The Ventura College side made the plays when it mattered most Saturday. The Hancock College side made particularly bad mistakes at particularly bad times.
It all added up to the Pirates staying unbeaten, at 3-0, for 2018. The Bulldogs fell to 1-1 after dropping a game they probably felt they should have had.
Thomas Duckett stopped a string of 21 unanswered Hancock points when he took a Brock Domann swing pass, broke two tackles and turned the pass into a 62-yard scoring play. Ian Henzi kicked the winning PAT with 1:04 left as the Pirates edged the Bulldogs 29-28 in a non-league game at Hancock, spoiling the Bulldogs' season home opener.
The Pirates stripped the football from Hancock quarterback Thomas Carr as the Bulldogs tried to rally and Ventura linebacker Dondre Baker, the man on the spot not for the first time, recovered it at the Hancock 20.
With just one timeout left, the Bulldogs were powerless to keep the Pirates from running out the clock.
"For sure," the Bulldogs' misplays helped doom them, Hancock coach Kris Dutra said.
The week before, Hancock's 18-year coach set the school record for wins for a Hancock football coach at 101 when the Bulldogs started their season by winning 26-14 at Los Angeles Valley College.
Ryheem Skinner burst through a hole on the right side and ran 20 yards for a score to put the Bulldogs ahead 28-22 with 1:44 left Saturday. Hector Gil-Garcia missed the point-after try, the latest in a series of particularly ill-timed Hancock blunders.
Early in the second quarter, Hancock punter Logan Armstrong fumbled the deep snap. Ventura defensive back Ahmad Jalloh picked the ball up and ran 35 yards with it to put the Pirates ahead 12-7. For the second straight time, Kyle Continente's PAT failed. The first one was blocked.
Later in the quarter, a 74-yard Hancock drive following a missed Continente field goal try came to nothing when Carr fumbled the snap at the Ventura 5 and Baker recovered the ball.
Hancock fell short despite amassing more than 300 yards rushing for the second time this season. Skinner ran for 162 yards, and Isaac Baulsey had 59 yards and two scores.
"It takes time to build an offensive line, and it's going to take awhile for our line to reach its full potential, but I always knew we could run the ball," said Dutra.
After Henzi came in, the Pirates' kicking game started working. Henzi kicked a 26-yard field goal with 18 seconds left in the first half to give the Pirates a 15-7 lead.
The Pirates seemed in control when Domann finished an 80-yard drive by connecting with Stevie Houston on an 11-yard touchdown pass as the Pirates went ahead 22-7 with 6:29 left in the third quarter.
The momentum turned when Bausley, five plays after a short Ventura punt gave the Bulldogs the ball at Pirates' 48, sprinted in from 16 yards out at the 1:33 mark of the third.
The Pirates stopped Carr on a fourth-and-goal from the 1 early in the fourth, but that turned out not to matter. Edjuan Works picked off Domann's pass in the flat and ran 10 yards to the end zone to pull the Bulldogs within 22-21.
The Bulldogs kept Duckett, who had averaged more than 100 yards a game rushing, to 30 yards on the ground. However, the sophomore running back hurt the Bulldogs plenty as a receiver.
With the 62-yard game winner, he was the leader in receptions yardage. Duckett caught three passes for a total of 86 yards.
Daniel Giroux II was the Bulldogs' leading receiver. He had four catches for 67 yards. He couldn't hold on to the ball at a tough angle at the Ventura 3 when Carr tried to hit him with a pass late in the first half.
Ventura wasn't exactly its own best friend at times. Besides the two missed extra points and the missed field goal, a running into the kicker penalty on a punt kept the Bulldogs' first drive alive. Bausley finished it by going in from the 1, and Gil-Garcia kicked the extra point to put Hancock ahead 7-6.
The Pirates marched 75 yards in four minutes on the first drive of the game. Hayden Nease caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Domann.
With Domann connecting with nine different receivers, the Pirates out-gained the Bulldogs 264-98 through the air. The Bulldogs out-gained the Pirates 304-121 on the ground.
"Ventura's offense tried to attack our defense the way we thought they would," said Dutra.
Hancock will host West Los Angeles College at 2 p.m. next Saturday in another non-league game.
Toa Taua scores first TD
Lompoc High grad Toa Taua led Nevada in rushing and scored his first collegiate touchdown as Nevada defeated Oregon State 37-35 Saturday night.
Playing at Mackay Stadium in Reno, the Wolf Pack used Taua's rushing to the tune of 12 carries for 81 yards to beat a Pac-12 opponent.
Oregon State's Jordan Choukair missed a 34-yard field goal as time expired to help Nevada snag the win.
Taua has led Nevada in rushing in all three of the Wolf Pack's games this year. He has 26 carries for 161 yards on the season.
Hancock's Skinner leads state in rushing
Hancock College running back Ryheem Skinner leads the state in rushing yards through two games.
The sophomore from Clinton, North Carolina, has piled up 374 total yards and three touchdowns as the Bulldogs have started the season 1-1.
Skinner carried the ball 16 times for 212 yards and a pair of scores in the season-opening win at L.A. Valley. Then, on Saturday, Skinner helped the Bulldogs nearly topple state power Ventura, rushing for 162 yards on 21 carries in Hancock's 29-28 loss. Skinner also scored once against the Pirates, to bring his season touchdown total to three.
Skinner led the Bulldogs in rushing with 749 yards in 2017. He also scored seven touchdowns as a freshman.
Skinner and the Bulldogs continues their season Saturday with another home game, this one against West L.A. College. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Hancock Field.
OJAI - Nipomo senior Devin Diaz was the top local finisher at this meet, in which runners in the top divisions ran three miles. Diaz finished ninth in 16 minutes, 25.5 seconds.
Ethan Danforth led Canyon Country Canyon to the team championship, winning the race in 15:54.7. Canyons won the team title with 57 points.
Pioneer Valley was the top local team, finishing ninth in the 31-team field with 341 points. Sergio Jaracuaro led the Panthers with a 22nd-place finish.
Orcutt Academy finished 14th with 404 points, Nipomo was 16th with 408, Cabrillo was in 17th with 440, Lompoc finished 22nd with 583, Righetti was 28th with 785 and Santa Ynez finished 29th with 786.
Some lead finishers for local teams included Fabricio De La Cruz for Righetti (25th place), Gregory Wuitschick for Lompoc (26th), Kaden Bennett for Orcutt Academy (48th), Jacob Brown for Cabrillo (54th) and Shane Silva for Santa Ynez (108th).
San Luis Obispo won the girls team championship with 52 points. Shaylee Grimm led the Tigers to the title with a third-place finish in 19:22.1.
Hailey Kirsch of Valencia won the race in 19:18.17.
Besides San Luis Obispo, other area squads in the 26-team field included Righetti (17th place, 439 points), Cabrillo (20th, 502), Lompoc (22nd, 559) and Pioneer Valley (25th, 690).
Nipomo and Santa Ynez did not have enough runners to score.
Area team leaders included Maraitzel Moreno for Righetti (46th place), Alyssa Hess for Cabrillo (48th), Mallory Branum for Lompoc (63rd), Iliana Murguia for Nipomo (67th), Ashley Santiago for Pioneer Valley (100th) and Sarah Donahue for Santa Ynez (143rd).
All places listed, except for the Nipomo and Santa Ynez girls, are for team scoring.