Long Beach, CA (Football) -- The Citrus College Football team ran all over #14 Long Beach City College in their season finale in Long Beach on Saturday afternoon. The Owls rolled up a season high 212 rushing yards and 472 total offensive yards in a 28-9 drubbing of the Vikings.
Saturday’s game was keyed by hardnosed football. Citrus did it with their defense and their running game. The defense immediately made their presence felt forcing the Vikings into punts in six of their first seven possessions.
The only Long Beach drive that resulted in a score came when the Vikings blocked Citrus’ first punt attempt of the game and got the ball on Citrus’ 15 yard line. Even then, the defense was stout as the Vikings ran three plays for negative five yards before settling for a 37 yard field goal. In the first half, Citrus held Long Beach to just 52 yards of total offense.
While the defense was setting the tone and giving the offense all the time they needed, the Owls leaned on their run game. It worked as Citrus had scores in the first and second quarters both on Ricky Johnson rushing TD’s. The overpowering run game began to open up the Citrus aerial attack as well as Rocky Moore found Michael Ball in the end zone from 25 yards out with just 39 seconds left in the half. In the first half, Citrus held the ball for a total of 19:35 compared to just 10:25 for Long Beach.
Leading 21-3 at the break, Citrus returned to the grind it out game in the second half, and ate up even more clock than they did in the first half. The Owls kept onto the ball for a whopping 21:23 in the second half, and kept the Vikings offense off the field for all but 8:37.
When the Vikings were on the field, the Citrus defense continued to fly around. In the third quarter alone, the Owls held Long Beach just 36 yards of offense, and let the Vikings onto the field for just 2:46. Long Beach would pick up another score late in the fourth, and would compile most of their 292 yards of offense in garbage time.
While the offense dominated the ball and kept it out of Long Beach’s hand, they only found the end zone once in the second half. That came when Moore connected with William Clark on a running back screen, that Clark took 37 yards to the house to put Citrus up 28-3 early in the third quarter.
In the win, Citrus was led by Johnson who carried the ball 21 times for 107 yards and those two touchdowns. Johnson averaged 5.1 yards per carry on the day. Moore was extremely efficient as he completed 20 of 26 passes for two touchdowns and most importantly no interceptions.
On the defensive side of the ball, Citrus was led by Rodney Fredrick-Mathews who had six tackles, one tackle for a loss, a pass break-up, and an interception. Jesse Illi also recorded six tackles, as the Owls harassed Long Beach quarterback Marcus Montero into 18 of 42 passing with two interceptions.
With the win, Citrus’ season ends with a 3-7 overall record and 3-2 mark in conference play.