BC to face off against Fullerton

Leanne Cave

The 2005 Golden Empire Bowl will feature a golden rivalry, as the Bakersfield College Renegades (8-2, 6-1 Western State Conference North Division) will host the Fullerton College Hornets, also 8-2 overall, on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

BC is seeded fourth while Fullerton is fifth in the eight-team Southern California Regional. The winner will advance in the state championship playoffs.

Fullerton has beaten the ‘Gades the last two outings, but the next contest may favor the home team.

“They have beaten us the last two times we’ve played, but we’re real hungry for a win against them and the third time may be the charm for us,” said BC quarterback Thomas Peregrin. “I won’t be surprised if we have a strong week of practice and they haven’t seen the best of Bakersfield yet.”

Fullerton has one of the best running backs in the state, Joe Chapman, but the Hornet coaching staff knows that Bakersfield will present a challenge in the bowl game, especially defensively.

“I would rather be playing the Chicago Bears,” Fullerton head coach Gene Murphy said. “We played BC last year in the bowl and at the beginning of the 2005 season (Fullerton won 31-26). Now we have to play them again. But it’s the best bowl game of all in a great venue and stadium. Jeff Chudy (BC head coach) and Jan Stuebbe (BC athletic director) are first class people.”

BC earned the right to play in the bowl against Fullerton by finishing the regular season with a five-game winning streak, which included a 45-10 stomping of their final opponent, the Allan Hancock Bulldogs (7-3), on Nov. 12 before 2,224 fans at Memorial Stadium.

It didn’t take the ‘Gades long to take control of the game as Peregrin continued his season passing assault on opponents by tossing a 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tajiddin Smith with 10:59 left in the first quarter. Jose Martinez kicked the extra point and BC led 7-0.

The next BC score came early in the second quarter as Peregrin mirrored his 29-yard touchdown pass of the first quarter, only this time he had a bit of trouble getting the pass off. Peregrin fumbled the ball but picked it up just before getting sacked, rolled out and threw a perfect strike to tight end Jeff Fielder for the score. Martinez kicked the extra point and the ‘Gades were 14 points up.

Martinez’s kicking game was once again valuable to the ‘Gades as he nailed a 47-yard field goal just before the half to put BC up 17-0. He was perfect on six extra point attempts and forced Hancock to start from its own 20-yard line on every kickoff.

The BC offense scored two more times in the third quarter as Peregrin connected on a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end John Wise and running back Le’Andre Matthews powered into the end zone on a 5-yard run to make the score 31-3.

Peregrin once again played a stellar game as he completed 15 of 20 for 222 yards and had no interceptions.

The fourth quarter was more BC and a little of Hancock as the ‘Gades added two more scores and the Bulldogs scored once.

The running duo of J.R. Rogers and Matthews accounted for 213 yards on the ground while Peregrin was assaulting Hancock through the air. Matthews had one of the fourth quarter scores on a 1-yard run that put the ‘Gades up 38-3.

While the BC offense was racking up 534 total yards, the ‘Gade defense also did their part against ‘Dogs.

“The defense has stepped up and made the plays and not allowed very much,” Chudy said. “They will get their pads full in practice this week in preparation for Fullerton and their rushing game.”

The defense squashed almost every scoring opportunity Hancock presented, forcing two fumbles, intercepting a pass and allowing only 10 points. Curtis Cornelson and Michael Faulkner were responsible for making Jonathan Daily miserable most of the afternoon while Kenny Graham was responsible for the intercepted pass. Graham was in the right place at the right time and made one of the plays of the game.

“I took a chance at making the play in changing directions on a cover 2,” Graham said. “But as I changed direction I saw a guy cross in front of me and the quarterback threw the ball, I stepped up and made the play.”

Hancock’s scores came on a Victor Velasco field goal early in the third quarter and a consolation touchdown late in the fourth. Hancock scored with 2:16 left in the game when quarterback Jonathan Daily completed an 8-yard pass to wide receiver Derek Sedin.

The last BC score was exciting. With 18 seconds left to play in the game, reserve quarterback Jeff Crosby came in and burned the Bulldogs defense for an 87-yard touchdown strike to Tyrece Lee Jr., making the final score 45-10. Lee led all receivers with five catches for 126 yards.

With the victory, the ‘Gades get the opportunity to redeem themselves for an opening season loss to Fullerton and if they win they may have the chance to play No. 1 ranked College of the Canyons to avenge a one-point loss.

“We are really excited about playing in the Golden Empire Bowl and the playoffs,” Stuebbe said. “If we win and Chaffey College beats Canyons, we will get another home game. If we win and Canyons wins, we will get another chance to play Canyons, but on the road. I really like this Renegade team, they have a lot of character.”