That’s how close the LBCC football team was to beating Ventura College to claim an outright conference championship and a berth in the state playoffs on Saturday night. Instead, the Vikings’ costly mistakes held them back in a narrow loss to the Pirates, 30-26.
“Too many mistakes tonight, dug us a huge hole,” said LBCC coach Brett Peabody. “We had two chances at the end and we didn’t punch it in. I’m proud of the team for fighting back, there’s a lot tonight I didn’t like but I love the way we fought back.”
All isn’t lost for LBCC (7-3) despite the defeat. While the Vikings will miss out on the state playoffs, they do claim a piece of the three-way tie for the conference championship and they will host Southwestern College Saturday at 6 p.m in the Southern California Bowl. LBCC has won at least a share of the conference title in three of the last four years and could win their fifth bowl game in six years with a win this Saturday.
Missed field goals, turnovers, blown defensive assignments, and penalties led the Vikings to a 30-10 deficit after three quarters. LBCC stormed back as quarterback Derrach West ran in a touchdown, then the defense intercepted the ball, and Talaun Patton ran it in to make it 30-24.
Over the final 5:38 of the game, LBCC had the ball three times but couldn’t score again. The defense posted a safety to make it even closer, but the offense couldn’t punch it in. Their closest chance came on a 1st and goal, which eventually turned into a second and third and goal from the one yard line. Patton surged ahead twice, but was knocked back short both times. He was close enough on one of the attempts that the Vikings coaches felt he’d broken the plane, which would have given them the lead, and likely the win.
It was a frustrating result from a game that saw LBCC outgain their opponent 360 to 317 yards and out-possess them 35:48 to 24:12.
West ran in a pair of touchdowns to lead the Vikings. D’Anthony Jones had 11 tackles and a sack, Dallas Branch had an interception, and Isaiah Hobson and Divine Obichere both had fumble recoveries for LBCC.