Moorpark Raiders fizzle out in the fourth quarter against El Camino


Moorpark running back Edyon Batta attempts to dodge a tackle during the home game against El Camino College on Oct. 5. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

By Dominic D'Amico

Saturday night, the Moorpark College Raiders football team fought valiantly against the El Camino College Warriors. The Raiders and the Warriors went goal for goal through the first half as a golden California sunset wore into the night, heading into halftime with the Raiders up 20-14. But the Raiders couldn’t hold back the Warriors’ onslaught in the second half and lost the game by a sizable margin.

Mike Lopez dodges attackers as he returns El Camino's punt during the home game on Oct. 5. Moorpark was defeated 48-28 bringing them to 1-4 in the session. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

The Raiders had appeared strong coming into the second half, widening their lead and holding off the Warriors offense. With 8:51 left in the third quarter, Moorpark scored another touchdown and nailed a 2-point conversion to compensate for a missed extra point earlier in the evening, bringing the score to 28-14 Moorpark. As the game wore on though, Moorpark was not able to maintain their defense. With less than 20 seconds left in the third quarter, the Warriors scored a touchdown and nailed the extra point, bringing the score to 28-21 Moorpark. The fourth quarter was utterly dominated by the Warriors offense though, as they scored four unanswered touchdowns, marred only by a single missed extra point, bringing the final score to 48-28 El Camino.

El Camino wide receiver Taariq Johnson blocks Moorpark linebacker Carlos Coates in the 1st half of the Raider home game on Oct. 5. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

After the game, Moorpark College Football Head Coach Mike Stuart addressed the fourth quarter slowdown, stating “We don’t have the depth like El Camino and these other teams that we’ve been playing like Saddleback, so they [Moorpark College players] get tired. They get burned out after a while. We can’t rotate a lot of guys. We don’t have that depth at those type of positions. So, the big thing for us in this bye week is to get ourselves a little bit more conditioned, so we can finish a four quarter game and not be a three quarter type team.”

Issues on the field were compounded by the reams of penalties issued to both the Moorpark Raiders and the El Camino Warriors, which cost both teams significant yardage. During the game, El Camino received 11 penalties while Moorpark College received 18, costing each team 141 yards and 161 yards, respectively.

The line judge referee holds back El Camino players as tensions rise between the two teams. Moorpark lost to El Camino 48-28 on Oct. 5. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

After the game, Moorpark College running back Malachai Meeks spoke to both the penalties and the Raiders’ second half performance.

Meeks stated, “… I feel like, as a whole, as a team, we came out good the first half, and then the second half they kind of got the best of us. We kind of got out of our head doing things that were unnecessary, getting unnecessary penalties. So hopefully we can fix that coming into next game.”

Moorpark College Quarterback Isaiah Johnson also noted the large amount of penalties by stating, “Fourth quarter, we actually were doing good. A penalty took away a touchdown, huge touchdown. And with that, we gotta minimize the penalties. Minimize the penalties, we come out with that victory, because we got the momentum.”

Moorpark College Football will make its next appearance Thursday, Oct. 17 at College of the Canyons, with the game scheduled to start at 7 p.m.