Quarterback Eric Bennett ran for two touchdowns, including the game-winner with about three minutes to play, as Simi Valley High posted only its second victory in four seasons, shocking host Ventura, 23-20, Friday night in a season-opening nonleague game for both teams.
The Pioneers were 1-29 over the past three seasons and last won in 1989, beating Royal, 21-3. It appeared Simi Valley would post an easy victory Friday after the Pioneers opened a 16-6 lead in the third quarter on a two-yard run by Bennett.
However, heavily favored Ventura rallied in the fourth quarter on a six-yard run by halfback Devon Passno and a 61-yard bolt by halfback Derek Swafford.
With Simi Valley trailing, 20-16, the Pioneers marched 71 yards, including a 46-yard pass from Bennett to wide receiver Dave Romines. Bennett capped the drive with a one-yard sneak.
Bennett completed 23 of 37 passes for 271 yards, and running back Jevon Markarian rushed 18 times for 89 yards.