Moorpark Raiders battle to the end in the season finale against the East Los Angeles Huskies


Quentin Palmer dashes past the defense as he brings the Raiders to a first down and almost goes into the end zone but is stopped short, during the home game against East LA College on Saturday, Nov. 16. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

By Ryan Bough

The Moorpark Raiders flew their flag for the last time this season in a home game against the East Los Angeles College Huskies. The Raiders found themselves only three points behind the Huskies in a final score of 48-45, but their fans’ spirit could not be beat.

After the close loss, wide receiver Kenyon ‘Ta Skinner shared some words about the general team attitude.

“We fought hard, I think we should have won this game,” ‘Ta Skinner said. “It was a game we fought well in and I’m proud of the way that everybody performed and stayed in the game instead of giving up.”

Defensive end Eric Mateo carries the MC flag as the Raiders charge onto the field for their last home game of the season against East Los Angeles College at Moorpark College on Saturday, Nov. 16. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

The first quarter of the game started off slow for the Raiders as they trailed the Huskies 6-7, the Raiders attempted a rush after a touchdown, but were stopped short of the end zone. In the second quarter, the Huskies were able to score two touchdowns on the Raiders. A missed field goal proved to cost the Huskies dearly as Moorpark also scored two touchdowns complete with extra points. The Raiders entered halftime leading 21-20.

Free safety Mike Lopez talked about what brought the team together in the last game. “This game we actually came together and everyone realized that it was the last game of the season and the last game for the sophomores so we all came together as brothers.”

During halftime Moorpark College interim president Dr. Julius Sokenu delivered a speech honoring and thanking veterans.

“We are fortunate here at Moorpark college to have over 400 student veterans enrolled,” stated Sokenu during his speech. “We thank each of you for your service to our nation and express our gratitude to your families for their support and sacrifice. Your contributions to our nation rightfully earn you our respect and gratitude.”

The Huskies hit back hard to take the lead in the third quarter, scoring 14 points while the Raiders only notched three points courtesy of a field goal by Haig Mekshian. The Raiders then trailed the Huskies 24-34 entering the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Troy Smith makes a sprint to the end zone as wide receiver Blake Batarse covers his back at the last home game of the session against East LA College at Moorpark College on Saturday, Nov. 16. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

Defensive coordinator John Stuart spoke on what drove the Raiders. “The players wanted it, they were fighting hard. They knew about the past nine games of not playing a full four quarters and that was the message us coaches were saying.”

Three minutes into the fourth quarter, the Huskies scored, bringing the score to East Los Angeles 41, Moorpark 24. Despite a 17-point deficit, the Raiders optimism only seemed to increase. A touchdown by Dupree Fuller brought the Raiders only 11 points away from the Huskies late in the fourth quarter.

With five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Raiders’ spirits were at an all time high because a 68 yard touchdown by ‘Ta Skinner brought the score to 41-38 leaving the Raiders trailing just three points behind the Huskies.

“I’m the fastest kid on the field at all times, that’s how I look at it, I’ve got that Florida speed in me,” expressed ‘Ta Skinner regarding the touchdowns he scored during the game.

The spirit of the Raiders and their fans seemed to be at an all-time high with the possibility of a win in reach. Stuart talked about how the fans can boost the morale of the team.

“The crowd always helps, it really starts with the play once the guys on the sideline realize what the players are doing on the field they get excited, then the fans see that and they get excited, then the cheerleaders get excited and you just feel the energy all come together,” said Stuart.

Wide receiver Jordan Cuevas follows behind running back Brandon Archibald as he clears a way through the defensive line during the Raiders last home game of the session against East LA College at Moorpark College on Saturday, Nov. 16. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

With two minutes left in the game the Huskies gained possession of the ball at the Moorpark 20-yard line. This allowed the Huskies to expand their lead with a touchdown bringing the score to 48-38.

After the touchdown by the Huskies, the Raiders’ offense pushed down the field towards the end zone but there was an interception by Tzion Dixon for the Huskies who ran it all the way to the end zone. However, the play was recalled with multiple penalties including a pass interference and unsportsmanlike conduct on the Huskies. One Huskies player was removed from the game for the unsportsmanlike behavior and the ball was returned to Moorpark at the East Los Angeles 10-yard line.

With four seconds left on the clock, quarterback Trae Johnson completed a pass to ‘Ta Skinner for a Moorpark touchdown bringing the final score to East Los Angeles 48, Moorpark 45.

“They all believed in each other and it really showed in that last quarter, the defense started coming up and the offense made some big plays and it shows that these guys have the drive [to win],” said Stuart

Wide receiver Kenyon 'Ta Skinner runs the ball downfield in an attempt to get a first down for the Raiders in their last home game against East LA College on Saturday, Nov. 16, at Moorpark College. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

Despite the loss, the Raiders remained positive with many of them looking forward to the next season. Linebacker Andrew Roland talked about his ambitions for the next season.

“My goal next season is to go 10-0 and try and win the bowl game for this program because this is an excellent program with excellent players and excellent coaches,” said Roland. “I feel like going back and contributing back to these coaches who have played here in the past and have been in this program for so long, so I want to get them a bowl game and get them a ring because they deserve it and I feel like I can do that with this program.”

The Raiders ended the season with a 1-9 record.