Photo by Ed Beyer
LANCASTER - Marauder football head coach Perry Jehlicka probably explained it best.
"We thought it would be a defensive struggle,"he said. "We knew it was going to be a dog fight."
He was right.
Fortunately, for AVC its defense held visiting Citrus College to only six points en route to a 13-6 victory over the Owls, Saturday night at Marauder Stadium.
"I thought the defense played great and we managed the game well offensively. I thought we should have scored one or two more times," Jehlicka said. "It's good to start conference with a win. We're fortunate to be tied for first and each week you're playing for a conference title. You want to go 1-0 each week and not leave it in anyone else's hands."
Offensively it wasn't the most efficient for the Marauders (3-3, 1-0) as they only accounted for 192 yards of total offense, but they did just enough to win. The defense only allowed 242 yards to the Owls (1-5, 0-1) and a couple of field goals by Diego Morales.
"They're as good a defensive front as we've gone against all season. Their record is not indicative of the football team they are," Jehlicka said about Citrus. "They're not your typical 1-5 team and kind have gotten the short end of the stick in games. But this is a good game for us. Minus the College of the Desert game, we've played quality defense. Our kids are so fun to watch defensively..
The Marauders trailed 3-0, following Morales' first field goal, however, DJ Payne gave AVC the lead for good following a 2-yard touchdown run putting it up 7-3 following the extra point with 9:15 remaining in the second quarter.
Leading 7-6, AVC's Armani Edden connected with John Johnson from 30 yards out for the final score of the game. It was Edden's 13 touchdown pass of the season, ranking him 13th in the state for touchdown passes. Palomar College's Matt Romero leads the state with 18.
The Marauders' defense shut out the Owls in the second half. However, AVC was shut out in the second half as well.
"The offense is still a work in progress," Jehlicka said. "We've been inconsistent with points and not where we want to be. We have limited our turnovers and being in bad situations. We're giving ourself to a chance. This was good to start conference with a win."
The Marauders travel to Santa Barbara City College on Saturday at 1pm. The Vaqueros (3-3, 0-1) lost their conference opener to Allan Hancock, 31-3, and are currently riding a two-game losing streak.