Falcon face off

Leanne Cave

The Bakersfield College Renegades will face a challenge when the Cerritos Falcons come to town to play the season opener for both teams Saturday at Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m.

Cerritos handed BC a 21-19 loss in the 2001 season that ultimately denied the ‘Gades the chance to play for the state championship.

“This will be a tremendous challenge right off the bat,” BC head coach Dallas Grider said.

“They are a lot tougher and are even more talented than last year. They don’t have a freshman in the starting line-up and they beat us last year. We are a very young team and it will take us a couple of games to make some adjustments and get in sync.”

Grider said Cerritos has team depth and experience as 22 sophomores return for the high-flying Falcons.

This game may also be a challenge for the ‘Gades because Reedley College was more productive in scoring than BC in the preseason scrimmage held Sept.4.

Not only that, but David McCrary, a promising running back for the 2002 season, went down with a season ending injury.

“The third time he carried the ball, David dislocated his knee,” Grider said. “He could get a medical redshirt, but that remains to be seen.”

The good news for the ‘Gades this season is at quarterback.

There were five candidates vying for the position. All are capable of leading the team to a winning season.

George Valos, a sophomore from Centennial High, will start for the ‘Gades against Cerritos.

It seems as though no season would be complete without a little adversity. The news is a doubled-edged sword for the ‘Gades and their fans.

The good news is that the ‘Gades are ranked No.1 in Southern California and have a multitude of talent in which to build a solid team.

The bad news is that the Western State Conference has slapped a two-year probation on the highly touted football program for misuse of team practices.

Also lost were four team practices.

According to athletic director Jan Stuebbe, what happened is that football coaches met with players out on the field in mid-June, which was out of season according to Commission on Athletics rules.

They were just throwing some passes around and exchanging phone numbers, but this was not a part of a summer school class, Stuebbe said.

The COA constitution states that coaches can’t meet with the team until the designated date, which was Aug 19.

“Basically we made a mistake and are taking our medicine for it,” Stuebbe said.

Fortunately for the ‘Gades, as long as there are no more rules violations during the two-year probation period, postseason eligibility will not be affected.

The good news of the scrimmage was that the players were geared up and ready to hit somebody.

“It felt good to get the initial hits going and to get some of the kinks out as a team,” said returning outside linebacker Joe Smith. “When we get it all together, it will be like a smooth-running machine.”