The Bakersfield College Football team (1-0) beat Allan Hancock College (0-1) 22-19 in Santa Maria Saturday afternoon with some flashes of brilliance and by taking advantage of mistakes made by the Bulldogs.
"They turned the ball over and gave us quite a few points," Coach Jeff Chudy said, "And we were lucky to have the lead we did in the last five minutes there."
Bakersfield took a 16-0 lead into halftime, and Hancock never gave up. Both teams scored six points in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs scored 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and used to grinding run defense to push BC into a three and out on it's second to last possession.
"We made some Freshman mistakes there at the end that made the game closer than it needed to be, but you have to give Hancock credit for hanging in there when it was 16-0," Chudy said.
The Renegades brought a very young roster to Santa Maria, with only about 25 percent of dressed out players having college football experience.
"That means a lot of those guys have never traveled to a college football game, let alone one with a 3pm kickoff, and that changes your entire day. It means getting up a lot earlier, having your pregame meal at a time when you aren't used to eating, so none of that was the norm for them. That said, I think they handled the travel extremely well," Chudy said.
Late in the third quarter, quarterback Dalton Gallis rolled out of the pocket just outside of Hancock's 20 yard line and threw a long pass intended for Derrick Vickers just as he was lit up by a Bulldog blitz. His pass found it's target, but perhaps half a second after a defender made solid contact with Vickers and kept him from reeling in the ball. There was no flag, and on the very next play Gallis bought himself a little more time and challenged Freshman Jakell Tomlin to make a play and he answered the call with vigor, scoring a 21 yard touchdown play, BC's first through the air this season.
"That catch he made in the endzone was amazing. What more can you say about that? He's been nothing but a pleasure to coach, he's a great teammate. And gosh, that catch! That's what he can do. When we put on helmets for the fist time, we saw some things in him. There is a lot of potential there, and what's more valuable about him is that he works extremely hard and he's a great practice teammate," Coach Chudy said.
While Vickers didn't haul in that potential touchdown catch, he scored BC's first of the season on a 44 yard jaunt to make it 7-0 in the first quarter, and then added a second on a four yard run in the second quarter to make it 13-0.
Quarterback Dalton Gallis completed only 50 percent of his pass attempts and had an interception, but Coach Chudy said he was more intrigued by things that don't show up in the box score.
"The one thing we did across the board is we handled adversity well, and that goes for Dalton also. He may see some things in film that could have been done to keep us on the field a little longer in a couple of situations, and that's learning. But I am pleased with his leadership, and the quarterback position is obviously a key spot in that regard."
BC's defense is also a youth movement, and they forced Hancock's coaching staff to keep their QB moving as well as the pages in their playbook.
Freshman defensive back Cristion Brown (Ridgeview) had a pair of interceptions and racked up five tackles to lead the secondary Saturday.
"Cristion Brown played outstanding-just like the rest of that them (on defense), he made a great interception on a fade route, and then he had a nice pick out in the flat. Again, we made Freshman mistakes across the board, but I'm...I'm exciteda about this group and I'm excited about the possibilities next week."
The Renegades will host Chaffey College in their home opener on September 10th at 6pm in historic Memorial Stadium. It's a rematch of the 2014 Western State Bowl that BC won after winning six of it's last seven games to qualify for a bowl berth.