Cougars top “doghouse” in football rivalry

Ventura Cougars celebrate victory over the Buena Bulldogs. Photo and slideshow by Trevor Jordan/The Foothill Dragon Press.

Trevor Jordan

Ventura Cougars celebrate victory over the Buena Bulldogs. Photo and slideshow by Trevor Jordan/The Foothill Dragon Press.

Though emotions flew high at the close of the heated crosstown football game Friday night, causing police to intervene between coaching staffs, the Ventura Cougars fought a nearly flawless game against the Buena Bulldogs and proved to be the team with the most heart after their 28-21 victory under the stadium lights.

Rodney Stanley, varsity quarterback for Ventura, led the Cougars to an impressive victory against rival Buena quarterback Chase Smith. Ventura High receiver Nick Rudolph was first to score for the Cougars and accounted for two of the four touchdowns that Ventura made throughout the course of the game.  

The stands went unglued and contradictory screams of triumph from the Ventura side and ‘boos’ from Buena set off the night. From there on out the Buena varsity football squad went downhill.

During the first quarter of the game, 13 yards from Buena’s goal line, Smith threw the first interception of the game during the eighth minute. There were a total of six interceptions for Buena and one fumble. For Ventura, Stanley lost possession during the second quarter after being sacked by Buena’s Sean Cobos on the opposing 43-yardline. The fumble was recovered by Buena.   

Bulldog and Cougar stamina battled out head to head until the second half of the game when Ventura players stayed light on their feet, and Buena Bulldogs lost almost all energy.

Buena managed to keep in the game when running back Andrew Martinez ran a 15-yard carry to Buena’s endzone to make it 21-14 at the start of the fourth quarter.

It made no difference, however, because Ventura answered back with yet another touchdown, setting the score at 28-14 to go into the final seven minutes of the game. The Bulldogs didn’t quit and scored another touchdown with six minutes left, giving the team a wake-up call at 28-21 and encouraging them to fight with all their strength.

Just when there was hope — Buena was at the 53-yard line with just over a minute left on the clock — Nick Januska saved Ventura from going into overtime. Smith threw his sixth and final interception, which shut the door to opportunity for the Bulldogs.

Cougar fans rushed onto the field after the clock ran down and gloated in front of Buena’s bleachers. With two painted fanatics carrying Cougar banners across and to Buena sidelines, Ventura metaphorically, “spit in the face of Buena pride,” said one disappointed Buena fan.

“Now that right there is a school with no class,” commented Foothill junior Daven Gonzales about Ventura’s behavior.

Coaches for both teams had a verbal dispute, and both coaching staffs had to be separated by four police officers.

Head coach for Ventura Cougars, Brad Steward said, “It was a fan instigated action and had nothing to do with us.”

Head coach for Buena Bulldogs, Cliff Farrar, heatedly replied, “We talked about this last year, and you’ll be hearing from me.”

After the traditional “Victory Lap” in which the rivalry trophy was paraded on the back of a golf cart, it was carried onto the field and let go from Buena’s possession and into the hands of the Ventura Cougars.

Fighting to touch and kiss the gold trophy, Ventura Cougars showed they had earned a significant win for their school. A painful sight to see for Buena fans, the win means bragging rights for the Ventura Cougars until the next rivalry game.

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