BC crushed by Canyons after winning bowl game

Leanne Cave

The Bakersfield College football team finished the regular season on a high note with an invitation to play in the 2005 Golden Empire Bowl against the Fullerton College Hornets, and after a victory in that game, a rematch in the state semifinals against College of the Canyons, the No. 1 team in the nation.

For the Renegades and their fans, the postseason presented some redemption as well as some heartbreak and finality.

“We were certainly an exciting team to watch,” said BC Head Coach Jeff Chudy. “We worked extremely hard and we’re disappointed that we’re not still playing, but we are proud of our players both off and on the field. We had a great season.”

Against Fullerton in the Golden Empire Bowl on Nov. 20, the ‘Gades came out with a vengeance and hammered the Hornets 54-20.

“Our defense played hard,” Chudy said. “We flew around and made the plays. We certainly had something to prove, and we wanted a taste of redemption.”

The message of redemption was clear right from the start when BC defensive back Michael Stewart picked up a fumble by Fullerton’s Joe Chatman on the first play of the game and returned it to the 6-yard line.

“Against Fullerton in the Golden Empire Bowl, we played hungry,” BC linebacker Curtis Cornelson said. “We played up to our potential as a team. We were hungry, and we wanted a little redemption. Especially after the opening loss to Fullerton and the one-point loss to Canyons.”

With only 13 seconds elapsed in the first quarter J.R. Rogers scored, giving the ‘Gades a six-point lead. Kicker Jose Martinez missed the extra point but it didn’t make much difference as BC dominated the rest of the way.

The ‘Gades scored two more times in the first quarter. Running back Le ‘Andre Matthews scored six on a 6-yard run and Most Valuable Player quarterback Thomas Peregrin tossed a 13-yard touchdown to wide receiver Jonathan Nunez. Both extra point attempts were good by Martinez, and the ‘Gades led 20-0.

“This was a great win for us,” Peregrin said. “We were thinking third time is a charm. The offensive line stepped up and played great. The first time Fullerton ran all over us. This time our defense stepped up and made the plays for us.”

The Hornets could not stop the offensive momentum of BC. In the second quarter the ‘Gades added 10 more points when Martinez kicked a 32-yard field goal and wide receiver Tajiddin Smith caught a 22-yard pass from Peregrin. Martinez booted two more extra points, and the score was 30-0.

Martinez was named Most Valuable Offensive Player of the game. Not only did he score six points on two 32-yard field goals, he made 6-of-7 extra points and forced the Fullerton offense to start from its own 20-yard line seven times, two times inside the 20 and only once past the 20 at the 27-yard line. Fullerton’s lousy field position, due to Martinez kickoffs, gradually set up good field position for the BC offense.

The last score of the first half came with a great defensive effort by BC defensive back Brian Putman. Putman intercepted a Fullerton pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown. Martinez added the point, and the ‘Gades led at the half 37-0.

While the BC offense was lighting up the board, the defense, led by Most Valuable Defensive Player Carl Singleton, stifled the Fullerton offense. The Hornets scored late in the third quarter when special teams player Nate Jackson picked up a blocked punt and ran it in from 9 yards out. Mauricio Garcia kicked the point, the ‘Gades were still in command 40-7.

In the third quarter, Martinez kicked the second of two 32-yard field goals with 5:35 left and Peregrin showed another dimension of his game as he scored on a 32-yard run. Martinez added the 47th point to the scoreboard for the ‘Gades.

Peregrin showed why he earned the MVP honors as he connected on 17-of-25 for 200 yards and three touchdowns through the air.

Peregrin would connect on one final touchdown in the fourth as he found Nunez in the end zone for six more points. Martinez’s kick made the score 54-13.

Even though the Fullerton passing game netted 74 passing yards, the Hornets managed a 21-yard TD pass from Armchir to wide receiver John Plummer to cap the scoring for the day making the final score 54-20. The Renegade defense held Chatman, the second leading rusher in the state, in check. He gained less than 100 yards for the day as he carried 21 times for 91 yards.

With the Golden Empire Bowl victory in the record books, the ‘Gades had high hopes of going to College of the Canyons and knocking off the No. 1 ranked team in the state this time around. BC lost by only one point, 24-23 last time when the teams played at Memorial Stadium. But that would not happen as the Cougars (12-0) crunched the ‘Gades 48-26 in the Southern California semifinals of the state playoffs, which ended the season for BC at 9-3.

Led by quarterback Marcel Marquez, one of the premier players in the state, Canyons methodically did what it has done the last 30 games on their home field – stomp the opponent with the feet and arm of Marquez and a tough defense.

Marquez got things rolling for the Cougars when he tossed a 39-yard touchdown pass to Steve Silva and Jonathan Johnson kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead. BC moved the ball well in the first quarter and looked as though it was going to score. But the No. 1-rated defense in the Western State Conference stiffened and held the ‘Gades to a 47-yard field goal by Martinez.

The next score for BC was on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive back Keith Camp stepped in front of a Cougars receiver and picked off a Marquez pass and returned it for a touchdown. Martinez added the extra point, and the ‘Gades were up on the Cougars 10-7.

“I’ve been wanting to get one of those (an interception for a touchdown),” Camp said. “I’ve been injured and haven’t been able to make the plays like I’ve wanted to.”

Even though the defense was playing hard, Marquez would not be denied as he added two more scores to Canyons’ side of the board in the second quarter: a 29-yard strike to wide receiver Shane Morales and a 7-yard pass to backup quarterback Cary Dove.

“He (Marquez) is an amazing player,” Chudy said. “Probably one of the marquee players in the state and they’re a great team.”

The beginning of the third quarter got a bit exciting for the 2,000 BC fans who traveled and sat in the cold wind at Canyons in Valencia.

The Cougars had first possession of the ball after halftime as they deferred the coin toss. But it didn’t last long. The Cougars fumbled the ball on the first series and BC recovered. J.R. Rogers, who was basically shut down in the running game, scored from 3 yards out. Martinez kicked the extra point and the ‘Gades were within striking distance 21-17.

The BC defense played well in the third quarter, not allowing the potent Canyons offense a point. The only other score came from the foot of Martinez as he nailed a 25-yard field goal to bring the ‘Gades within one point of the Cougars, 21-20.

It looked as though BC might have a chance at victory when wide receiver Tyrece Lee Jr. caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Peregrin and the ‘Gades merged ahead 26-21.

But it wasn’t enough as the Cougars stepped up and made the defense stops when they had to and scored four times in the fourth quarter to come back and snag the victory.

“We had a great year,” said BC Athletic Director Jan Steubbe. “We had one of the highest scoring offense in our history. Jeff Chudy has got our program going in the right direction.”