Not only is the Ventura football team undefeated through 11 games and the first round of the playoffs, they haven’t trailed in a game since Week 1. The Cougars were down 16-15 in the third quarter against Pacifica in the season opener. Ventura scored the final 19 points of the game to win, 34-16. Coach Brad Steward was looking through Ventura’s first 10 games in preparation for the opening of the Southern Section Western Division playoffs against Dominguez and discovered his team’s streak in leading games. The Cougars have been on quite a roll since the start of the season. Teams are scoring only 8.7 points against Ventura. The Cougars are coming off a 41-14 win over Dominguez in the first round of the Western Division playoffs. They play Santa Monica (10-1) in the quarterfinals on Friday night. The Vikings are on a bit of a roll of their own, with seven wins in a row and their loss only coming against Valencia on Sept. 30.
The Marmonte League went a perfect 5-0 in the first round of the Northern Division playoffs. The biggest blowout, Westlake over Eastside, 59-12. The closest game, surprisingly, St. Bonaventure, 19-10, over Redondo. Quarterbacks were the difference for Oaks Christian and Moorpark. Sophomore Brandron Dawkins threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns in Oaks Christian’s impressive 43-10 win over Mira Costa. He could have had more, but only played in the first half. Moorpark’s Grant Rohach passed for 176 yards and a touchdown, but every one of his passes were crucial in a 17-10 win over fourth-seeded Valencia. He threw a touchdown pass to Kenny Feyh in the fourth quarter to give Moorpark a 15-10 lead. Rohach also connected with Alex Tolliver for an important two-point conversion pass for a seven-point lead in the final minutes of the game. Not to be forgotten was a tough road win for Thousand Oaks, 20-7, over Quartz Hill. The Lancers erased a 7-0 deficit and scored 20 unanswered points to win going away. Moorpark and Thousand Oaks will play each other in the quarterfinals in a rematch of their Marmonte League opener. Thousand Oaks won that game, 27-24, on a last-second field goal.
The San Fernando Valley went 1-4 in the first round of the City Section Division I playoffs. Birmingham was the only team to advance to the quarterfinals. El Camino Real, Arleta, Woodland Hills Taft and Reseda all lost in the first round and were eliminated. Arleta running back Dejon Coleman rushed for 156 yards and scored a touchdown in his team’s 21-18 loss to Birmingham. He broke the City Section record with 47 touchdowns this season. Birmingham scored the winning touchdown with a little over a minute to play in the game. The lone remaining team from the San Fernando Valley plays No. 3 Dorsey in the second round.
The magic ran out for Camarillo and quarterback Travis Valdez. The junior threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns, but Camarillo lost to San Luis Obispo, 54-28, in the first round of the Western Division playoffs. Valdez threw for 2,594 yards and 35 touchdowns in eight games. He took over the starting quarterback job on Oct. 6 and won his first six starts. Receiver Jake Maulhardt caught 10 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown for Camarillo. He ends his high school career with 119 catches, second most in Southern Section history. Richard Mullaney from Thousand Oaks set the Southern Section record last year with 122 catches over his high school career.
A week after losing a share of the Foothill League championship for using an ineligible player and having to forfeit a game, Canyon won impressively in the first round of the Northern Division playoffs, 21-0, over Palmdale. Quarterback Jonathan Jerozal threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Drew Wolitarsky caught four passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. The Canyon defense came up with some huge plays. Juan Rodriguez blocked a 30-yard field-goal attempt. Mikey Hager had an interception just before halftime and set up Wolitarsky’s second touchdown catch, a 77-yarder as time expired. Canyon moves on to face St. Bonaventure in a rematch of last year’s Northern Division quarterfinal game. St. Bonaventure won that game, 45-21.