Citrus Football Too Hot to Handle at Santa Barbara

A trio of Owl defenders converge. Image: Treyvon Watts-Hale
A trio of Owl defenders converge. Image: Treyvon Watts-Hale

Saturday's road game at Santa Barbara City College was another test for the new and improved 2018 Citrus Football squad, one that they passed with flying colors in a solid 34-13 victory. The Owls have already made their mark on the 2018 season, compiling a 3-1 record with the win at Santa Barbara, and rank amongst the state's best teams. 

Citrus went into Saturday's matchup ranked 20th in the State of California, and 4th in the American Division. It's expected that the Owls will move up in this week's rankings, which come out tomorrow.  

In Saturday's contest, Citrus owned the day across the board. The Citrus offense continued to assert itself, bulldozing the Santa Barbara defense with an unstoppable onslaught of backs that can easily go off for over 100 yards on any given day.The stellar run game, made possible by a platoon of hard-nosed, gritty offensive linemen, has been a sight to behold. On Saturday the offense pieced together 391 total yards, a whopping 304 of those yards came on the ground attack, as did 3 of their 5 touchdowns. 

On the defense side of the ball, The Owls have been an absolute nightmare for their opponents. The Citrus defensive lineup, highlighted by seasoned veteran leaders, intensely competitive and physical athletes, and a work ethic unmatched in Southern California right now, will continue to give opponents problems when they line up on the ball. To prove it, the Owls held the home team to just 145 yards total offense, and held the Vaqueros on Saturday to just one touchdown. 

Even with the much improved lineup and game plan execution, the Citrus coaching staff maintains a study focus on improving each week and never letting up. Associate Head Coach and Run Game Coordinator Tanner Farwell had this to say about the Citrus mindset, "It was a really good game statistically and the run game was working well. However, we could have used better technique to avoid 6 holding calls, which hurt us offensively. We as a unit have to keep working daily to get better at mastering our craft." That sentiment is shared by Head Coach Ron Ponciano. We asked coach Ponc what the team's focus will be moving forward into the 2018 season. "It's actually pretty simple, we have to get better in all three phases: special teams, we have to tackle better cover better; offense, we need to control the line of scrimmage better; and defense, we have to get aligned and be much better at tackling."

State Rankings and Stat Leaders

Citrus has made its mark in the state rankings in 2018. Both team and individual stat rankings are a testament to the game performances of these athletes. Perhaps most notable from the press box is the absolute turnaround offensively for the Owls from 2017. Throughout last season, the Owls complied a total of 160 points in 10 games, for an average of just 16 points a game. Compare that to 2018, where the Owls have just finished their 4th game, and have already scored 169 points. Defensively, Citrus gave up 175 points all season (17.5 points per game), a great stat by all standards. However the 2018 Owls have doubled down and allowed an average of just 10 points per game. 

As a team, Citrus is amongst the premiere teams in California. The Owl defense, ranked 1st in the state, leads all other schools in several categories. Currently, Citrus is #1 overall in: yards allowed per game (138); passing yards allowed per game (102); and rushing yards allowed per game. Citrus is 3rd overall in total points allowed (40).

Offensively, Citrus ranks 5th in total points scored (169). Citrus' run game has been impressive and ranks highly statewide. The Owls are 4th in rushing TD's (13); 5th in total rushing yards (947) and average yards per rush (5.6); and 6th in yards per game (237). 

Given the talented lineup, it will be seen if the Owls can maintain their winning ways into conference play and beyond. The Owls take the field next at home this Saturday vs  Allan Hancock. Kickoff is at 1:00 PM at Citrus Stadium. 

For updated scores, statistics, photos and more, visit www.citrusowls.com