Bakersfield Shows Ventura the Ropes

Halloween turned out to be a nightmare for the Ventura Pirates at Bakersfield Memorial Stadium as the Renegades used a balanced offense and unyielding defense to clinch at least a share of the Northern National title and a berth in the SoCal playoffs in a convincing 44-14 victory.

Starting slowly on offense with a pair of field goals, the BC momentum continued to get stronger and stronger as the game wore on. The Pirates never entered the red zone until the game was well in hand in the 4th quarter and Coach Jeff Chudy (Photo) called off the dogs and substituted freely.

The game started with a bad omen for VC as the opening kickoff went out of bounds giving BC a 1st and ten at the forty. The Pirates held, but a Dalton Botts punt was downed at the Pirate one yard line. The Pirates couldn't muster any offense, but managed to hold the Renegades to 35 and 46 yard field goals by Josh Gallington in the first quarter. Ventura freshman QB Antavius Sims looked like the injury he sustained the previous week would have no effect on him, but he was soon taken out of the game, and in fact, could barely walk up the hill to the locker room at halftime. Both teams had key injuries coming into the game. The Pirates would also miss their outstanding Corner Travaun Nixon, the state leader in interceptions and the Gades All-Conference defensive lineman Maurice "Big Mo" Hayes suffered a season ending injury last week.

After taking that early 6-0 lead, BC running back Ben Estill took over and led the Gades down the field finally punching it in from 7 yards out. After stifling the Pirates again on their next possesion, another Botts punt hit the back of a Ventura player and the Gades recovered. Kilgore then faked a bubble screen pass to the right, and RB Estill ran a wheel route up the left sideline and latched onto the pass in the end zone for halftime lead of 20-0.

In the 2nd half the Gades continued to dominate the game. Logan hit Will Randall on a play action pass before Jeff Bush could bring him down after a 43 yard gain. Kilgore then hit TE Nathan Stevens for a 22 yard TD pass making it 27-0. On the next Pirate possession, backup Ventura QB Greg Jiminez threw a pass that was deflected and picked by Yul Hawkins. Kilgore then hit Randall again on a deep post and Kelvin Hampton punched it it to go up 34-0. Jimenez got the ball rolling on the Pirates first serious drive, but an overthrow in the endzone was picked by Eddie Coronado, his 5th of the season, and this game was in the refrigerator. Kilgore put the icing on the cake with another TD pass to Stevens and a 41-0 lead. From there, the Gades substitued freely and Jimenez started to find the range and Pirate RB Dominic Morris was also finding holes to run through. Nick Karam finally scored on a 2 yard reverse. Gallington hit another 46 yard field goal, and a Jimenez to Nick Gunter TD pass closed out the scoring for a 44-14 Renegade victory.

Notes

When the Renegades lost RB Andre Smith after a 187 yard performance in the opener against Fresno, Bakersfield fans were traumatized. But Ben Estill has picked up the reins nicely. Ben figured to see a lot of playing time anyway, but it put a lot of pressure on him to perform and he has magnificently. Ben may remind old timers of former Washington Redskin great John Riggins. The kid just refuses to go down.

Even though the Gades were without Maurice Hayes, the likeable team leader was not pouting and was right there on the sideline barking out encouragement to his team mates. Whichever D-1 program ends up with this kid, will have a gem of a player. Coach Chudy agrees. "He's knows every kid on the team's name and treats them all the same. He's just a genuine, kind hearted, high character guy. His playing ability is obvious, but his character is just astounding."

The Gades will have a nicely timed bye week coming up. This time of year there are usually a lot of banged up players. Fortunately for the Gades, last week they had their entire Offensive Line ready to go for the first time since the beginning of the season. I know Logan Kilgore is glad to have them all, the QB who only threw 10 passes in high school has done exactly what the coaches have wanted from him. Limit the interceptions, and lead a balanced offense. His confidence is now gaining to go with his great arm. He has overthrown many wide open receivers this year, but Chudy prefers that to underthrowing them.

For the Pirates it was a disappointing night. You could see how Sims has brought a successful element to the VC offense with his elusiveness. I believe that Sims previous injury was a bad ankle, but it seemed like he was favoring a bad left hip. Maybe a hip pointer is what really took him out. Ventura has destiny in their own hands. If they can beat Hancock next week at home, they will get an at large berth in the playoffs. If they don't win that game, chances are pretty great that they will deservedly get a non playoff bowl berth. At any rate, Coach Jon Mack has them going in the right direction.


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