VENTURA — The Nordhoff High football team's 14-8 nonleague victory over St. Bonaventure on Saturday at Ventura High came down to a matter of three feet.
One of them, the kicking foot of St. Bonaventure punter Joe Byrum, produced a five-yard punt that gave Nordhoff field position and an eventual touchdown.
The other two feet, unsteady and off-balanced, belonged to St. Bonaventure cornerback Shaun Twyman, whose fourth-quarter fall allowed Nordhoff wide receiver Ben Harrold to score the winning touchdown on a 36-yard pass play.
St. Bonaventure (2-1) suffered numerous lapses, while the relentless ground attack of Nordhoff (3-0) rolled over another opponent.
St. Bonaventure quarterback Teohua Sanchez, impressive in the Seraphs' first two games, was shaky. The senior completed 26 of 44 attempts for 193 yards and a touchdown. However, 10 of the completions were of four yards or fewer.
Nordhoff linebacker-fullback Russell Farrar said the Rangers installed an alignment with five defensive backs to challenge Sanchez and compounded the quarterback's problems with a heavy pass rush.
"In other games no one's been putting pressure on him," said Farrar, who rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown in 27 carries. "We invited them to run but they hardly even tried."
St. Bonaventure was penalized 10 times for 118 yards, including two facemask calls and a personal foul.
Nordhoff turned the ball over four times but compensated by running on 56 of 66 offensive plays and monopolizing the clock.
Nordhoff began its first scoring drive late in the third quarter, after a poor snap and Byrum's weak punt gave the Rangers possession at the Seraph 31-yard line.
On the eighth consecutive running play, Farrar scored on a one-yard plunge. Matt Cresto added the conversion kick.
St. Bonaventure answered midway through the fourth quarter with an eight-play, 44-yard drive capped by a nine-yard scoring pass from Sanchez to Pepe Villasenor.
Villasenor completed a halfback option pass to Kirk Macias for a two-point conversion and an 8-7 Seraph lead.
Minutes later, Nordhoff drove to the St. Bonaventure 36. On third down and with the Seraph defense in confusion, Harrold left Twyman on the turf at the line of scrimmage, caught a short pass from Cresto and broke a tackle en route to the end zone.
"Shaun fell down and we blew the coverage on top of it," St. Bonaventure Coach Jon Mack said.