Ventura Pirates slaughter Moorpark Raiders in the 53rd annual Citrus Cup

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Ventura running back Derek West jumps through the Moorpark defense, attempting for a first down during the Citrus Cup game on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Moorpark, CA. The Ventura Pirates have taken home the Citrus Cup for the last 13 consecutive years. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

By Hunter Deniaud and Ryan Bough

The Ventura Pirates blew out the Moorpark Raiders at Griffin Stadium in the first football game of both their seasons, the 53rd annual Citrus Cup.

The Pirates have dominated the rival game for the past 13 years, but this Sept. 4 win was paramount for Ventura College, as Ventura Head Coach Steve Mooshagian reached his 100th career win.

“I think this was my 16th year as head coach, so it took a few years to get to 100,” said Mooshagian. “These guys have been together, and they’re a very close team because of that. COVID has made them all closer because they had to go through it all together.”

Ventura Head Coach
Ventura Head Coach Steve Mooshagian holds up the Citrus Cup trophy as he talks to his team after winning the rivalry game between Moorpark and Ventura College on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Moorpark, CA. The win against Moorpark brings Mooshagian to his 100th career win, and it brings Ventura its 14th consecutive year of winning the Citrus Cup. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

The Raiders seemed to have come onto the field with passion and energy but were met early by the Pirates’ aggressive front seven. The Raiders’ first snap was blown up by a powerful interior blitz that led to a sack. That sack would be a preview of the game as the Pirates’ front seven were unstoppable all night. They kept constant pressure on the Raiders’ offensive line, especially in the second half.

The Pirates pushed hard, securing 28 first downs and 519 yards of total offense. Four Ventura players scored a total of seven rushing touchdowns. Ventura’s Terell Vaughn seemed to have an impressive night as he completed five receptions, securing 102 yards and his team’s only passing touchdown. In total, Ventura scored a whopping 62 points.

Moorpark Head Coach Mike Stuart touched on the Raiders’ drop in morale going into the second half of the game, down 39 points.

“Win or lose, that’s a good football team right there,” said Stuart. “But, the fight at the end, where do we get better? We just need to run through the motions more.”

Pirates quarterback Jordan Pachot winds up before throwing a deep ball down field against the Raiders in Griffin Stadium on Saturday Sept.4.
Pirates quarterback Jordan Pachot winds up before throwing a deep ball downfield against the Raiders in Griffin Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 4. Photo credit: Hunter Deniaud

The Raiders were held to only seven first downs and could muster only a mere 195 yards of total offense. Third and fourth-down inefficiencies often halted the Raiders’ attackers from making long and successful drives down the field.

Despite the defeat, Moorpark’s team found success in a few plays. Wide receiver Kein Artero caught a 47-yard pass in the first half that seemed to bring life to the crowd and returned four kicks over the course of the game, totaling 103 yards.

“I’m just glad that they were our first game because they humbled us and showed us how much more we need to work,” said Artero.

Moorpark running back Joe Llanos attempts to hold back Ventura defensive back Travis Calloway during the Citrus cup match against Moorpark College and Oxnard College on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021 in Moorpark, CA. The Ventura Pirates defeated the Moorpark Raiders, 62-5 in their first game of the season.
Moorpark running back Joe Llanos attempts to hold off Ventura defensive back Travis Calloway during the game against Ventura College on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Moorpark, CA. The Ventura Pirates defeated the Moorpark Raiders, 62-5 in their first game of the season. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

Raiders’ Kicker/Punter Scooter Carranza also made use of his ample field time, kicking 7 punts that totaled 187 yards. Looking forward, Mooshagian spoke about his predictions for the Raiders’ season in the American Pacific Conference.

“I think the score won’t be indicative of Moorpark’s season,” stated Mooshagian. “I think they’ve got a chance in that league they are playing in this year. I think they’ve got a chance to be successful.”

The Raiders’ next game has been postponed to Sept. 18 at Santa Ana College. The Pirates will play their second game on Saturday, Sept. 11 at 7 P.M. against San Diego Mesa College.

*Staff Writer William Osborne contributed to this report