SANTA BARBARA — Despite sloppy first half play, the Santa Monica College Corsairs rallied back to secure a 33-9 win over the Santa Barbara Vaqueros Saturday on the road thanks in large part to the defense.

On the Corsairs’ opening possession, punter Jose Esquiviel could only watch as the ball rolled through the back of the end-zone for a safety that put the Vaqueros up, 2-0. The Vaqueros capitalized on the subsequent drive, when Vaqueros running back Chad Wilson scored on a 52-yard run that put them up 9-0 to end the first quarter. It would be the only time they would score.

The Vaqueros were later able to capitalize off of a Corsair turnover as SMC drove the ball all the way to the Vaqueros 18 yard line when running back Myles Johnson fumbled the ball to kill a possible scoring drive. The Corsair offense was not clicking as they turned the ball over twice to the Vaqueros, both on fumble recoveries.

The Corsair defense forced a key turnover in the first half when defensive lineman, and Santa Monica High School alum, Joel Ramos forced a sack-fumble that was recovered by fellow defensive lineman Martin Perry. The turnover set up a Corsair touchdown when quarterback Alfonso Medina found running back Aaron Jones for a 17-yard touchdown pass to end the half and bring the score to 9-7 in favor of Santa Barbara.

SMC Head Coach Gifford Lindheim was not very pleased with his offense as they only had 105 total yards and two key turnovers that could have led to scoring opportunities.

“You can’t turn the ball over,” he said “You cant be a successful offense that way.”

Early in the third quarter it looked like the Corsairs would continue their turnover woes as running back Alonso Frederick would fumble at the 50 yard line, recovered by the Vaqueros. But the Corsair defense stood strong as they held the Vaqueros to three straight three-and-out drives.

The Corsairs would take advantage of the situation as running back Johnson found the endzone on an 18 yard run that put SMC on top 13-9 after a failed two point conversion.

The Vaqueros showed why they led the conference in turnovers as they fumbled the kickoff away and landed in the hands of SMC’s Pipkin that set up a 30-yard touchdown pass from Medina to wide receiver Kris Comas to give them a commanding 20-9 lead. Comas also played for Samohi.

The Corsair defense came to play as they would force fumble after fumble capitalizing on each scoring 33 unanswered points on their way to a win.

Defensive Coordinator Steven Garcia was pleased with how his defense played saying, “We rose to the challenge,” he said “ If everybody does there assignment, we can have a game like this.”

Garcia was especially pleased with Pipkin who recovered two key fumbles for the Corsairs.

“Daniel Pipkin is what football is all about,” he said “the guy is a football player.”

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