Raider football enjoys happy homecoming with a blowout victory against Glendale


Defensive end Antoinne Winn picks up a fumble from Glendale and returns it to the endzone for a 67-yard touchdown. The Raiders beat Glendale 34-7 in their first home game of the season on Saturday, Sept. 21. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

By Robert Gonzales and Kaylin Matzner

The first home game of the Moorpark Raider football season couldn’t have come at a better time. Playing in front of the home crowd, with support from friends and family cheering them on, the Raiders almost defended a perfect shut out, leading 34-0 halfway through the fourth quarter.

The final score of 34-7 against the Glendale Vaqueros was not the “goose egg” the players had strived for, holding the opponent to zero, but everyone in attendance was all smiles from start to finish.

The game began with a 5 p.m. tailgate celebration. Raider supporters joined together to enjoy food, drinks and company in parking lot H, hosted by the Communications Studies Club, founded last semester by staff members Jill McCall and Jenna Patronete.

“We kind of feel like students come to school, they take their classes, and then they go home,” Patronete said. “We really want them to get involved with campus activities. It really enriches their entire experience and one of the ways to do that is to get involved with extracurricular activities.”

According to Barret Kocher, communications major and club member, the club is waiting for more information about future tailgates but the first one went really well.

Football head coach Mike Stuart appreciated the support and felt the home crowd helped push the players as they got off to their first hot start.

“I thought it was a great turn out, that we had one of the better turnouts for an opening game,” Stuart said. “That was the first time we actually started fast, so that was actually the positive from this week, we came out there, we put up points the first drive.”

The offense clicked right away; freshman quarterback Isaiah Johnson was responsible for the first 14 points only a minute into the second quarter. He scored both through the air and on the ground, completing a 14-yard pass to Dylan Lee and rushing in for a 26-yard touchdown.

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Quarterback Isaiah Johnson, left, looks downfield for an opening as running back Malachi Meeks, right, defends him against oncoming attackers. The Raiders won their first home game against Glendale on Saturday, Sept. 21. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

Johnson found open receivers throughout the first half. Blake Batarse, Reece Smith and Dylan Lee each had three receptions. Batarse and Smith both posted over 65 yards for the game.

After their performance, Batarse was excited about the number of weapons the team has on the field.

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Wide Receiver Blake Batarse, 83, dashes down the field, just narrowly dodging a defender at the Raiders first home game against the Glendale Vaqueros on Saturday, Sept. 21. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

Smith added, “We have so much talent on the field where we can do whatever we want as long as we keep on performing how we are right now.”

Smith was most excited to get the first win of the season.

“We were hungry from the get-go, to be honest, we wanted to get the first win on the first week, we knew we had a potential for it but we just didn’t really click as well as we did today,” Smith said.

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Running back Reece Smith gets swarmed by the oncoming defense as he darts for a first down during the home game against Glendale on Saturday, Sept. 21. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

The game really began to slip away from the Vaqueros on the second drive of the second quarter. Antoinne Winn, a leading defensive end returner for Moorpark, scooped up a fumble from Glendale’s running back and returned it to the house. The 67-yard touchdown return put the Raiders up 27-0 and deflated Glendale’s hopes of a comeback.

Stuart said, “We needed to go out there and expose them and get our confidence up that’s why I was putting some goals on this game, shut out and getting to 50 points, we came up short but still a lot of positive things to take away.”

The next Glendale possession the Raiders put the nail in the coffin.

Freshman free safety, Mike Lopez intercepted a pass from Glendale quarterback, Nathan Eldridge at the 50-yard line, for his third interception on the season.

“I was just really blessed with some ball skills, you know I think it’s really just like do my coverages, do my job and they just came to me,” Lopez said. “But I mean I just got to keep going, I’m striving for like 10 this season … [and] my coaches just keep putting me in the best position.”

After the game, Stuart was proud of the effort shown in their home win but already focused on next week’s game.

“We had about 32-35 recruits out there tonight, so it was a good showing for that,” Stuart said. “[But] you can always learn a lot from when you win a game. Sometimes you tend to have a worse week of practice after you win a game, and we can’t afford to do that. We got to have the best week of practice ever, coming up is the no. 1 team in the state with Saddleback.”

The Raiders play Saddleback Community College Saturday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. at Saddleback.