Bakersfield College staged a frantic second-half rally that fell short Saturday night in a 24-16 National Northern Conference opener at Memorial Stadium.
The Renegades (1-3) lost their third straight. They trailed 24-0 at halftime but blanked the Pirates (3-1) in the second half.
BC fought back to make it close on a pair of touchdown runs by freshman running back Preston Hodges, covering 1 and 6 yards.
Both were followed by 2-point conversions, the latter a pass from Derrik Martin to Triton Douglas with 5:56 left that made it an 8-point game.
BC had a last-ditch chance when it took over on its 7 with 2:04 remaining and no timeouts.
Despite that, BC reached the Ventura 39 with two seconds left but Martin was sacked before he could launch a hail-mary pass into the end zone.
One play that hurt the clock-watching Renegades was a BC sack against Ventura quarterback Brad Odeman on Ventura's final possession.
BC called its last timeout with 3:20 remaining and Ventura facing a third-and-14 play.
Odeman was sacked but threw a pass as he was going down. The officials appeared unsure whether intentional grounding had occurred and delayed spotting the ball and starting the play clock by at least 30 seconds.
Ventura took a delay-of-game penalty that finally stopped the clock with 2:14 left, meaning 1:06 ran off for one play and the 25-second game clock delay call.
It was Ventura's first win in Memorial Stadium in the program's history. The Pirates had been 0-13 since 1982.
Odeman came into the game with a state-leading 1,018 passing yards and 15 touchdowns.
He was impressive in the first half, completing 18-of-28 for 183 yards. But he was only 7-of-13 for 53 yards in the second half and threw his first interception of the season, which set up Hodges' second TD run.
Martin, who started BC's first three games at quarterback, replaced Cruise Adams midway through the second quarter when Adams was injured on a vicious blind-side a sack. Adams a Garces graduate, was on the BC sidelines the rest of the game.
Martin finished 15 of 24 passing for 216 yards.
BC also got a strong game from sophomore wide receiver Brock Martin, the team's leading returning pass catcher from last season who had only three catches for 20 yards in BC's first three games. He had seven catches for 137 yards against Ventura.
Odeman picked apart the BC defense to spark the Pirates' 24-0 halftime lead.
And the Pirates, who have not been much of a running team in previous games, showed surprising balance with 142 rushing yards the first two quarters. But they were held to 31 net rushing yards after that.
Adams was 4-of-8 passing for 60 yards before he was injured.
BC' best first-half scoring chance was ended by a fumble when Darrik Martin's perfect pass to Brock Martin was caught at the 15 but the ball was stripped away for BC's second lost fumble of the first half.
BC lost two fumbles and had two interceptions.
Odeman consistently found open receivers for medium-range passes working against BC's zone defense in the first half.
The play of the game was a circus 22-yard TD catch by wide receiver Dylan McDaniel, who was violently flipped as he made a leaping catch in the end zone. Somehow he held onto the ball, which was Ventura's third TD.
BC, hoping for a consistent ground game to control the clock and keep the potent Ventura offense off the field, had only 55 net rushing yards in the first half.