Freshmen ‘Gades lock down crucial positions

Leanne Cave

Freshman players suited up in the Renegade “Red and White” football uniforms have been impressive on the field this season.
According to Jeff Chudy, Bakersfield College head coach, there are 16 freshmen players that are starting for BC and making a difference to the overall team performance in 2006.
“The freshmen players are getting better and better and playing up to expectations as the season progresses,” Chudy said. “They are playing like we (the coaches) know they are capable of playing.” Featured below are six more of the 16 players that have made an impact in the first seven games of the season.
Patrick Patterson is a 6-foot, 218-pound running back from Hanford West. Patterson has contributed a great deal to the running game as he has scored four touchdowns in the last two games (against Los Angeles Harbor and Santa Barbara City College) for BC. According to Chudy, Patterson is one of the most physical backs that BC has had in a long time. “He has great balance, is very explosive and has a nose for the end zone,” Chudy said.
Mark Johnson, outside linebacker, has terrorized opposing offenses this season since taking over for Lamont Whitehead, who is out for the season due to an arm injury. Against LA Harbor, the BC defense had seven sacks. Johnson, big No. 98, had five of those sacks, all in the second half.
“He is extremely quick and puts the pressure on opposing quarterbacks,” Chudy said. “He has stepped up and played tough for us since Lamont (Whitehead) was injured. He is one of the best pass rushers on the team.”
Jose Gonzales, defensive back, is from Elizabeth High School in New Jersey. Gonzales, 6-foot-2, 205 pounds has played consistently well at the DB position for the ‘Gades this season. He has three interceptions to his credit.
“Gonzales is big and tall and has a lot of range because of his size, and he can cover a lot of ground,” Chudy said. Gonzales said he is having a pretty good season as far as his first year as a Renegade is concerned.
Aaron King is a 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive lineman from Elsik High in Houston. King plays on the defensive line opposite Mark Johnson. “Aaron plays hard and is doing a good job for us,” Chudy said. “He has a lot of range in size like Gonzales, so he covers a lot of space as well.” King has made his presence known to opposing quarterbacks as he has applied the pressure, created turnovers and recorded sacks.
Crispin Fernandez, a stout 5-foot-10, 242-pound defensive lineman from Hanford West has also been a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line. Teddy Dellaganna, punter/kicker is from Templeton. The 6-foot-3, 198 pound kicker has been invaluable on special teams for the ‘Gades this season. Dellaganna started the season as placekicker for BC because of an injury to starting sophomore starting kicker, Will Johnson.
While Johnson was out, Dellaganna was productive on the scoreboard as he nailed several key field goals and extra point attempts. As a punter, Dellaganna has helped the defense by booting the football deep into opponent’s territory, making it a long way for opposing offenses to travel in order to score.
“Dellaganna has done a good job for us as a punter,” Chudy said. “He has pinned offenses deep in their own end of the field and he has made a couple of key tackles on run-backs by opposing special team players.”
Update on Lamont Whitehead:
Whitehead, a freshman linebacker out of Bakersfield High, injured his arm after scooping up a fumble and attempting to return it for a score in an early season game. Since then, Whitehead has had surgery and is doing fine. “I had surgery on my arm and a steel rod was placed above the elbow in the bone,” he said. “I’m doing fine, and I should be cleared to play in the spring.”