Defense leads No. 21 Hancock football clinches first conference - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Defense leads No. 21 Hancock football clinches first conference title since 2000

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Anchored by its dominant defense that shutout Antelope Valley College the final 54 minutes of the game, the Allan Hancock College football team defeated the Marauders 21-7 in Lancaster to clinch at least a share of the program’s first league title since 2000. Ranked No. 21 in state, the Bulldogs stayed perfect in American Pacific League play at 4-0 and 7-2 overall. The Marauders fell to 3-1 in league and 5-4 on the season. With one game remaining, the Bulldogs clinched at least a share of the program’s seventh conference title and first under Kris Dutra, who is in his 17th season as Hancock head coach.

The Hancock defense helped make up for two second-half turnovers by the offense with big stop after big stop. With less than five minutes to play, AVC went for it on fourth down around midfield when JD Smith took down quarterback Armani Edden and forced an incomplete pass. The Bulldogs took over on downs and cashed it in on a fourth-down play of their own. Facing fourth-and-six from the AVC 31-yard line, quarterback Jimmy Kelleher rolled out and hit tight end Dominic Chance, who barreled through the AVC defense for a 31-yard game-clinching touchdown that made it 21-7 with less than three minutes to play.

AVC took the lead early in the game by scoring on its second drive of the game with a four-play, 53-yard drive that ended with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Edden to John Johnson to make it 7-0 Marauders less than six minutes into the game. The Hancock defense did not allow another point the rest of the way, a stretch that included 13 AVC drives.

Hancock answered on its next possession with an 11-play, 69-yard drive. Freshman running back Isaac Bausley ran it in from 10 yards out to tie 7-7 with 4:54 to play in the opening quarter. It marked the Nipomo High School graduate’s fourth touchdown of the season.

The second quarter was a defensive battle as both teams were held scoreless. The Hancock defense stepped up on back-to-back plays after AVC drove down inside the Hancock 10-yard line. On third down, freshman Dominic King sacked Edden for a nine-yard loss that helped keep the game tied at 7-7 at the half.

The game remained tied at 7-7 into the third quarter when the Hancock defense created an opportunity for the offense as King forced and recovered a fumble at the AVC 21-yard line. Four plays later, Kelleher ran it in from one-yard out to give Hancock the lead for good 14-7 with 5:31 to play in the third.

The Bulldog defense took care of business the rest of the way as the offense provided some cushion in the fourth quarter with Chance’s third touchdown catch of the season.

The Bulldogs limited the Marauders to 188 yards of total offense, 122 through the air and 66 yards rushing. Hancock finished 303 yards of total offense, 229 yards rushing and 74 passing yards.

Bausley led the Bulldogs with 90 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown. Damon Whitmill, Jr. added 84 yards on 20 carries. Ryheem Skinner rushed for 49 yards on 15 carries.

Kelleher completed six of his 18 pass for 74 yards. He threw one touchdown and one interception. The sophomore also scored one rushing touchdown. Sophomore receiver Michael Ferraro led the Bulldogs with three catches for 38 yards, while Chance had two receptions.

Defensively, Basiru Jobe led the Bulldogs with 16 total tackles, including 1.5 for loss. Smith tallied 10 tackles, including two for loss. King finished with seven tackles and two sacks. Osa Omokaro added one sack among his four tackles and three quarterback hurries.

The Bulldogs will look to complete a perfect run through league play next Saturday, Nov. 11, when they host Citrus. The Citrus Owls defeated L.A. Valley 10-7 this week to improve to 2-2 in league and 3-6 overall. As of now, kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m., but there is a chance it will be moved to 1 p.m.

The last time Hancock went undefeated in league play and won an outright league title was in 1997 when the Bulldogs belonged to the Western State Conference. 

-Written by Allan Hancock College

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