The Southern California Football Association released its 2012 schedule Monday.
Ventura College football coach Steve Mooshagian was pleased by a tough non-conference slate that includes visits by Riverside (Sept. 1), which went 11-0 last fall, including a win over Southern California champ Mount San Antonio, and Saddleback (Oct. 7) and trips to Long Beach City (Sept. 8) and Los Angeles Harbor (Sept. 15).
"I like it," said Mooshagian. "It shows that we've arrived and people are looking at us in a totally different way. We've earned some respect.
"If you want to be the best, you have to play the best. That's how we're approaching it."
The season opener against Riverside, coached by former Palomar and San Diego State head coach Tom Craft, will be a marquee event.
"I love it," said Mooshagian, the former Sacramento State head coach. "Two former Division I head coaches (matched up)... Tom is a hell of a coach."
Moorpark, which joins VC, Bakersfield, Hancock, Canyons, Pasadena and Cerritos in a reconfigured SCFA Northern Conference this fall, opens at Orange Coast and hosts Citrus and Santa Ana.
The annual Citrus Cup game is the fifth week of the season, Sept. 29 at Moorpark.
The SCFA interrupted the Big Game rivalry after 48 years of continuous play. This will be the first fall since 1962 that VC and Santa Barbara City don't meet on the football field.
Meanwhile, Moorpark retained its other local rival, Los Angeles Pierce. The Raiders go to Woodland Hills Oct. 8.