‘Gades rally back in win over Saddleback

Leanne Cave

After a disappointing opening season loss to the Fullerton College Hornets in Fullerton, the Bakersfield College football team rebounded in its home opener at Memorial Stadium with a 29-19 victory over the Saddleback College Gauchos.

The Renegades had to come from behind to win.

“In the Fullerton game, everybody did their own thing,” said Jeff Chudy, BC head coach. “It wasn’t a pretty picture. Against Saddleback, it was a much better team effort.”

In the first half, the BC offense looked as if it were still in Fullerton reeling from the loss as they were stopped by the Saddleback defense on downs inside the red zone. Not only that, the nine points on the scoreboard were notched by the defense or special teams.

Tyrece Lee Jr. provided a spark for the BC fans midway in the first quarter when he returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown and the ‘Gades led 7-0. BC scored a safety when Saddleback running back Ryan Lammie was sacked on the first play.

The Gauchos scored just before the half when running back Daniel Dixon scored from 1-yard out capping a 12-play, 90-yard drive. Saddleback place-kicker Andrew Larson kicked the extra point making the score 9-7 at halftime.

Saddleback took the lead in the third quarter when Dixon scampered into the end zone on a 3-yard run. The Gauchos attempted a pass in the end zone for two, but failed to convert.

BC controlled the rest of the game.

With 8:31 left in the third quarter, BC quarterback Thomas Peregrin connected on a 77-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Nunez to put the ‘Gades up by two. Martinez kicked the extra point.

“It was a turning point in the game,” Nunez said. “We needed something to get us up and going, and we scored the next two times.”

The BC defense stopped Saddleback on its next possession.

BC running back J.R. Rogers then showed why his teammates refer to him as the wheels of the team. Rogers escaped tacklers and scored on a 74-yard touchdown run to put the ‘Gades up 22-13 after Martinez’s extra point.

BC added seven more points on a 26-yard touchdown strike from Peregrin to Tajiddin Smith and a Martinez kick.

The Gauchos added one last touchdown as time expired, finalizing the score 29-19.

“Saddleback played a pressure defense that kept blitzing, but we hung in there and executed the game plan. We had back-to-back strikes, and we won the game,” Peregrin said.