With the conditions making passing, or even holding onto, the football an exercise in futility, Bakersfield relied on its ground game and the duo of Sykes and McGregor made that strategy pay off handsomely for the Renegades. In all, Bakersfield amassed 407 rushing yards and held the ball for a remarkable 39:12 of the 60 minutes, scoring all but two of the game's last 48 points to win going away.
The game started out fairly well for Ventura as Lakeith Murray returned The Opening kickoff 76 yards to the Bakersfield 11. That led to a 27-yard field goal by Carlos Luna just 2:06 into the game. Then after the Pirate defense held Bakersfield to two yards on three plays, a short 20-yard punt gave Ventura the bal at the Renegade 42. That led to another field goal by Luna, this one from 39 yards out, his longest of the season, to make it 6-0 with 9:09 left in the first quarter.
But that would be Ventura's last scoring play for over two hours, while Bakersfield scored 48 straight points to take control of the game. Sykes scored his first touchdown to cap a 9-play drive late in the first quarter, giving Bakersfield (9-2) a 7-6 lead. Then after defensive end Clinton Carter recovered the first of 4 fumbles Ventura lost on the night, Brian Burrell threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Johnson to make it 14-6.
Late in the second quarter, Ventura drove to the Pirate 47, where it faced 4th and 6. The Pirates elected to go for the first down, but Bakersfield's Tanner Melson tackled Ventura's Kendall Worth for a 2-yard loss. The Renegades then drove 45 yards in 9 plays, including a conversion of a 4th and 1 situation, scoring on an 8-yard run by McGregor with 1:48 left in the half to make it 21-6.
Bakersfield took the second half kickoff and quickly drove for another touchdown to take complete control of the game. During a break in the rain, Burrell threw his second touchdown of the night, a 37-yard toss to Brock Martin, to make it 28-6. And that throw was just in time as moments later the rain came harder than at any other time during the game.
And that made any thought of a Ventura comeback nothing more than fantasy. The Pirates had the ball eight times in the second half, and lost the ball three times on fumbles and once on an interception. The other four drives ended with two punts and two times turning the ball over on downs.
Bakersfield pushed the lead to 35-6 on a 6-yard scoring run by Sykes with 4:17 left in the third quarter, two plays after punter Austin Tijerina gained 66 yards on a fake punt play to reach the Ventura 6. Bakersfield scored again with 2:28 left in the quarter behind the tandem of Sykes and McGregor; on a 2-play drive, McGregor gained the first 47 yards and Sykes the final 46 yards of what had to be the quickest 93-yard drive of the year that featured all running plays.
Bakersfield added one final touchdown early in the fourth quarter when McGregor scored on a 26-yard run to make it 48-6. Ventura gained the smallest measure of consolation when DeAndre Roberts blocked the extra point and Jalen Oats returned it for two points for the Pirates, closing out the scoring to make it 48-8.
Sykes finished with 169 yards and 3 touchdowns on 24 carries to earn Most Valuable Player honors for the Renegades. McGregor was nearly as good, carrying the ball 18 times for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns and was named Offensive Player of the Game. Overall Bakersfield gained 407 yards on the ground and 521 yards of total offense. Burrell was 9 for 17 passing for 114 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Carter, who had 2 fumbles forced and 2 fumbles recovered and John Oglesby, who had 10 unassisted tackles and a sack were among the standouts on defense. Oglesby was named Defensive Player of the Game in a narrow decision.
For Ventura, Ebahn Feathers was 12 for 38 passing for 117 yards, and had the ball slip out of his hands at least a half-dozen times as he threw. And the Ventura ground game was unable to take up the slack. The Pirates finished with 105 yards on 29 carries, but more than half of that came on a single 53-yard run by Chris Marshall that came well after the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt.
Despite the loss, it was an historic season for Ventura, which finished 10-0 in the regular season for the first time and hosted a playoff game for the first time as well. The Pirates pulled out several close games, and beat Bakersfield in quadruple-overtime earlier this season, but their luck seemed to wash away in the rain Saturday night.
With the win, Bakersfield advances to the Southern California championship game at Mt. San Antonio College next Saturday, and of course JCFootball.com will be there with full coverage.
