Bakersfield Ends Mt. SAC's Reign

Brian Burrell passed for 3 touchdowns and scored another on a sneak, and Marquise Johnson had 6 catches for 120 yards and two scores as Bakersfield topped previously-unbeaten Mt. San Antonio, 30-21, ending the Mounties' streak of five straight Southern California championships Saturday night at Hilmer Lodge Stadium.

Bakersfield (10-2), which made the playoffs as the at-large team and lost to Mt. San Antonio (11-1), 34-14, early in the season, trailed by four points at halftime but scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter while holding the Mounties scoreless in the second half to come away with the win.

Johnson scored a pair of touchdowns on passes from Burrell to earn Most Valuable Player honors. And it was a nice recovery for the 6-2 freshman, who began the game by muffing a punt that led to Mt. SAC's first touchdown. But he caught the go-ahead touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter as well as a 45-yard scoring strike late in the first half to lead the Renegades to the win.

Early on, it looked like Mt. San Antonio, the heavily-favored #1-seed, might have an easy time of things. The Mounties punted after just three offensive plays, but Johnson muffed the punt and Aric Bundage recovered the ball at the Renegade 34. Four plays later, Jamal Overton scored on an 8-yard run to give Mt. SAC a 7-0 lead just 2:40 into the game.

Later in the first quarter, Mt. SAC got another turnover when Peter Nonu recovered a fumble by Curtis McGregor at the Renegade 25. Three plays gained just five yards, however, and the Mounties came away empty when Joseph Cejudo's 37-yard field goal attempt sailed wide past the right goal post.

Having avoided falling behind by more than a touchdown, Bakersfield got on the board early in the second quarter when Tyler Schleicher kicked a 27-yard field goal to cap a 13-play, 70-yard drive that began after the missed field goal. Then, the Renegade defense forced a Mt. SAC punt, and Bakersfield got a break when the punt snap was very high. Punter Cejudo managed to corral the ball, but had to scramble to get any kick away, and his kick went just 7 yards, giving Bakersfield the ball at the Mt. SAC 31.

Two plays later, Burrell threw a short pass that Johnson caught in stride, and seemed about to score a touchdown when he slipped on the grass and went down at the Mt. SAC 1 yard-line. But Burrell scored on a quarterback sneak two plays later to give Bakersfield a 10-7 lead with 4:50 left in the first half.

That lead lasted just 14 seconds as Mt. SAC's Kaelin Clay picked up a bouncing ball at his 11 on the ensuing kickoff and returned it 89 yards for a touchdown to put the Mounties back in front, 14-10. Bakersfield answered when Burrell and Johnson teamed up on a 45-yard touchdown pass when the Mt. SAC defense got confused on coverage and left Johnson all alone in the middle of the field, putting the Renegades back on top, 17-14, with 2:44 left in the half. But Mt. SAC put together a quick 7-play, 73-yard drive and regained the lead when Nick Montana threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Shane Sullivan with 32 seconds left in the half to make it 21-17.

That would be Mt. SAC's final score of the night, however, as the Bakersfield defense held Montana and the Mounties in check the rest of the way. And as both teams turned to a ball-control style, the high-flying Mt. SAC offense would get the ball just four times in the second half, resulting in two punts, turning the ball over once on downs and one interception.

Neither team scored in the third quarter, though Mt. SAC came very close on two occasions. Overton broke free for a 48-yard run on Mt. SAC's first drive of the second half, but was tackled along the left sideline by Grant Campbell; the Renegade defense stiffened and forced a Mt. SAC punt four plays later. Then on Mt. SAC's next drive, Overton found daylight right up the middle, but Salim Cleghorne grabbed him by the ankle as he stared at the wide open field, holding him to a 12-yard gain to the Renegade 35. Again, the Bakersfield defense stiffened and didn't allow another first down on the drive, and Mt. SAC turned the ball over on downs at the 28 after an incomplete pass by Montana on 4th and 3.

Bakersfield took the lead on Johnson's second touchdown catch of the night, which came after Burrell slipped out of a near-certain sack as he rolled to the right and found Johnson all alone in the end zone for an 18-yard scoring pass with 13:35 left in the game. Mt. SAC's Nonu blocked the extra point try, keeping it a 2-point game with Bakersfield holding a slim 23-21 advantage.

After a Mt. SAC punt, Bakersfield extended its lead on the final play of a bizarre sequence of plays. First, Burrell threw a pass to Johnson, who reached about the Mt. SAC 10 before fumbling; teammate Brock Martin picked up the bouncing ball and carried it into the end zone for an apparent touchdown. But the whole play was negated by a lineman downfield penalty on Bakersfield. On the next play Martin was thrown for a 1-yard loss on a screen pass, but Mt. SAC was penalized for a personal foul after the play, giving the Renegades a first down. Three plays later, Burrell threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mike Dunn to make it 30-21 with 5:02 left.

Mt. San Antonio had one last chance to put together a rally, and reached the Bakersfield 38 after Montana converted a 4th down play with a 16-yard pass to Brandan Taylor. But on the very next play, Montana lofted a pass down the left sideline that Bakersfield's Joey Stuart intercepted just across the goal line. Bakersfield ran out the final 3:10 on the clock after gaining two more first downs, clinching the win and ending Mt. SAC's reign.

