Offensive coordinator Jeff Fischer told him it was his time to shine.
“I’m ready whenever you’re ready, coach,” Terrell Vaughn responded.
Taking the field for the first time in 21 months, Vaughn and the Ventura College football team showed they have not lost a step during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaughn had five catches for 105 yards and a touchdown as the No. 2-ranked Pirates topped host Moorpark College, 62-5, in the 53rd Citrus Cup game Saturday night at Griffin Stadium.
“It’s been too long,” Vaughn said. “It felt great to be back out here doing what I love.”
The returning All-American receiver from Oxnard took a short pass 79 yards for a touchdown to break open the game on the first play of the second quarter.
“I took it and saw the inside lane,” Vaughn said. “It felt great.”
Ventura quarterback Jordan Pachot completed 15 of 20 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown in his debut, the running game piled up 198 yards and seven touchdowns from four different backs and the defense did not allow a touchdown
“I think we played three really good quarters of football,” Mooshagian said. “I feel better about where this team is than I have for a few years.”
Julian Kelly ran for 72 yards and three TDs on seven carries, Ventura High graduate Chuck Wick ran for 70 yards and two TDs on seven carries, and Boobie Miles III and Hueneme High graduate Alex Tili also ran for scores.
“I told them not to look at the scoreboard,” Mooshagian said. “Just play.”
The Ventura County Community College District’s football rivalry game was moved to Week 1 this season because the two teams no longer play in the same conference, due to Moorpark’s shift to the American Division.
“When you play it in the first game, there’s a lot more emotion in it,” Mooshagian said, “because nobody knows how good anybody is.”
Although the Raiders had a good idea the Pirates, who played for the state championship in 2018 and finished 2019 ranked No. 10 in the state, would be their stiffest test of the restart season.
“We came into this game knowing this would be the best team on our schedule,” Moorpark coach Mike Stuart said. “They were firing on all cylinders.”
Freshman running back Joe Llanos led the Raiders with 111 yards from scrimmage, carrying the ball five times for 60 yards and catching five passes for 51 yards.
Moorpark played three quarterbacks who combined to complete 11 of 32 passes for 117 yards.
Stuart was pleased with Llanos and fellow freshman running back Jamar McFarlane, as well as freshman tackles Spencer Davis (Camarillo High) and Ricky Munoz (Westlake High).
“Those guys did a good job in their first college game,” Stuart said.
Defensive back Daniel Pierce, a Pacifica High graduate, had an interception for Moorpark.
“That’s the guy who was by far was making the most plays out there,” Stuart said.
After Wick raced around right end for a 30-yard TD run to give Ventura an early 7-0 lead, Llanos broke off a 49-yard run off right tackle.
That set up Moorpark’s first points, a 37-yard field goal by Pacifica High graduate Scooter Carranza.
“He did a good job in his first game kicking and punting,” Stuart said of Carranza.
The Pirates scored the next 56 points, building a 49-3 halftime lead and a 62-3 lead after three quarters.
Moorpark was still within 7-3 when the Raiders stopped the Pirates on downs in the red zone. But it fumbled the ball back on its next offensive snap and Tili capitalized with a 3-yard TD run.
“The Moorpark kids played hard, but this was the first time they got to play against another team because they didn’t get their scrimmage,” said Mooshagian.
Moorpark’s scrimmage with Cal Lutheran University was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols.
“We at least got a three-quarter (scrimmage) against Santa Barbara (City),” Mooshagian said.
Freshman Dequan Benjamin blocked the next punt off the umpire and scooped up the ricochet for a 10-yard touchdown return for a 21-3 VC lead with 3:38 left in the first quarter.
After Vaughn opened the second quarter with his scoring catch-and-run, Miles followed with a 14-yard TD run to cap an eight-play, 70-yard drive and Wick had a 4-yard TD run to finish a 11-play, 67-yard drive.
Kelly had touchdown runs of 10, 20 and 5 yards in the third quarter to finish the VC scoring.
“We had a lot of issues with formations and lining up,” Stuart said. “These guys hadn’t had a chance to play a football game yet.”
Both teams have plenty to tighten up. MC’s final points came on an errant VC punt snap, which bounced through the end zone for a safety with 13:50 to play.
“We’ve got the makings of a good group, but we’ve got to play a lot better,” Mooshagian said. “I thought our defense was unbelievable.”
Both teams were dealing with a myriad of issues associated with COVID-19 protocols. Some players were forced to sit. Other players, including Pachot, played despite being unable to practice during the week.
“We have so many more obstacles to deal with,” Mooshagian said. “COVID protocols will make this an even more challenging season for all of us.”
All VCCCD athletic programs are subject to weekly COVID-19 testing and other protocols. The district has mandated vaccinations for everyone on campus, including the general student body, by Oct. 15, which happens to coincide with the teams’ bye week.
Both teams have reported high vaccination rates on their rosters.
“These games are going to be interesting with all those dynamics,” Mooshagian said.