Close Call

Leanne Cave

The Bakersfield College Renegades will travel to Glendora on Saturday for a 1 p.m. game against the Citrus College Fighting Owls. The ‘Gades have high hopes of keeping their six-game winning streak alive while the Owls hope to provide plenty of competition for BC.

“Bakersfield College is one of the most competitive teams in our conference,” said Citrus head coach Kevin Emerson. “They are not one-dimensional. You have to be prepared in every phase of the game because they are a well-rounded team.”

That statement proved to be true in the Homecoming game on Oct. 27 against the L.A. Valley Monarchs. The ‘Gades escaped with a narrow 28-26 victory by scoring in every phase of the game. It must have seemed like Halloween arrived a few days early for the 4,003 fans in attendance, as the game provided some tricks along with some treats.

BC head coach Dallas Grider thought the game had a strange flavor.

“The coaches were saying that this was the strangest game they had coached in,” Grider said. “We had the highest output of yardage so far this season and still struggled. It was a very strange game.”

The sweetest treat of the evening had to be the kicking of freshman Tyler Smith, who booted the game-winning field goal of 25 yards through the uprights when the ‘Gades needed it the most.

The Monarchs did not treat the ‘Gades well as Robert Thomas, BC’s leading rusher for the season, sprained his ankle early and had to sit out the remainder of the game. Thomas may be missing in action for a couple of weeks.

BC fullback Sam Campanella, who rushed for 72 yards against the Monarchs, said the game seemed to have a strange twist.

Definitely out of the ordinary was the first drive of the game in which the ‘Gades drove down to the L.A. Valley 1-yard line and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by the Monarchs in the end zone.

On the next series of downs, the BC offense became defensive. The Monarchs surprised the crowd as they picked off a Kevin Bryan pass and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown, giving them a 7-0 lead.

“They played a great game,” Bryan said. “We have to step up and do better the next game.”

But the lead would not last long. After a solid effort by the “Renegade D” with a stellar performance by Troy Parker and Ryan Kroeker, the Monarchs were forced to punt.

Enter Sammy Moore. Moore provided the Homecoming crowd with a real treat as he returned the punt 61 yards for a touchdown. Tyler Smith kicked the extra point and the score was even at seven points apiece.

With 1:35 left in the first quarter, Bryan threw a 60-yard touchdown bomb to receiver Irving Baptiste to put the ‘Gades ahead 14-7.

The Homecoming crowd was a little stunned as the Monarchs faked a field goal and L.A. Valley holder, Robert Muller, threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to John Kuhl to tie the score at 14.

The Monarchs came out smokin’ as James Norris set a L.A. Valley school record by returning the second half kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown to give Valley the lead, 21-14.

BC marched down the field to the L.A. Valley 7-yard line but was stopped by a determined Monarch defense and forced Smith to kick a 24-yard field goal that cut the visitor’s lead to 21-17.

Terrence Hall caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Bryan that put the ‘Gades ahead 23-21. On the point after touchdown attempt, the Monarchs blocked the extra point. Cory Brown picked up the ball and sprinted 93 yards for a two-point score that tied the game one more time, 23-23.

Once again the BC defense did its job and forced the Monarchs to punt. James McGill blocked the punt and Parker knocked the ball out of the end zone, which gave the ‘Gades the lead, 25-23.

However, that changed when the Monarch offense drove 71 yards and added a 27-yard field goal, to make the score 26-25 with 7:30 left in the game.

The BC offense put together a drive that resulted in Smith kicking the game-winning field goal with a minute left to play, resulting in a final score of 28-26.