Bakersfield Renegades 48, Ventura Pirates 8
Saturday, November 17, 2012 - 6 pm - VC Sportsplex, Ventura
2012 Beach Bowl - Southern California Playoffs - First Round
1st Quarter: V - FG Luna 27 yds 12:54 (0-3)
V - FG Luna 39 yds 9:09 (0-6)
B - Sykes 7 yd run (Schleicher kick) 1:04 (7-6)
2nd Quarter: B - M.Johnson 8 yd pass from Burrell (Schleicher kick) 7:35 (14-6)
B - McGregor 8 yd run (Schleicher kick) 1:48 (21-6)
3rd Quarter: B - Martin 37 yd pass from Burrell (Schleicher kick) 12:36 (28-6)
B - Sykes 6 yd run (Schleicher kick) 4:17 (35-6)
B - Sykes 46 yd run (Schleicher kick) 2:28 (42-6)
4th Quarter: B - McGregor 26 yd run (kick blocked) 11:02 (48-6)
V - Oats return of blocked extra point try 11:02 (48-8)
Team Statistics: First Downs: Ventura 16 (6 rush, 8 pass, 2 penalty), Bakersfield 21 (14 rush, 6 pass, 1 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Ventura 29-105, Bakersfield 59-407
Passing Yds: Ventura 132, Bakersfield 114
Comp-Att-Int: Ventura 13-40-1, Bakersfield 9-17-0
Return Yds: Ventura 276, Bakersfield 63
Sacks-Yds: Ventura 1-7, Bakersfield 3-15
Fumbles-Lost: Ventura 7-4, Bakersfield 3-1
Penalties-Yds: Ventura 10-85, Bakersfield 10-96
Time of Possession: Ventura 20:48, Bakersfield 39:12
Individual Statistics: Rushing: V 35-Marshall 2-55, 13-Willis 7-36, 3-Barnes 4-15, 21-Worth 4-3, 32-D.Williams 1-2, 5-Smith 3-0, 7-Feathers 7-(-1), team 1-(-5); 29-Sykes 24-169, 3-McGregor 18-141, 13-Tijerina 1-66, 28-K.Johnson 8-23, 20-Camara 5-20, 2-Burrell 2-(-11), team 1-(-1)
Passing: V 7-Feathers 12-38-1-117, 5-Smith 1-2-0-15; B 2-Burrell 9-17-0-114, 2 TDs
Receiving: V 5-Smith 4-34, 21-Worth 3-23, 6-McDaniel 2-21, 83-Anderson 1-17, 7-Feathers 1-15, 18-Mack 1-12, 13-Willis 1-10; B 6-Martin 4-53, 19-Adams 2-32, 84-M.Johnson 2-20, 85-Dunn 1-9
Sacks-Yds: V 20-Wong 1-7; B 45-Oglesby 1-9, 52-Scott 1-4, 5-Campbell 1-2
Interceptions-Ret Yds: V none; B 4-Simmons 1-19
Fumble Rec: V 4-Murray; B 94-Carter 2, 23-Stuart, 91-Melson
Punters: V 1-Luna 3-45.3 avg; 7-Feathers 1-40; B 13-Tijerina 6-35.0 avg
Kick Returns: V 4-Murray 1-76, 10-Reid 3-75, 9-Howard 3-63, 26-Arve 1-20; B 7-Burns 3-44
Punt Returns: V 26-Arve 2-42; B none
Missed FG: none
Notes: MVP: Jalen Sykes. Offensive Player of the Game: Curtis McGregor. Defensive Player of the Game: John Oglesby (10 unassisted tackles, 1 sack). Bakersfield (the #3 seed) improves to 9-2 while Ventura (the #2 seed) ends its season at 10-1. The game was played in intermittent rain, which definitely affected play, particularly the passing game. This was the first SCFA playoff game ever hosted by Ventura. Murray's return of the opening kickoff set up Ventura's 1st FG and a 20-yard punt on Bakersfield's 1st possession set up Ventura's 2nd FG. Bakersfield's 2nd TD came after Carter's 1st fumble recovery. Tijerina's 66-yd run was on a fake punt play that set up Bakersfield's 6th TD. 54-Roberts blocked the extra point for Ventura that Oats ran back for the 2 points. Carter forced 2 fumbles and recovered 2 fumbles for Bakersfield. 52-Scott forced the fumble that Melson recovered.