, down 39 points.

"Win or lose, that's a good football team right there," said Stuart. "But, the fight at the end, where do we get better? We just need to run through the motions more."

The Raiders were held to only seven first downs and could muster only a mere 195 yards of total offense. Third and fourth-down inefficiencies often halted the Raiders' attackers from making long and successful drives down the field.

Despite the defeat, Moorpark's team found success in a few plays. Wide receiver Kein Artero caught a 47-yard pass in the first half that seemed to bring life to the crowd and returned four kicks over the course of the game, totaling 103 yards.

"I'm just glad that they were our first game because they humbled us and showed us how much more we need to work," said Artero.

Moorpark kicker (and punter) Scooter Carranza made use of his ample field time, kicking seven punts that totaled 187 yards.

Looking forward, Mooshagian spoke about his predictions for the Raiders' season in the American Pacific Conference.

"I think the score won't be indicative of Moorpark's season," stated Mooshagian. "I think they've got a chance in that league they are playing in this year. I think they've got a chance to be successful."

The Raiders' next game has been postponed to Sept. 18 at Santa Ana College.

Moorpark Reporter William Osborne contributed to this report