‘Gades pumped to win after tough loss

Leanne Cave

The Bakersfield College Renegades will have to wait until Oct. 13 to take on the West Hills College Falcons.

The Commission on Athletics, which oversees community college athletics in California, announced Wedesday that all conference games will be played as scheduled this weekend. But late Thursday, the COA said they would leave it up to the individual colleges as to whether the games would be played, according to a press release from BC spokesman Brent Rush.

BC President Sandra Serrano and West Hills College President Frank Gornick agreed to reschedule Saturday’s BC home opener. Tickets for the postponed game will be honored on the new date, the release said.

The home opener is filled with expectations of maintaining their preseason mission: to be one of the top four teams in the state that is eligible to play for the state championship in December.

It looked as though BC could easily accomplish this feat on Aug. 30 when it scrimmaged a strong Reedley College team.

The ‘Gades played a sharp offensive and defensive game. But after a self-destructive 21-19 loss to Cerritos College on Sept. 8, strategic measures such as executing plays and cleaning up the team’s act as far as penalty yards will be essential, said head coach Dallas Grider.

Since mistakes are costly and the upcoming schedule looks challenging, Grider said, execution in every game will be critical for the ‘Gades to compete for a championship.

“We have to execute, cut down on mental errors, penalties and not lay the ball on the ground,” Grider said.

“The West Hills game will be a tough game for us,” Grider said. “They’re a very talented football team, with a great running game. They knocked off a highly regarded Butte team 41-34.”

Going into the season opener, Grider would have preferred to play a different team other than the 12th-ranked Falcons of Cerritos – especially on the road.

“Cerritos is a highly regarded football team,” he said. “They only lost three times last season by a total of 10 points and that was in the Mission Conference.”

Saturday’s game will be especially tough after the falcons beat the ‘Gades at their own game, using great defense, and a tough running game mixed with air strikes for touchdowns to rack up 21 points.

It looked as though BC was going to be true to form and blow the home team out of the water in the first quarter as quarterback Kevin Bryan tossed a perfectly timed slant pass to receiver Sammy Moore, who dashed 55 yards to give the ‘Gades a 7-0 lead.

Defensive plays seem to be all the team had, the rest of the first half was non-productive and sloppy for the ‘Gades.

“The defense kept us in the game,” Grider said. “We were lucky we didn’t get blown out with as many mistakes as we made.”

But it was a much different story for the home team as Falcon quarterback Mike Harrison threw two touchdown passes to give Cerritos a 12-7 lead, ending the first half.

In the second half, Cerritos scored again when Harrison darted into the end zone on a 9-yard touchdown run giving the Falcons a 18-7 lead.

Even though much of the third quarter was a defensive battle, BC’s offense did manage to get on track.

Robert Thomas, who sat out last season, teamed with Bryan and Moore to move the ball down the field and get into scoring position. After a 16-yard pass to Moore from Bryan, Thomas ran into the end zone, closing the gap to 18-13.

The ‘Gade defense, anchored by Darrin Carr and James McGill, paved the way for the next score. With some hard hitting by Carr and the defense, Harrison fumbled. McGill, with a heads-up play, scooped up the ball and ran into the end zone for the score.

But BC was denied the win when Cerritos kicker Adam Sonntag kicked a 36-yard field goal to seal the victory for the Falcons.