Just when the book on the Moorpark College football season appeared to be closed, the Raiders added another chapter.
Its title: "Maybe There's Still a Chance to Play in a Bowl Game."
After their 21-14 home victory Saturday over Santa Monica the Raiders (6-2), who improved their Western State Conference record to 3-2, are hoping to slip into the Southern California Bowl.
Glendale, meanwhile, clinched at least a tie for the conference championship with a 30-20 victory over Bakersfield, finishing with a 5-4 record, 5-1 in conference play. If Bakersfield (4-4, 4-1) defeats Ventura in its final game next Saturday, it will tie Glendale for the conference title.
For Moorpark, even with a victory over Allan Hancock in next Saturday's final game, the chances of a postseason invitation are slim.
"I told these guys that they could either finish 5-4 or 7-2, and 7-2 sounds an awful lot nicer," Coach Jim Bittner said afterward.
Moorpark, in its final home game of the season, had little trouble with struggling Santa Monica (3-5, 2-3), which has lost all five of its road games. Santa Monica helped Moorpark with repeated penalties and turnovers that the Raiders converted into scoring opportunities.
Leading, 14-7, at halftime, Moorpark scored the winning points and its most dramatic touchdown of the game with 14:49 remaining on quarterback Dan Nagelmann's 52-yard strike to Frank Madrid. Moorpark moved 59 yards in four plays on the drive.
Moorpark squandered two third-quarter scoring opportunities before Madrid's touchdown. Daniel Eastman missed a 38-yard field-goal attempt, his second of the afternoon, midway through the quarter.
Defensive back Kenneth Davis then intercepted Santa Monica quarterback Daryl Hobbs' pass at the Corsair 23-yard line. Moorpark penetrated the Santa Monica 20 before Nagelmann fumbled a snap from center with time running out in the quarter. Santa Monica recovered but failed to move the ball. The Corsairs gave possession back to Moorpark, which scored on Madrid's touchdown catch.
Santa Monica cut the margin to seven on William Harris' one-yard run with 7:14 left. Running back Shelton Trosclair set up the touchdown by leaping and hurdling his way from the Moorpark 49-yard line to the Raider 1. The five-play drive covered 70 yards.
"Santa Monica came out pretty tough in the second half," Bittner said. "In the first half, we sort of had our way with them."
Madrid set up Moorpark's first touchdown, running 49 yards with the opening kickoff to the Santa Monica 36.
The Raiders moved to the Santa Monica five helped by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and Mike Daniels scored on the next play to cap the five-play drive less than two minutes into the game
Linebacker Steve Paredes intercepted a Hobbs pass near midfield to set up the Raiders' second touchdown. An eight-play, 40-yard drive was then capped by Dana Griffin's eight-yard run with 6:22 left in the first quarter.
Santa Monica took advantage of a Moorpark turnover to close the gap to 14-7 by halftime. Defensive end Calvin Silvera recovered a Griffin fumble at the Santa Monica 28. Hobbs passed 42 yards to Demetrius Smith on the following play to move Santa Monica to the Raider 30.
The Corsairs drove to the one-yard line, then Hobbs scored on a one-yard keeper to finish the 72-yard, six-play drive.
Griffin gained 93 yards in 21 carries to lead Moorpark rushers. Daniels picked up 83 yards in 12 carries. Nagelmann completed 7 of 16 passes for 103 yards. The Raiders had 295 yards in total offense.
Hobbs completed just 13 of 28 for 198 yards. Trosclair gained 76 yards in 11 carries to lead Santa Monica rushers. The Corsairs gained 105 of their 303 yards on the ground.