MOORPARK — Moving the ball down the field did not prove difficult for the Orange Coast College football team during Saturday night's season opener at Moorpark.
Getting the ball through the uprights at the end? That was another matter entirely.
The Pirates missed four field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter and three overtime possessions.
Soon, they missed a chance to win their first season opener in four years.
Moorpark quarterback Nick Davis scored on a one-yard keeper on his team's third overtime possession, allowing the Raiders to escape with a 27-21 triple-overtime victory.
"We had our opportunities," OCC Coach Mike Taylor said. "We just didn't do what we needed to on offense. I thought we played pretty well on defense … We just have to be able to be more consistent on offense when we get down in the red zone, and be able to score points."
The points were on the foot of freshman kicker Grif Amies, a Corona del Mar High product who tied the state single-season high school record of 22 field goals last year as a senior All-American with the Sea Kings. Amies, who missed just eight field-goal tries last year for CdM, missed half that many in about 30 minutes Saturday.
Three of the four misses were wide right. The first came after the Pirates' Aarone Santos got a key interception, and Orange Coast drove the ball to the Moorpark two-yard line with 1:40 left in the fourth quarter.
Two rushes for a loss and a false start backed it up to the 13, before the 30-yard field-goal attempt, which would have given OCC a 24-21 advantage, was wide right with 1:13 left in regulation. Instead, the teams would go to overtime for the second straight year. Moorpark beat Orange Coast in overtime, 23-20, last season.
Amies also missed wide right from 23 yards on the Pirates' first overtime possession, before missing two more, each from 47 yards, on the ensuing overtime possessions. The second overtime kick, the only one that would have ended the game, never made it to the back of the end zone. The third and final overtime kick was from the middle of the field. It looked the best and had plenty of distance, but was just wide right again.
"Grif's kicked that in practice," Taylor said. "We had our chances, like I said. We just let them hang around."
Moorpark, which also had two missed field-goal tries on its first two overtime possessions, got the ball back. The Raiders converted a key fourth-and-14 play as Davis found receiver Lucas Civita over the middle for an 18-yard gain. Moorpark tailback Josh Robles then added a 17-yard run to the one, setting up Davis' final keeper.
The deficit at the end was the Pirates' first of the game. Freshman running back Larenzo Williams had a rushing touchdown and a receiving score from Cameron Biedgoly in the first half, which ended with a 14-7 OCC lead.
The Pirates again took the lead in the fourth quarter when Biedgoly connected with an open receiver streaking down the left sideline. Biedgoly found Spencer Ludin on the 60-yard touchdown pass, and after Amies' extra point, OCC had a 21-14 advantage with 10:01 left.
Moorpark would even the score two possessions later, after a questionable play. A punt was fielded and ran out of bounds at the Raiders' one-yard line.
But all that did was set up the Pirates' next play from scrimmage, a 99-yard touchdown pass from Davis to Iheanyi Obinna. He caught the up-for-grabs pass at his own 40 and was gone, tying the score at 21-21 with 5:44 left in the game.
Moorpark's other two touchdowns came after two fumbles, on a running play and punt return, respectively, set the Raiders up with excellent field position.
Shane Baumann also had an interception for OCC.