Ventura fights to comeback against Rio Mesa


Senior Noah Conboy (number eight) ready to lower his shoulder for the hit. Photo by: Gavin Cross

Gavin Cross

On Friday Sept. 28, the Ventura Cougars played the Rio Mesa Spartans in their first league match of the season.

Junior Jadon Cline (number 17) running into the end zone after an impressive 65 yard run. Photo by: Gavin Cross

To start off the game, the Cougars gained a big first down but then were led into a three and out. Midway through the first quarter, junior Zack Rodriguez (number 80) came in clutch with an interception at their own 30 yard line. Junior Carson Willis (number one) showed his running skills with a nice seven yard quarterback keeper to get a first down. With 4:33 left in the first quarter, Willis went to pitch the ball, but it was fumbled and Rio Mesa recovered the ball. Ventura and Rio Mesa battled it out for the rest of the quarter, with no one gaining a lead.

Conboy ready to lower his shoulder for the hit. Photo by: Gavin Cross

The second quarter had a slow start, with only Rio Mesa scoring a two yard touchdown on fourth and goal. Although the PAT was no good, the score was set at six to zero, Rio Mesa. After a short drive, senior Noah Conboy (number eight), failed to gain a first down on a fake punt. Shortly after the failed conversion, Rodriguez picked off another Rio Mesa pass at the Cougars own 41 yard line. With 2:22 left in the second quarter, Ventura fumbled the ball at Rio Mesa’s 29 yard line and Rio Mesa recovered the ball. After a long drive by Rio Mesa, they threw a 31 yard touchdown pass with 49 seconds to go, bringing the score up to 13-0 at the end of the half.

The second half started with a touchback kickoff from junior Rourke Rieman (number 18) and Rio Mesa went on to a three and out for the first drive. After Rio Mesa punted the ball, a 16 yard touchdown pass was thrown to Rodriguez, making the score thirteen to seven with 9:29 left in the third quarter. After the Cougars touchdown, number one on Rio Mesa ran a 96 yard kickoff return into the endzone raising the score to twenty to seven.

Rodriguez receiving a touchdown pass midway through the third quarter. Photo By: Gavin Cross

Shortly after this, junior Jadon Cline (number 17) ran 65 yards for a touchdown making it a one score game, 20-14. On the next drive, the Spartans decided to go for it on fourth down and the runningback was brought down short by junior Liam McGee (number 26). After the failed conversion, the Cougars came back into the game with a 20 yard touchdown pass to Rodriguez with 6:59 left in the third quarter. The Spartans scored a one yard touchdown and completed the two point conversion bringing the score up to 28-21 for the remainder of the third quarter.

The Cougars scored the first points of the fourth quarter with a field goal by Rieman with 10:42 left in the fourth quarter. The score was then 28-24, Rio Mesa remaining in the lead. The next time they received the ball, the Spartans completed a 20 yard pass to convert on fourth down. Shortly after that on another fourth down, the Spartans completed an 18 yard touchdown pass raising the score to 35-24. At the end of the game with 37 seconds left, Rio Mesa took a knee which ran the clock down and sealed the game with a victory.