Johnson led all receivers with his 6 catches for 120 yards and 2 - nearly three if not for a slip at the 1 that led to a Bakersfield touchdown moments later anyway - touchdowns, earning Most Valuable Player honors and recovering nicely from his early punt muff. Burrell was 18 for 33 passing for 213 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions passing, and he also scored one touchdown on a quarterback sneak. Jalen Sykes led Bakersfield with 106 yards rushing on 21 carries while McGregor added 93 yards on 16 carries. Campbell, who had a sack in addition to his touchdown-saving tackle, and Keylon Hollis, who had two quarterback sacks, were among the Bakersfield standouts on defense.

For Mt. SAC, Overton rushed for 154 yarads on 22 carries to earn Player of the Game honors for his team. Montana was 10 for 19 passing for 115 yards, one touchdown and one interception, but he was also sacked 5 times. Dontae Ingraham led Mt. SAC with his modest totals of 3 catches for 28 yards. Clay had the touchdown on the kickoff return but had just one catch for 17 yards receiving.

The loss ends a remarkable run for Mt. San Antonio, which won the state championship game in 2009 and 2010 and lost to San Francisco in 2007, Butte in 2008 and CCSF again last year. The only other team to reach the title game 5 straight years since the game was instituted in 1997 is CCSF, whose streak went from 2003 through 2007, and no other Southern California team has reached the title game in consecutive years.

The win advances Bakersfield to the state championship game for the first time since 2000, and just as was the came 12 years ago will face City College of San Francisco in the title game at Memorial Stadium in Bakersfield. Preliminary word is that kickoff will be at 1 pm, and regardless of when on December 8th the game begins will be there with full coverage.

Bakersfield Renegades 30, Mt. San Antonio Mounties 21

Saturday, November 24, 2012 - 6 pm - Hilmer Lodge Stadium, Walnut
Southern California Championship

1st Quarter:

M - Overton 8 yd run (Cejudo kick) 12:20 (0-7)

2nd Quarter:

B - FG Schleicher 27 yds 9:23 (3-7)
B - Burrell 1 yd run (Schleicher kick) 4:50 (10-7)
M - Clay 89 yd kickoff return (Cejudo kick) 4:36 (10-14)
B - M.Johnson 45 yd pass from Burrell (Schleicher kick) 2:44 (17-14)
M - Sullivan 21 yd pass from Montana (Cejudo kick) 0:32 (17-21)

3rd Quarter:

No Scoring

4th Quarter:

B - M.Johnson 18 yd pass from Burrell (kick blocked) 13:35 (23-21)
B - Dunn 7 yd pass from Burrell (Schleicher kick) 5:02 (30-21)

Team Statistics: First Downs: Mt. SAC 15 (8 rush, 6 pass, 1 penalty), Bakersfield 26 (11 rush, 11 pass, 4 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Mt. SAC 39-206, Bakersfield 43-211
Passing Yds: Mt. SAC 115, Bakersfield 213
Comp-Att-Int: Mt. SAC 10-19-1, Bakersfield 18-34-0
Return Yds: Mt. SAC 159, Bakersfield 62
Sacks-Yds: Mt. SAC 0-0, Bakersfield 5-26
Fumbles-Lost: Mt. SAC 1-0, Bakersfield 2-2
Penalties-Yds: Mt. SAC 12-110, Bakersfield 4-45
Time of Possession: Mt. SAC 26:23, Bakersfield 33:37

Individual Statistics: Rushing: M 20-Overton 22-154, 11-Montana 10-31, 30-Gatewood 4-19, 29-Yarbrough 2-3, 1-Ingraham 1-(-1); B 29-Sykes 21-106, 3-McGregor 16-93, 2-Burrell 4-9, 6-Martin 1-4, team 1-(-1)
Passing: M 11-Montana 10-19-1-115, 1 TD; B 2-Burrell 18-33-0-213, 3 TDs; 29-Sykes 0-1-0-0
Receiving: M 1-Ingraham 3-28, 41-Scanlan 2-20, 88-Sullivan 1-21, 4-Clay 1-17, 82-Taylor 1-16, 83-Carden 1-9, 18-Gatti 1-4; B 84-M.Johnson 6-120, 6-Martin 5-41, 85-Dunn 3-35, 29-Sykes 2-3, 82-Martinez 1-9, 89-Hearn 1-5
Sacks-Yds: M none; B 11-Hollis 2-13, 38-Sombo 1-7, 5-Campbell 1-5, 45-Oglesby 1-1
Interceptions-Ret Yds: M none; B 23-Stuart 1-0
Fumble Rec: M 19-Bundage 1-0, 90-Nonu 1-0; B none
Punters: M 61-Cejudo 5-23.8 avg; B 13-Tijerina 2-41.5 avg
Kick Returns: M 4-Clay 2-102, 30-Gatewood 2-36, 44-Paredes 1-14, 88-Sullivan 1-7; B 29-Sykes 3-57, 89-Hearn 1-5
Punt Returns: M none; B 84-M.Johnson 1-0
Missed FG: M 61-Cejudo 37 yds (wide right); B none

Notes: MVP: Marquise Johnson. Bakersfield Player of the Game: Brian Burrell. Mt. SAC Player of the Game: Jamal Overton. Bakersfield improves to 10-2 while Mt. SAC finishes 11-1. Bundage recovered Johnson's punt muff in the 1st quarter to set up Mt. SAC's 1st TD. A bad snap greatly hindered Cejudo's 3rd punt; he did well to track down the ball and get a kick away but it went just 7 yards and led to Bakersfield's 1st TD. Mt. SAC had the ball just 4 times in the 2nd half, the last of which ended with Stuart's interception in the end zone with 3:10 left. This win ends Mt. SAC's 5-year reign atop Southern California and Bakersfield will face CC San Francisco December 8.

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