Moorpark comes out on top against Grossmont in close matchup


Moorpark quarterback Luke Rassmussen reading the defense against Grossmont on Sept. 24, 2022 in Moorpark, CA. Photo credit: Jack Newman

By Jack Newman

Moorpark College’s football team outmatched Grossmont College’s this past Saturday through a superb defense.

The Moorpark Raiders came into this contest looking to bounce back from a 60-30 road loss against Mt. San Jacinto College.

Grossmont started off the game by receiving the ball. The opening drive saw their quarterback Elia Kirisimasi driving the team down the field, eventually getting to Moorpark’s 18-yard line. However, a missed field goal gave Moorpark the opportunity to put some points of their own onto the board.

After a three-and-out on their first drive, the Raiders were forced to punt the ball back to Grossmont. During Grossmont’s second drive, Moorpark’s defensive lineman Arnulfo Morales intercepted a pass which he returned 20 yards for a touchdown. This gave Moorpark a 6-0 lead over Grossmont.

During their next drive, Grossmont had a three-and-out and decided to punt. This punt however was both blocked and returned for a 28-yard touchdown by Moorpark defensive back Michael Garibay. After a successful PAT attempt, Moorpark now held a 13-0 lead over Grossmont.

Following this score, neither team was able to get much going throughout much of this first half. With 1:54 left in the second quarter however, Moorpark defensive back Daniel Pierce was able to return a Grossmont punt 63 yards for a touchdown.

Pierce, overall, had a stellar night, filling up the stat sheet with 6 total tackles, an interception, 2 pass breakups and a punt return touchdown.

“Our entire special teams unit was playing amazing,” Pierce said. “All of the backs were connecting and I had to find the lane. I knew after the first guy missed it was going to be open space, and then once everything cleared up I was just one-on-one with the punter. I knew if I got tackled by the punter I would’ve had to quit right there.”

Moorpark held a commanding 22-3 lead over Grossmont to conclude the first half of the game. Moorpark was quick to score again in the third quarter. With 9:29 left, linebacker Ty Ely intercepted a pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown, giving Moorpark a 29-3 lead.

Ely overall was a force on defense, racking up 7 tackles, 0.5 sacks, a pick-six and a tackle for loss.

“Last week and this week’s practice was rough for me,” said Ely. “This week, coach put his trust in the defense and we delivered.”

While Grossmont attempted to make a comeback in the fourth quarter, the Raiders were able to hold onto their lead, ending the game with a score of 32-24.

Moorpark head coach Mike Stuart discussed the highlights of this game, noting that the Raiders’ defense and special teams played a key role in the victory.

“Our defense did a lot better with stopping the big plays tonight,” said Stuart. “It also came down to our special teams play today, and a lot of credit to special teams coordinator T.J. Johnson for preparing the guys out there, and being ready for all those punt plays.”

Moorpark was unable to build off this win after they lost 24-7 during an away matchup against Pasadena City College on Friday, Sept. 30. Moorpark’s next football game is against Santa Monica College and is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 13. To view the full Raiders football schedule, click here.