COSTA MESA — If they are wise, Orange Coast College freshman quarterback Jon Newsom and Pirates first-year offensive coordinator Rudy Caamano will always remember their first community college football game in those roles.
But OCC Coach Mike Taylor and the rest of the Pirates may just as soon want to purge the entire season-opening contest from memory.
Newsom, who threw two touchdown passes Saturday, the second with 8:25 left in regulation to help OCC tie visiting Moorpark in a game that eventually went to overtime, threw his third interception on the first play of OCC's initial overtime possession.
Raiders cornerback Victor Fermin covered two-thirds the width of the field to pick off Newsom's only overtime throw — a floating spiral lofted late across the middle as he rolled toward the right sideline — in the end zone to seal a 23-20 triumph for the Ventura County school.
After the OCC defense, which amassed eight sacks and limited the Raiders on the scoreboard, despite their 85 offensive plays, held the visitors to a field goal on the opening possession of overtime, Newsom — and it would follow, Caamano — elected to go for it all.
It was the same risk-reward reflex that produced both OCC's offensive touchdowns. But it also helped lead to four OCC interceptions and one incomplete third-down bomb on OCC's second-to-last possession of regulation that prompted a punt, rather than perhaps a chance at a long field-goal try by sophomore kicker Jackson Dionne, who had booted field goals of 53, 51 and 48 yards in 2011.
On third-and-seven from the Moorpark 37-yard line, when just four yards would have put Dionne in range for a 50-yard attempt, Newsom threw into the end zone with no reward. OCC punted on the next play and barely got past midfield on its final possession of regulation.
"We need to know where we are on the field," Taylor said when asked about the aforementioned third-down bomb, "because we have a kicker who can kick field goals."
Newsom and freshman backup Cameron Biedgoly, whose only throw was intercepted late in the first half, combined for four completions and three interceptions before halftime.
Still, OCC was within 17-13, as Newsom found Cam Oliver for a 28-yard touchdown pass to cap a nine-play, 68-yard drive with 4:18 left in the first quarter that was one of five first-half lead changes.
After Derek Kirk booted the second of his three field goals to put the Raiders up, 10-6 early in the second quarter, OCC sophomore Clay Guess returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.
OCC's final two possessions of the second quarter ended on interceptions and its first four of the second half produced half of its eight punts.
But after a fair catch at midfield, OCC used just six plays to erase a 20-13 deficit, as freshman Bryan Keller plucked a fluttering Newsom deep ball over a defender for a 36-yard scoring play.
Dionne, who missed the first PAT — a play Taylor later lamented, due to the absence of sophomore holder Mike Frank, who quit the team earlier in the week — connected this time to knot the score. Dionne did not miss in 27 PAT attempts as a freshman.
OCC's defense kept Moorpark's offense in knots, particularly in the second half, when it registered five sacks and produced negative yardage on seven other Moorpark running plays.
Sophomore end Vince Coleman (13 tackles) had two sacks, while sophomore outside linebacker Austin Bennett (12 tackles) and freshman end Robert Madrigal were in on 1.5 sacks each to lead a relentless OCC pass rush.
Ends David Martinez and Joe Franco, tackle Talon Sudbeck and nickleback Shane Bauman also took down Moorpark quarterback Ben Conlin in the pocket, helping keep OCC in the game.
Linebackers Nick Cody (13 tackles) and Chris Aguilar (12) also flourished, while safety Kellon Truxton intercepted a pass in the end zone on the final play of the first half.
But in addition to their passing struggles, the Pirates, who led the state in rushing last season with All-American tailback Domenic Betts (now academically ineligible), managed just 66 yards on 32 rushing attempts, including 11 plays stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage.
"I thought [Newsom] did some good things, but he made some bad choices," Taylor said. "It's a new speed for him. He needs to look at what he did and improve on it."