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Taking the Long Way, Moorpark Wins, 39-35


MOORPARK — Trailing by a point after three quarters, Moorpark College rallied to defeat Santa Barbara, 39-35, Saturday night in a Western State Conference Northern Division football game.

The victory gave the Raiders (8-2, 8-1 in WSC play) the division title for the third consecutive year. Santa Barbara (5-5, 5-4) had been one game behind Moorpark.

It also meant that the Raiders will play in the Strawberry Bowl at Cerritos on Dec. 3.

The Raiders used a pair of long touchdown pass plays from Damian Delfino to Isaiah Mustafa to secure the victory.

Delfino and Mustafa hooked up on a 61-yard pass play with 3 minutes 17 seconds remaining that put Moorpark ahead, 33-29.

Moments earlier, Santa Barbara took a 29-26 lead on a three-yard pass from Jarrod DeGeorgia to Simon Banks and a two-point conversion.

Delfino and Mustafa, who finished with 10 receptions for 171 yards, had combined on a 55-yard touchdown pass play early in the second quarter.

It was one of several long-range passes by Delfino, who was 17 of 23 for 312 yards. He also had pass plays of 35, 31 and 30 yards to Aaron Whitley.

Moorpark got a big defensive play from tackle Eddie Flores, who intercepted a deflected pass by DeGeorgia and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown and a 39-29 advantage with 2:31 left.

It was the second interception for Moorpark against DeGeorgia, who was 28 of 41 for 355 yards and two touchdowns. De Georgia entered the game with 2,713 passing yards.

DeGeorgia found Banks open on a deep slant pattern for an 88-yard touchdown pass play seven seconds after Flores' score that cut the Vaqueros' deficit to 39-35, but could not rally his team one more time.

The Raiders pounced on a costly Santa Barbara mistake to take a 17-14 halftime lead when it seemed they would go into intermission trailing by four points.

On a kickoff return after Steve Sabbe pulled Moorpark to within 14-10 with a 26-yard field goal with 24 seconds left in the second quarter, Banks fumbled and Raider John Osoril returned it 24 yards for a touchdown with 12 seconds remaining before halftime.

Santa Barbara jumped to a 7-0 lead when Chad Marsalek scored on a 14-yard run midway through the first quarter. Marsalek broke several half-hearted tackling efforts by the Raider defense, which appeared to relax because flags were thrown on the play.

The Vaqueros extended their cushion to 14-0 on a two-yard pass from DeGeorgia to wide receiver Rick Demarest on a fourth-down play early in the second quarter.

Moorpark answered a few moments later with the 55-yard touchdown pass play from Delfino to Mustafa, cutting the deficit to 14-7.

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