Mt. SAC picks off Renegades

Leanne Cave

The 2007 Bakersfield College football team had high hopes of playing for a state crown and possibly a national title.
For the second straight year, the Renegades were denied those prizes as the Mount San Antonio College Mounties rode into town Dec. 1 and edged the ‘Gades 47-42 in the Southern California Championship game before a season high crowd of 12,315.
The loss also ended BC’s undefeated season. The Renegades finished 12-1.
“It’s disappointing for our coaches and players, but we had a great year. We were 12-1 for the first time in our history,” said Jeff Chudy, BC head coach. “We had great community support, and it is a season to remember.”
Even though Mt. SAC scored the first points of the contest on a 2-yard run by running back Craig Williams and an extra point by kicker Jeremy Gener, the BC offense would catch on fire as usual, as quarterback Jacob Bower tossed four touchdown passes and running back Bruce Frieson ran over the big Mt. SAC defense for a 55-yard touchdown score, giving the ‘Gades a 35-24 halftime lead.
Bower, who threw for 295 yards, completed two first quarter touchdown passes to wide receiver Brandon Banks, and kicker Arturo Villa added two extra points to make the score, 14-7.
The second quarter was action-packed as BC scored 21 points, while the Mounties posted 17. Bower completed two of the four touchdown passes as he connected with wide receiver Attrail Snipes for a 28-yard touchdown and Banks for a 45-yard touchdown.
The Mounties’ second quarter scores came on a 6-yard touchdown pass from All-American quarterback Kevin Craft to wide receiver Matt Austin, a 6-yard run by Craft and a 25-yard field goal by Gener, with 0:00 showing on the clock.
“Our offense played really well in the first half,” Carl Dean offensive coach said. “For whatever reason, we didn’t execute in the second half, and when you turn over the ball that many times in the second half you’re going to lose.
“But we are certainly proud of our kids and what they accomplished this season.”
Uncharacteristic mistakes, miscues and five Bower interceptions cost BC in the second half as Mt. SAC eventually took the lead, 37-35, in the third quarter on a 34-yard field goal by Gener, and an 18-yard touchdown pass from Craft to Aiona Key. Unfortunately, for the ‘Gades, the Mounties never looked back.
“We didn’t execute like we should have,” Chudy said. “But you have to give Mt. SAC credit. They played better in the second, they played hard.”
With the exception of a beautiful but desperate 96-yard touchdown play from Bower to Banks and an extra point by Villa that brought the ‘Gades to within five points, the fourth quarter was all Mt. SAC. The Mounties scored 17 more points off of consecutive interceptions by Bower to take a 47-35 lead with less than four minutes showing on the clock.
“They kept coming and were determined,” said Mike Papac, BC offensive lineman.
The 96-yard touchdown strike, with 3:58 left in the contest, made the score 47-42 and gave the ‘Gades one last opportunity. It looked as if this might be one more fantastic finish for BC as Banks recovered the onside kick, which gave Bower some more tries at the end zone and a last second win. The last second attempt by Bower would fall just short of Frieson and the Mounties (10-2) celebrated their hard-fought victory.
“Even though we had execution problems in the second half, we still had a chance to win,” Chudy said.
Important to note in this game was the effort by the BC defense, which held Mt. SAC to field goals when they were backed up in their own territory.
It was definitely a fantastic finish for BC in the semifinals of the Southern California Championship, as BC defeated College of Canyons in double overtimes, 48-45, on Nov. 24.
You’ve probably heard it said that the team that wants it more usually wins. This was one contest that proved that “old adage” to be true. For the first two quarters BC and COC traded scores.
In the first quarter, the ‘Gades put up 14 points when Bower connected on two touchdown passes, one a 16-yard pass to Banks and the other a 6-yard pass to tight end Zack Lewis, and Villa added the extra points. Canyons answered with a 4-yard run from Fred Winborn, and Paul Weinstein kicked the extra point to make the score 14-7.
COC took the lead over the ‘Gades in the second quarter, 21-14, when Winborn caught a 10-yard pass from quarterback Brad McClellan and scored on a 2-yard run, and Weinstein notched the two extra points.
However, BC answered when Bower hit wide receiver Dashan Miller on a 13-yard touchdown strike, Villa added the extra point and the score was all tied 21-21 at halftime.
Canyons took the lead once again in the fourth quarter, 28-21, on a nice 39-yard run by Winborn and a Weinstein extra point. But back came BC with a beautifully thrown 26-yard touchdown pass from Bower to Snipes, and Villa added the point to make the score 28-28. McClellan wasn’t to be outdone as he tossed a 38-yard touchdown pass to Mayo Carpenter and Weinstein made the score 35-28. Down by seven, the BC offense got busy. Mixing the run and the pass, the ‘Gades moved the ball 85-yards and scored on a 14-yard run by Frieson. Villa kicked the ball through the uprights and the scoreboard read, 35-35, at the end of regulation.
Then the excitement and a fight to the finish began.
In the first overtime, BC played offense first and scored on an 8-yard run by Frieson. Villa added the extra point and the ‘Gades were back on top, 42-35. Then Canyons’ Winborn scored from 4 yards out; Weinstein nailed the extra point to make the score 42-42.
Second overtime: Cougars first.
The BC defense, who has stepped up in key situations throughout the season, did it one more time forcing the Cougars to settle for a 37-yard field goal that made the score, 45-42.
Then it was BC’s turn to settle the score with 25 yards to go, and they did.
The ‘Gades made every play count, down to the COC 5-yard line. On a well-executed play, Bower found tight end Seth Damron in the end zone and connected on a 5-yard pass for six.
Final score: 48-45, BC.
Coach Chudy summed up the 2007 season perfectly for all Renegade fans.
“It was a team and community effort and a season to remember.”