For three quarters the Renegade defense was having difficulty containing Sims and they went into the fourth quarter trailing by two scores. But in the 4th quarter, the sputtering Gades offense starting to get it in gear, and the Gades defense got to Sims for 5 out of their 9 sacks in the final drive, as well as overtime, as all state kicker Josh Gallington nailed a 35 yarder in a barn burner that left Ventura fans stunned in a 27-24 OT BC victory.
Both teams looked a little nervous on offense to open up the game. Ventura went three and out, and Bakersfield's first snap was high and QB Lyle Negron seemed out of sync in both handing the ball off and throwing it. But it did not take Sims long to get in his groove. He hit TE Bennie Kirkwood down the sideline for a 53 yard gain, but a knuckleball field goal attempt by David Brown was wide to keep the game scoreless.
Bakersfield couldn't seem to get a handle on the ball as two perfect passes by Negron were dropped, and a slippery field was affecting the offense. Sims took them down field again highlighted by a pass to Jordan Anderson to the Renegade 7, and the highly athletic QB finished the job taking it in for a 7-0 Pirate lead with 1:38 left in the 1st quarter. The Pirates followed that with an interception inside BC territory, and Sims took it in from 38 yards to give Ventura a 14-0 lead as time ran out in the first.
After a horrible offensive 1st quarter, the Renegades started to gel, but they tried to go for it inside the Pirate 10 yard line, and Negron slipped on the turf and the Pirates held. In the next possession, the Renegades got a little inspiration from 6'4 wideout Loren Kolb who held on to a magnificent catch as he was hammered by Ventura DB Valtray Jackson to keep a drive alive. Kolb then latched onto a 12 yard TD pass to make the game 14-7. Ventura kicker David Brown ended the 2nd quarter scoring to give the Pirates a well earned 17-7 halftime lead.
Another Kolb catch got them inside the red zone again, but DL Ramsey Taylor closed the hole on a fullback blast, and BC settled for a 26 yard field goal to cut the lead to 17-10 with 9:06 to go in the third. Sims again scrambled around for big gains, driving the Pirates down the field but they stalled. A fumbled punt at the Gades 5 yard line led to a 6 yard scamper for six by Sims giving the Pirates a 24-10 lead that they carried into the 4th quarter.
The Bakersfield offense kept sputtering, but the defense came up with an interception by the Gades fine safety Tyler Thompson to try to win the momentum back. But the Renegades better try different cleats next time, because they lost their footing on some key plays on the next drive. Things looked gloomy for BC when an apparent Ventura fumble recovery by BC ended up in the hands of the Pirates. The Gades held, but a 60 yard completion by Negron was nullified because he was one yard past the line of scrimmage on the throw. Negron was replaced by Freshman QB Bryon Campbell who immediately hit a receiver for a big gain out to mid field. Negron had to come right back in as Campbell suffered a twisted ankle on the play. Negron then hit Kolb don the sideline for a 55 yard TD as the lanky receiver tiptoed down the sideline to put BC back in the game 24-17 with 10:16 to go in the game.
From there the Renegade defense, helped by some untimely penalties. started blitzing more. As Sims went back to pass, the momentum completely turned around when 250 lb Linebacker John Oglesby scooped up a fumble and rambled in from 50 yards out to tie the game at 24-24 with 4:56 to go in the game. From there a blitzing Tierney Yates started getting to Sims. Both sides were extremely tired at this point. Sims came up with some more heroics and led his team into field goal range. But again a delay of game penalty cost them, and another sack of Sims stopped the drive and we were on to overtime.
In overtime, the Renegades won the toss and elected to give Ventura the first shot.
Tierney came to the rescue again with another sack of Sims to bring up a third and 18 from the 43. The Gade defense ran him out of bounds, and Ventura was forced to go for it on 4th and forever and failed.
With BC having the State's most accurate field goal kicker, Bakersfield fans finally took a deep breath knowing that all the Gades would have to do is line up the ball in the center of the field. That's exactly what they did. After an attempt to ice Gallington with a timeout, the sophomore coolly split the uprights from 35 yards out to win the game.
There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that Antavious Sims is one of the most talented and elusive QBs not just this season, but any. He almost single handedly beat the #2 ranked Renegades with his feet and his arm. The Americus GA native reminds me of another stellar Americus QB, Reedley's Robert Johnson, who led the Tigers to the national title about 8 years ago. Johnson went on to become a record holding receiver at Texas Tech, but I don't foresee Sims switching positions on the next level. He has an uncanny ability to move up into the pocket, put it in reverse, and go around defenders like they were nailed to the turf. I foresee Sims being the next Cam Newton, who after leading Blinn College to an NJCAA national title last year, is now tearing it up for the unbeaten Auburn Tigers. Also of note for the Pirates was punter Kyle Dugandzic, who's high long punts kept the talented Gades return game under wraps.
For the Renegades they are still a work in progress. Overthrown and dropped passes are hurting them, and although they have a huge young front line, the ground game has not done as expected this season. This was a huge comeback victory for them, but they still have a long row to hoe to win the conference title. Tierney Yates and Loren Kolb (7 catches for 162 yds) were the heros for BC this night.
For Ventura, their kids played there hearts out. A win over Bakersfield is a rare commodity for them, but they had the horses to do it this season. Although I would disagree with Head Coach Steve Mooshagian's post game assessment that "we should have blown them out", Ventura was obviously more than capable of beating the Gades and should have on this night. But if any blame can be placed on losing a game they had in hand, he should probably look no further than the coaching staff. The Pirates were assessed about 5 delay of game penalties that seemed inexplicable to explain. Sims seemed to stand back behind a set line, and wait for the penalty. The coaches upstairs were pulling their hair out over it and were screaming throughout the waning moments.
Next week is homecoming for Bakersfield, but the road gets no easier. El Camino comes into town, and they are hungry after having to forfeit half of their schedule due to an illegal player. It will be another battle, guaranteed. The Pirates will try to rebound against Hancock, but are still a strong possibility for a playoff spot. In fact, I will be surprised if the eventual champ doesn't suffer a loss in this balanced conference.
1st downs 18, 12
Yds Rushing 117, 36
Yds Passing 242, 181
Total Yds 359, 217
Penalties 15/120, 6/54