They have given away their prime positions. The route to glory may not be as clear as it once was.
But the Ventura College and Moorpark College football teams are not prepared to give up on their seasons, despite giving away key conference games last Saturday.
Ventura gifted a 37-24 loss at Canyons that was tied 24-24 entering the fourth quarter on a muffed punt and an interception return for a touchdown.
"It's frustrating," said Ventura coach Steve Mooshagian. "It's been the story of that league. When you play a schedule like we play, all the teams are dang good. ... Turnovers kill you."
Moorpark, a taker over the course of a six-game winning streak, gave the ball away five times in a 20-15 loss to visiting Citrus.
"We just didn't execute very well," said Moorpark quarterback Zach Shultis. "Just across the board, we didn't play very well. But we've addressed it and we're ready to move on from it."
But both teams can still extend their seasons with wins in Saturday's regular- season finales.
"I'm proud that we're going into the last game of the season with something on the line," said Mooshagian.
Ventura (5-4, 2-2), ranked No. 10 in Southern California, can clinch a winning record and solidify a bowl berth by beating visiting El Camino. Although Mooshagian isn't willing to concede the Pirates' playoff chances are completely gone.
"Mathematically, although it is a long shot, we're still in that playoff picture," said Mooshagian, whose team might be able to wriggle into the Southern California regional playoffs on a three-way tiebreaker with a win combined with a Cerritos loss to Hancock.
With a win at No. 11 Los Angeles Harbor (7-2, 4-0), No. 12 Moorpark (6-3, 3-1) can still win the Western Conference title on a head-to-head tiebreaker.
"It's huge," said Shultis. "It's what we set out for in the beginning of the year, to still be able to fight for that championship with one game left. We're excited for it."