The best way to defend a high-powered offense is to keep it off the field.
That is precisely what Ventura St. Bonaventure did in a 40-35 nonleague victory over Corona Centennial on Friday night at Moorpark College.
After Centennial recovered an onside kick with 2:04 left, linebacker Dalton Rocha held running back Austin Renken to a three-yard gain on fourth down and five at the 45-yard line to preserve the Seraphs’ win.
Sophomore quarterback Ricky Town looked cool as a cucumber in only his second varsity start. The transfer from West Hills Chaminade completed 16 of 23 passes for 340 yards with three touchdowns and ran for another score as the host Seraphs, ranked No. 9 in the Southland by The Times, spoiled Centennial’s season opener for the second consecutive year.
“The offensive line did a great job giving me time to throw and all around our receivers are great, so I just try to get it to them,” said Town, who was 10 of 11 for 175 yards and four touchdowns in the Seraphs’ 48-0 season-opening win at Los Angeles Garfield last week.
“The goal was to keep the football in our hands and with our pro-style offense we’ll take five yards every time.”
Bryce Dixon caught seven passes for 183 yards, including a 95-yard touchdown that gave St. Bonaventure a 20-7 lead. Montre Lee caught a 48-yard touchdown pass just 1:14 later to increase the margin to 27-7.
Marcus Chambers broke a tackle in the backfield and ran for a 10-yard score to give St. Bonaventure a 40-21 lead with 38 seconds left in the third quarter. Lee had four receptions for 70 yards for the Seraphs, who lost to Marmonte League rival Oaks Christian of Westlake Village in the semifinals of the Southern Section Northern Division semifinals last season.
Centennial, ranked No. 8 by The Times, drove 80 yards in only 52 seconds, scoring on a three-yard touchdown pass from Robert Webber to Ryan Pascarella that pulled the Huskies to within 27-14 three second before halftime. Centennial lost to Vista Murrieta in the Inland Division championship game in December.
Webber, a junior starting his first varsity game, completed 19 of 32 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns, including a nine-yard strike to Barry Ware that cut the Huskies’ deficit to 40-35 with 2:06 left in the fourth quarter. Lining up in shotgun formation on every play, Webber also rushed for 67 yards and one touchdown.
“I feel the nerves before every game, but I tell myself to relax, don’t over-think and make the game as simple as possible,” said Webber, a backup last season who earned the starting job during the summer. “I made a few bad reads, but we never gave up and I was confident we’d pull it out at the end.”
Zach Green rushed for 136 yards in 27 carries and scored from three yards out on a fourth-and-one play to put St. Bonaventure ahead, 14-7, with 5:09 left in the second quarter. The Seraphs racked up 22 first downs and dominated time of possession, yet they almost gave Centennial the ball one too many times.
“We may have gotten a little too aggressive at times, but we have a prolific offense and we got some quick scores as a result,” St. Bonaventure Coach Todd Therrien said. “It gave us points, but that didn’t give the defense much time to rest.”
Town’s two-yard quarterback sneak gave St. Bonaventure a 7-0 lead with 6:33 left in the first quarter. Tre Watson’s one-yard run completed a 10-play, 78-yard march that pulled Centennial even, 7-7, with 10:08 left in the second quarter.