Owls claw the bowl over Gauchos

Matthew Boermeester kicks a extra point through the uprights. (Adam Kolvites)

In the 2013 Beach Bowl, Citrus College captured their first bowl victory in 25 years against Saddleback College, Nov. 23, 25-14.

At Citrus we haven’t won a bowl game in 25 years, so it was a big deal for us,” Citrus head coach Ron Ponciano said.

Both teams defensively started off on the right foot, stopping each others offense every drive through out the first quarter. Yet on a drive late in the first quarter and into the second, Citrus kicker Jaime Toscano made a 40-yard field goal to put the first points on the scoreboard, 3-0. This field goal would be the only score either defenses would allow until the third quarter.

Saddleback defensive back Davonte Merriweather interecepted Citrus quarterback Larry Cutbirth for a return of 46 yards. The following drive Citrus defensive back Derek Calderon picked off quarterback Tim Belman to start another Citrus drive where Gaucho defensive back Laquan Middleton was disqualified for targeting Citrus receiver Scott Calles. Two plays later Gaucho defensive back Doug Ruggles forced a fumble on Owl Donovan Holmes only to be recovered by Citrus to continue the drive.

After half time Citrus came out of the locker room to turnover Saddleback on downs on the first drive of the second half. Quarterback Larry Cutbirth rushed for a three-yard touchdown on Citrus’ first drive of the half, extra point succesful, 10-0. Saddleback running back Jerry Stone answered the following drive with a six-yard rushing touchdown followed by a a successful extra point, 10-7.

Continuing a drive on Saddleback’s from the end of the third quarter into the fourth, Cutbirth ran for one yard for his second rushing touchdown on the night, Toscano extra point is good, 17-7.

Beach Bowl MVP quarterback Larry Cutbirth said, “It’s amazing but you know, it’s a total team effort, so for me to just say I’m the MVP, it’s the offensive line, it takes a whole team effort…It’s a total team effort. It takes the whole team. So this is really an inidication of how the team did.”

Tim Belman started the next drive throwing a interception to Citrus defensive back Braxton Brown to give Citrus the ball almost in the redzone. Citrus capitalized on the field position with a first play 25-yard touchdown run by Emmanuel Pooler. Citrus decided to attempt the two point conversion and were successful,Cutbirth threw a pass to Robby Haines in the back of the endzone.

Late in the fourth quarter Belman connected with RJ Dedrick for a 15-yard touchdown pass. Gaucho kicker Matt Boermeester successful again on the extra point, 25-14, the final score.

“Coaching football is much bigger than winning games or bowl games, 13 straight [bowl games] or whatever,” Saddleback head coach Mark McElroy said. “My main goal out here is to help these young men be successful currently, presently, and in the future. So the things that we can teach them in the sport of football is to be successful as men, husbands, fathers, community members. That’s really what my ultimate goal is.”