BC Homecoming brings back football greats

Leanne Cave

The Bakersfield College Renegades will conclude a week of Homecoming celebration as they meet up with the Los Angeles Valley Monarchs at Memorial Stadium Saturday. Pregame activities start at 6:30 p.m.

Homecoming is a memorable day for BC players as well as those from the past.

A former BC great, Michael Stewart, who went on to play for Fresno State University, and then the Los Angeles Rams, said that Homecoming brings back memories of a great time, a fun time while playing for BC.

“It’s still a great family atmosphere and shows that playing for the ‘Gades presents a stepping stone to bigger and better things in life such as playing for a four-year college or university,” Stewart said.

Ryan Kroecker, who plays inside linebacker for the ‘Gades, said that it’s awesome that former ‘Gades are still coming back to support BC.

“It’s cool,” Kroecker said. “The tradition at BC is awesome. I think that’s going to be me one of these days, coming back to support future Renegades.”

However, the feeling for opposing teams and coaches who come to play the ‘Gades in the Homecoming game is not quite as comfortable.

“Going into Memorial Stadium to play an elite team like the Bakersfield College Renegades doesn’t make a guy feel warm and fuzzy, especially in the Homecoming game,” said Ron Panciano, head coach of the Monarchs. “We had rather it be someone else, We have a very young team, we have a bunch of young pups. We have only one sophomore on the offense and only two on defense. But we hope to go in and play well and gain some experience against a team like BC.”

While Panciano hopes to fair well against the ‘Gades, Allan Hancock came up 16 points short on Oct. 20 as BC went to Santa Maria and beat the Bulldogs 26-10 in an impressive offensive showing. Robert Thomas amassed 235 yards rushing and the passing attack improved as Russell Handy, tight end, made a great catch and scampered into the end zone for six points. Receivers Sammy Moore and Terrance Hall also created havoc for the ‘Dog defense as Moore caught a touchdown pass and Hall made an all-pro catch. Unfortunately, for Hall, the play was called back due to a penalty.

“It happened so fast I just turned around and the ball was there from quarterback Kevin Bryan,” Hall said.

Defensively the ‘Dogs were pounded by the big red “D” led by Kroecker, Kenneth Qualls and James McGill, who have played consistently all season.

The Hancock game seemed to be a continuation of the explosion that erupted by the BC offense on Oct. 14 as the Renegades clobbered the West Hills Falcons 36-3. The ‘Gades outplayed the Falcons in every phase and proved that they are coming of age and playing well as a team.

When talking about his defensive teammates, Kroecker summed up the team spirit going into the Homecoming game on Saturday.

“They’re class,” he said. “It makes it fun to play defense with guys like that who like to play hard and win, They are great to be around.”