With a win over Santa Barbara one week before, the taste of victory was still fresh on the tongues of Citrus Football as they suited up to battle conference foe LA Valley, and turn their hard fought win into a streak.
Personnel changes on the offensive side of the ball, and a defense that terrorizes its opponents on a weekly basis, proved to be lucrative once again as Ron Ponciano's Owls clawed their way to a 10-7 conference win over the visitors Saturday.
Coach Ponciano would give Darreon Lockett the nod at Quarterback once again, and the constant threat of his running game mixed with timely pass completions proved to be the right combination, including his 17 yard TD pass to Baron Franklin in the 1st quarter and a beauty to receiver Jacob Bystry, who pulled down an athletic catch in the face of a closing LA Valley defender and took a hit for the team. Bystry would hang on tight and gain 28 yards for his team on the play.
The Fighting Owl defense once again proved its worth as one of the best defenses in the state of California, as it improved upon it's already impressive points allowed average. The Owl defense has only allowed 146 points this entire season for an average of just 16.2 points per game. Even more impressive than that, Citrus has only allowed an average of 255.2 total yards per game, which ranks 3rd in the state.
Sacks from Henry Karimu, Peyrun Em and Scean Mustin-Sherman stressed the backfield all afternoon and the constant pressure forced three interceptions, one each by Jeremiah Vasquez, Shawn Franklin and Michael Orantes, Jr. Franklin's pick was spiced up with a feisty 33 yard runback that fired up the crowd and the Owl bench. Henry Pigee put his stamp on the Owl's defensive display with 10 total tackles, somehow putting himself near the ball on almost every play of the game.
The Citrus kicker, Diego Morales, who hasn't missed a field goal at home this season and has an overall 86 percent success rate splitting the uprights, put the Owls on top 10-7 with his 23 yard boot late in the 4th quarter. On the season, Morales is 4th in the state in field goal percentage and is tied for first on PAT's with a perfect 100% mark. His consistency paid off well for Citrus, and the team held on tight to the narrow lead, as Citrus now moves to 2-2 in Conference play.
The Fighting Owls will face off against division leader Allan Hancock this Saturday, for what will be the last regular season game for Citrus, and a shot at going out in style with a steal from the top team on their home turf, and ending their undefeated conference streak.