VENTURA, Calif. --- Imagine how surprised Jeremy Sanchez must’ve been when the Ventura St. Bonaventure receiver caught the football in the waning moments of Friday night’s game against Moorpark and there wasn’t a defensive back within 10 yards of him.
Accordingly, he did what any intelligent wideout would do: take off running.
Sanchez gained possession of a Marc Evans pass near midfield with 2:26 left and sprinted to the end zone for the game-winning 46-yard touchdown catch in the Seraphs 28-25 Marmonte League victory over the Musketeers at Buena High.
“Dude, I couldn’t believe it, I looked around and didn’t see anyone, so I started booking and I wasn’t going to stop until I scored six,‘’ Sanchez said. “Everything was in slow motion. A touchdown like that, to win the game, is something you dream about.’’
St. Bonaventure (3-1, 2-1) played extremely well in the first half and took a 21-8 lead at the break. However, the Seraphs, No. 13 in ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Top 25 rankings, struggled thereafter. And Moorpark (2-2, 2-1), ranked No. 16, nearly made them pay.
Grant Rohach took over in the fourth quarter for the Musketeers. He mixed in several timely runs and numerous well-placed passes to direct his team on a pressure packed 92-yard scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter. Moorpark ended up taking a 25-21 lead on Rohach’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Shumway with 5:12 left.
“I thought we had them, that just proves that the game isn’t over until there’s zeroes left on the clock,’’ Rohach said. “We did everything we could to win this game. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. This was a tough way to lose a game, I can tell you that much.’’
Trailing by 13 points at halftime, Moorpark opened the second half with a much-needed sense of urgency. And accordingly, the Musketeers marched down the field and put some points on the board when Alex Nelson made a 33-yard field goal to make it 21-11 with 4:27 left in the third quarter.
Moorpark was just getting started.
Following a defensive stand, the Musketeers' offense got the ball back following a punt. Minutes later, Rohach found Alex Tolliver in the corner of the end zone on a 26-yard touchdown pass. All of a sudden, Moorpark trailed 21-18 with less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
“The wheels nearly fell off the bus for us tonight,’’ St. Bonaventure coach Todd Therrien said. “Once we relaxed late in the game and stopped being so cautious, things fell into place for us. And that was a good thing because we nearly blew this game.’’
With less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter and the ball at midfield, the Seraphs appeared determined to score one more time before the break. They got to work in a hurry as a result. Evans found Christian White on a 36-yard pass play down the sideline. And on the next snap, the two connected again, this time on a 12-yard touchdown to extend the advantage to 21-8 at intermission.
Starting deep in their own territory did not deter the Seraphs from going on an 89-yard scoring drive the third time they touched the ball. Evans and White connected on a number of different pass plays and Tanner Souza caught a 35-yard touchdown pass as St. Bonaventure took a 14-0 lead with 11:50 left in the second quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, Moorpark finally figured out a way to move the ball, albeit in an unconventional manner. Rohach scrambled for first downs on a couple of different occasions to keep the drive alive and set up a 24-yard field goal attempt by Nelson. That’s when things got interesting.
The snap missed its mark, Nelson chased down the ball at midfield and heaved the ball toward the end zone. Shumway was in the right place at the right time and caught the ball for a touchdown. Later, the two connected on the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 14-8 with 4:52 left in the first half.
St. Bonaventure started its second drive at midfield and it didn’t take long for the Seraphs to score. They went 54 yards in a matter of minutes and the quick and efficient drive was capped by a 20-yard touchdown pass from Evans to White to give St. Bonaventure a 7-0 advantage with 4:20 remaining in the first quarter.
The Seraphs got the attention of the Moorpark defense real quick, on their first drive, in fact. Evans handed the ball off to Shaun Wick, who attempted to run straight up the middle before quickly turning around and tossing the ball back to his quarterback. White was on the receiving end of the 44-yard flea-flicker from Evans and St. Bonaventure was in business at the Moorpark 23-yard line.
Unfortunately, the Seraphs could not capitalize on the good field position. On fourth and short from the Musketeers 1-yard line, Diamond Schouder was stopped in his tracks at the line of scrimmage. Moorpark had avoided disaster and ended up taking over possession underneath the shadows of its own uprights.
Evans finished 22 of 28 for 313 yards. White ended up with seven receptions for 177 yards. Schouder added 65 yards rushing on eight carries.
Rohach was 14 of 25 for 138 yards. Tolliver had 61 yards on four catches. Teammate Tyler Peterson gained 61 yards on 13 rushes.