Renegades rally at home to keep playoff hopes alive
After struggling to move the ball in the first half, the Bakersfield College football team faced its first halftime deficit at home, but rallied back behind gadget plays and a fourth-quarter defensive red-zone stop to beat Cerritos College 21-14 on Oct. 27.
“I thought we played our tail off,” said BC coach Jeff Chudy. “It was a great win. We knew it was going to be a four-quarter game, and our guys never got down and did a great job hanging in there. We made a lot of mistakes and shot ourselves in the foot in the first half, but we rallied from it so I’m proud how we played.”
With this win, the Renegades (6-2, 3-1 NNC) managed to stay undefeated at home, broke a six-game losing streak to Cerritos and ensured a winning record for the season. BC also has the opportunity to make the playoffs if it wins out, and if Riverside College loses one of its final two games.
The Renegades got a big game out of receiver Marquise Johnson, who had 75 receiving yards and two touchdowns on three receptions. Quarterback Brian Burrell also had a good game, throwing for 229 passing yards and two touchdowns on 12 of 27 passing.
BC was able to strike first with a 59-yard touchdown pass from Burrell to Johnson, but after that the first half was dominated by Cerritos. In the second quarter the Falcons would score on back-to-back touchdown drives right before the end of the half.
BC started to move the ball in the second half behind its wildcat offense, in which a running back took a shotgun-formation snap and Burrell was split wide. The Renegades managed to get three first downs with running back Jalen Sykes running the wildcat, including two on fourth down. Then BC took advantage on another trick play, but this time it was a toss to running back Curtis McGregor, and he threw it to receiver Brock Martin for a 22-yard touchdown.
“We were going to take advantage of what we had in the personnel standpoint, and I thought the wildcat served its purpose by helping us convert on some fourth downs,” said Chudy. “These trick plays only work when you execute them and when the timing is right. Everyone did their job. That’s what this team is. We have a lot of guys that are unselfish, that do their job and know what their role is.”
Cerritos would block the point after to keep a 14-13 lead, but after a quick three and out for Cerritos offense, BC got the ball back with a chance to take the lead. The Renegades once again started to move the ball, but this time Burrell would set up BC in the red zone with a 36-yard pass to tight end Mike Dunn. BC took the lead on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Burrell to Johnson. The Renegades would convert on a two-point conversion to push the lead to seven.
After Cerritos had another three and out, they chose to punt it away, and forced an interception from Burrell. The Falcons got the ball at BC’s 19-yard line due to a personal foul after the interception. After another penalty against BC, Cerritos was setup at the Renegades five-yard line. The Renegades defense once again rose to challenge, and stopped them for three downs. On fourth down, Cerritos’s quarterback Paul Lopez threw a pass to a receiver in the end zone, but the pass was deflected by defensive back Chris Hannible.
“Just told them that we knew what play they were going to line up in, and Chris Hannible, that’s why he was the player of the year in high school last year,” said Chudy. “Big-time players make big-time plays. He just made a great play on the ball.”
BC got the ball back but couldn’t run out the clock so Cerritos had one more chance to tie the game. Lopez tried one last heave to the end zone, but was brought down by linebacker Keylon Hollis before he could throw it.
“I felt electric when I brought him down,” said Hollis on the final play. “It felt good.”
Johnson commented on the team’s performance.
“We did pretty well,” said Johnson. “In the first half, we weren’t executing as good as we could, but the second half we played really well. I thought our offense did well, but not great because we can do better. It got us the win, so I’ll take it.
“I thought I did good overall, but I could’ve done better in some of the plays. Like when Brian threw that interception, I could’ve done a better job of coming back and fighting for the ball.”
Chudy commented on how the team responded after a tough first half.
“I thought we answered the bell,” he said. “We came into this game knowing it would be a gut check and it was. Our guys never panicked, and my hat’s off to them. Defensively, I thought we extended drives because we made penalties that were foolish, and some were questionable, but our guys hung in there. I thought we played well on defense.
“I also thought Brian played a good football game. He had that mistake at the end, and I’m sure if he had to do it all over again he wouldn’t have made that throw, but he was just trying to make something happen. We’re on a four-game winning streak, so this was a big win.”
On Oct. 20, BC beat Moorpark College 31-3 coming off their bye week.
The Renegade offense got to a quick start taking an early 14-0 lead, and the defense controlled Moorpark only giving up 226 offensive yards.
“We got a nice win after a couple weeks off,” said Chudy. “Our guys came out and were kind of business like. They didn’t do anything super flashy. We played well on defense. We shut them out for most of the game. All in all, it was a good win. Anytime you can go on the road and beat Moorpark, it’s a good win.”
BC is scheduled to play next at Allan Hancock on Nov. 3.