Football: Owls Stay Perfect In Home Win Over Santa Barbara

Austin Zavala hands the ball off to Walter Carl. Carl rushed for 99 yards on 16 carries Saturday. Image: Thomas Garcia
Austin Zavala hands the ball off to Walter Carl. Carl rushed for 99 yards on 16 carries Saturday. Image: Thomas Garcia

Citrus Football continued it's red hot 2019 season on Saturday. The Owls beat visiting Southern California Regional opponent Santa Barbara 13-3 for the team's 4th straight win of 2019. The undefeated Owls improve to 4-0. 

Citrus used its 1st possession to set the pace for the rest of the game, as the Owls moved the ball steadily downfield, establishing its run game with conviction. The drive would last a little over 5 minutes and cover 75 yards. Citrus would convert on a well executed pass play from Austin Zavala to Sal Tovar to go up 6-0. A miscue on the PAT would hold the Owls at 6 until later in the game. 

The next points would come in the 2nd quarter, a 30 yard season-best field goal by Santa Barbara kicker Lucas Eilbacher. The score would remain 6-3 with Citrus in the lead, until late in the 4th quarter. That's when a monster drive by Citrus began. Starting deep in their own territory on the 9 yard line, Citrus banged their way upfield, with the offensive line continuing to make big holes for the Citrus platoon of running backs. The Owls made their way deep into Vaquero territory, and found themselves with 4th and 5 on the visitor 16 yard line. The coaching staff called in a passing play, and Austin Zavala found Jeremiah Lineberger for a 16 yard reception and touchdown. The score result in an uproar of celebration from the Citrus bench and the home crowd. 

Citrus wold hold Santa Barbara off on their final drive, limiting them to their own 40 yard line and forcing a turnover on downs after Jason Villa hurried the Vaquero quarterback. 

Satistically the game went well for the home team. Citrus put up 298 yards of total offense, 214 of those on the ground. The Citrus run game defense was on fire once again, with the Owls allowing just 51 yards rushing on the day. The home team would get a refreshing boost from the defensive secondary, with Marquise Ogletree and China Mbaraguru each picking off passes. Mbaraguru would add some frosting to his, returning the pick 25 yards. The team altogether hurried up the quarterback 5 times. Offensively Justyn Alexander and Walter Carl both rushed for 99 yards, with Alexander darting towards a 30 yard long. Austin Zavala went 4-8 on passing, scoring 2 TD's in the air. Villa would end the game with a team-leading 6 tackles, and Eden Smith and Carlos Salinas both chipped in 4 tackles and a sack. 

The Owls, who are currently ranked 23rd in California by the Southern California Football Coaches Association, will likely see a bump up in this week's poll. Citrus plays again next Saturday at Allan Hancock. Kickoff is at 2:00 PM. 

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