Raiders football season comes to an end after Strawberry Bowl defeat

The Moorpark Raiders and the Allan Hancock Bulldogs on the field to compete for the 2022 Strawberry Bowl. The Strawberry Bowl on Nov. 26 took place in Santa Maria, CA. Photo credit: Special to MR

The Moorpark Raiders and the Allan Hancock Bulldogs on the field to compete for the 2022 Strawberry Bowl. The Strawberry Bowl on Nov. 26 took place in Santa Maria, CA. Photo credit: Special to MR

By Briana Cruz

The Raiders football team was defeated at the 2022 Strawberry Bowl played in Santa Maria. This loss brought an end to their record-breaking season.

The 2022 Strawberry Bowl was hosted at Allan Hancock College on Nov. 26 and acted as the championship game for the Raiders football team. In this season-defining matchup, the Moorpark College Raiders squared off against the Allan Hancock Bulldogs.

Both teams had put up a 6-5 overall record in the 2022 season. While the Raiders had an undefeated home record this season, their away record was 1-5. In this away matchup, the Raiders had hoped to flip the script and seize the championship game against Allan Hancock.

Raiders sophomore wide receiver Justin Ogle explained the team’s mindset going into the game.

“We treated [the game] as a business trip,” Ogle said. “We had to travel up there and the mentality the whole time was that we were up there to do a job, which was win.”

The 2022 Strawberry Bowl started off uneventfully, with neither team opening up the scoring until the game’s third period.

After Allan Hancock opened up the scoring in the championship game with a 66-yard run from sophomore running back Latrell Brown, the Raiders responded with some scores of their own.

Raiders sophomore wide receiver Arcelles Johnson completed a 38-yard pass from freshmen quarterback Macloud Crowton. Freshman Daniel Burke finished the kick to bring the game to a tie the of 7-7.

The Raiders then added to their scoring with another completed 31-yard pass from Crowton to Johnson. Once again, Burke’s kick was met, and the Raiders took the lead, 14-7.

The Bulldogs caught up to the Raiders in the game’s fourth quarter with a 65-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Esekielu Storer to sophomore wide receiver Jaleel Walker. Bulldog Arath Acosta completed the kick to tie the game 14-14.

Within the game’s last two minutes, both kickers from Moorpark and Allan Hancock added totals to their team. Bulldog player Acosta kicked a 43-yard field goal that was completed, and Raider kicker Burke answered with a complete 22-field gold to wrap up the quarter. The fourth quarter ended in a tie, 17-17, which meant the game entered overtime in order for a winner to be determined.

Moorpark sophomore wide receiver Blake Batarse relayed just how high the stakes were for the Raiders, going into overtime.

“We were still ready to keep fighting and our confidence definitely helped,” Batarse said. “We knew it was our last ride [with this team] so everyone was willing to give everything they had left on that field.”

Neither team added to their totals throughout overtime until the final seconds. As the game neared a potential double overtime, Allan Hancock’s Acosta kicked a 45-yard field goal, leaving the Raiders with little to no time to make a move. The Bulldogs emerged victorious in this highly competitive matchup, with the final score for the 2022 Strawberry Bowl being 20-17.

Although their season ended in defeat, the Moorpark College football team established a name for themselves in the California Community College Athletic Association by breaking two significant school records this season.

Moorpark College’s head football coach, Mike Stuart, reflected on the season his team had put together in a tweet following the game.

“Thank you again to all of our players for their time, dedication, and hard work!” Stuart wrote. “It was an amazing season and one that was done with class and character.”