It was a blustery Saturday afternoon at Hancock College, and the action on the Hancock football field was, at times, as unsettled as the weather.
Hancock's defense, though, was sturdy.
Visiting Antelope Valley College mustered all of nine yards rushing, and the Bulldogs beat the Marauders 26-3 in the final game for both before they start league play.
The Bulldogs are the defending American Division Pacific League champions. They are 4-1.
The Marauders, the Bulldogs' former league rivals, play in the American Division Mountain League now. They are 2-3.
The points Saturday are the fewest Hancock has allowed since they won 34-3 at Santa Barbara City College in their 2017 Pacific League opener.
Hancock had ideal field position most of the time, and the Bulldogs led from the time Jayden Vargas, behind crushing blocks by fullback Jacob Rodas and tackle TJ Boone, scored from three yards out at the 9:20 mark.
Quarterback Thomas Carr set up the score with a 30-yard run to the 5.
Besides going just about nowhere on the ground, the Marauders consistently couldn't block the Bulldogs' blitz. Often under a lot of heat, Antelope Valley quarterback Deshawn Boswell was just seven-for-23 through the air, with one interception.
"We blitzed a lot," said Hancock sophomore linebacker Angelo Ortiz, the Bulldogs' leading tackler with four solo tackles and three assists.
"The starter was out, and we wanted to put pressure on the back-up quarterback."
Antelope Valley starter Brian Adams, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound freshman, went down after being tackled on two-yard run to the Hancock 6 late in the first quarter. He put no pressure on his right leg as he was helped off the field. Adams did not return.
Luke Coffman ultimately kicked a 23-yard field goal. The Marauders never crossed midfield again.
The Bulldogs played all that stellar defense in a game in which the teams combined for seven fumbles (Hancock fumbled five times and lost three of those), and Hancock offensive lineman Marseu Haukoulua, in the first half, and Antelope Valley linebacker Elijah Campbell, in the second, were ejected for fighting.
"We put an extra 'backer in the box to cover the split receiver in their spread offense," said Ortiz. The coverage scheme, plus all the pressure on Boswell, worked. The Marauders had just 110 yards of total offense and averaged less than two yards a play.
After fielding a grounder of a snap from punt formation in the end zone, Coffman had no real chance to get off the punt. Seth Matthysse blocked the punt, and the Marauders recovered the ball for a safety to make it 9-3.
Vargas scored on a 15-yard run in the second quarter and Hector Gil-Garcia put the Bulldogs up 19-3 at the break with a 29-yard field goal.
Ryheem Skinner went in from 11 yards out at the 10:16 mark of the third quarter. Gil-Garcia kicked the extra point. That was it for the scoring in the second half.
Other than the Coffman field goal that kept the Marauders from being shut out, the biggest highlight for the visitors was a booming 67-yard Coffman punt in the second half that went out-of-bounds at the Hancock 2.
The Marauders were averaging just 12.3 points a game, their defense was giving up just 18.3 and the Antelope Valley defense had its moments.
Hancock was just four-for-eight on scoring chances in the red zone. AVC linebacker Darrell Dorris was the leading tackler. He made two solo stops and was in on 12 more.
The Marauders bottled up Skinner, the junior college rushing leader, early but the sophomore got his yards as the game went along. Skinner wound up as the leading rusher with 113 yards total on 16 carries. Skinner never lost yardage.
As for the Hancock defense, it gave up nine rushing yards a week after allowing Citrus, a team that had averaged 237 yards a game on the ground going in, a total of 42 in Hancock's come-from-behind 28-21 win at Citrus.
"We have great cover guys (on pass plays), so we've really been focusing on stopping the run," said Matthyse, a freshman defensive back.
Hancock coach Kris Dutra said, "Everything we do is just aimed at helping guys continue to get better."
The Bulldogs, who have won three straight, will play at 2-3 Pasadena City College, which has lost three straight, at 4 p.m. next Saturday to open Pacific League play. The Lancers, who lost 69-20 to San Bernardino Valley College in their last game, will be coming off a bye.
CLOVIS — Arroyo Grande senior Luis Jazo won the Large Schools Boys race in 15 minutes, 51.9 seconds over the 5K course.
Arroyo Grande's team finished fifth, with 196 points. Rocklin won with 106.
St. Joseph was the top area finisher in the Boys Small Schools Division, with 436 points. Orcutt Academy was 22nd with 521. Fillmore won with 146 points to runner-up Woodcrest Christian's 159.
St. Joseph senior Joseph Domingues Jr. was the top area individual finisher. He finished 18th in 16:56.1. Teammates following were Jacob Gomez (55th), Chandler Roach (117th), Grand Cea (142nd) and Henry Adam (158th).
Zach Williams led Orcutt Academy, finishing 92nd in 18:22.4. Teammates following were Justin Stiles (112th), Joaquim Lozano (116th), Noah Morales (127th) and Genaro Lozano (128th).
Caleb Ditmar of San Mateo Nueva won the Small Schools Boys race in 16:14.7.