Mt. SAC Advances to SoCal Final

Matt Faulkner passed for 306 yards and Jeremy Brown kicked four field goals as #1 seed Mt. San Antonio advanced to its third consecutive Southern California championship game with a 39-17 win over #4 seed Bakersfield Saturday afternoon at Hilmer Lodge Stadium in Walnut.

Faulkner staked the Mounties to an early 7-0 lead with a 66-yard touchdown pass to Jesse Canada, part of a magnificent start by the home team as Mt. SAC built a 20-0 lead. Bakersfield cut the margin to six points at halftime and still trailed by the same margin until Brown's field goal with 2:09 left clinched the win. Two touchdowns on interception returns in the final 1:31 accounted for Mt. SAC's final points, making the final score look very different from how most of the game was played.

Mt. SAC jumped out to the early lead on the long pass to Canada, and built a 20-0 lead in the game's first 20 minutes. In fact, the lead could have been even greater had Mt. SAC capitalized on all of its chances. Already leading, 7-0, the Mounties drove to the Bakersfield 8 later in the first quarter before settling for a 24-yard field goal by Brown. That followed a disastrous sequence in which Bruce Irvin of Mt. SAC almost singlehandedly stopped the Renegade offense, throwing Matthew Estill for 3-yard losses on first and second down and then forcing an incomplete pass with a hurry on Logan Kilgore. Then on the punt, Bakersfield's standout cornerback, Yul Hawkins was injured and had to be helped off the field; he did not return.

In the second quarter, the lead went to 17-0 when Kolby Arendse scored on a 3-yard run three plays after Faulkner completed a 57-yard pass to Canada to get the ball to the Renegade 6.  Later in the quarter, Mt. SAC again settled for a field goal with 10:45 left in the half that made it 20-0, but Brown missed another field goal try with 7:14 left and a bad snap doomed what would have been a 24-yard field goal try in the final minute of the half.

After falling behind, Bakersfield rallied late in the second quarter, sparked by a 78-yard pass from Kilgore to Rishard Matthews. Mt. SAC's Arness Ikner caught Matthews and pushed him out of bounds at the 1, but on the next play Estill got the Renegades on the board with a 1-yard touchdown run with 5:17 left in the half. Then, after a Mt. SAC punt, its first of the day, Bakersfield drove quickly down the field, helped by a pair of Mt. SAC penalties, and Estill scored his second touchdown of the day on a 30-yard dash that pushed his season total past 1000 yards. That touchdown, with 1:56 left in the half, cut the Mt. SAC lead to 20-14 at the break.

For most of the second half, points were scarce as each team managed just a single field goal. On the third play of the half, Malcolm Murray intercepted a Kilgore pass at the Bakersfield 45.  That set up a 32-yard field goal by Brown that made it 23-14. Bakersfield answered with a field goal by Josh Gallington from 27 yards out with 12:01 left in the fourth quarter to again get within 6 points at 23-17.

After the field goal, Mt. SAC got a great kickoff return from Breydan Torres-Keohoka, who brought the ball back to the Bakersfield 48.  But two plays later, Bakersfield got an ever greater play from defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford to get the ball back. Crawford deflected a Faulkner pass at the line; the ball went almost straight up, and Crawford seemed to be the only player on the field who realized where it was. Crawford then reached above the pile and grabbed the falling football for an interception at the Bakersfield 45 with 10:21 left and the Renegades trailing by just six points.

Bakersfield drove into Mt. SAC territory, thanks largely to a 24-yard pass from Kilgore to Estill that got the ball to the 22. But the drive stalled there, and Bakersfield faced a 4th and 9 from the 21. On came Gallington for a field goal to cut the margin to just three points. But Mt. SAC deflected the kick at the line, keeping the score 23-17 with 7:04 remaining.

At that point, Mt. SAC brought reserve tight end Kolby Arendse in to run the offense from the wildcat position.& Actually, most wildcat formations featured a speedy scat-back, not a 6-3, 225-pound bruiser, which is more like a Mountain Lion. Regardless, Arendse the Mountain Lion pushed his way downfield, gaining 35 yards on the first play of the drive and 25 more on six more carries, with an 11-yard pass from Faulkner to Burton Iosefa thrown in to pick up a first down. The drive stalled at the Bakersfield 11, but Brown came on and booted his 4th field goal of the day with 2:09 left to make it 26-17 and basically clinch the win for the Mounties.

But Mt. SAC wasn't quite through scoring yet. A short kickoff gave Bakersfield the ball near midfield, and a penalty against Mt. SAC helped get the ball to the 29. But on the next play, Kilgore's pass was intercepted by Murray for his second pick of the day. He returned the interception some 85 yards for the touchdown, making it 33-17. Then, after Bakersfield got the ball back, the Mt. SAC defense scored again when Kerel James intercepted Kilgore's final pass of the day. He returned it up the left sideline and, as he was being dragged down by Estill, flipped the ball back to Austin Daniels, who carried it the final 55 yards for a touchdown on the game's final play to make it 39-17.

For Mt. SAC, Faulkner completed 22 of 40 passes for 306 yards. Canada led the Mounties with 6 catches for 136 yards, including the 66-yard touchdown. Arendse, the Mountain Lion, led all rushers with 106 yards on 12 carries, including a touchdown. And one cannot neglect Brown, who kicked 4 field goals, including the game-clincher with 2:09 left.

For Bakersfield, Kilgore was 15 for 31 for 226 yards, and though he threw three interceptions, two of them came in desperation time with the game's outcome already decided. Matthews led all receivers with 7 catches for 140 yards, and also returned 5 kickoffs for 110 yards. Estill finished with 99 yards rushing on 23 carries, pushing his season total well past the thousand-yard mark.

With the win, Mt. SAC advances to the Southern California state championship game for the third straight year. Last year, the Mounties edged #1-seed Canyons in a wild, 51-44, game after scoring the final touchdown with 10 seconds left. This time, the Mounties will host Palomar next week at Hilmer Lodge Stadium with game time still to be announced but likely at 6 pm.
Mt. San Antonio Mounties 39
Bakersfield Renegades 17

Saturday, November 28, 2009 - 1 pm - Hilmer Lodge Stadium, Walnut
Playoffs - Southern California Semifinal

1st Quarter:
M - Canada 66 yd pass from Faulkner (Brown kick) 9:16 (7-0)
M - FG Brown 24 yds 3:48 (10-0)

2nd Quarter:
M - Arendse 3 yd run (Brown kick) 14:18 (17-0)
M - FG Brown 43 yds 10:45 (20-0)
B - Estill 1 yd run (Gallington kick) 5:17 (20-7)
B - Estill 30 yd run (Gallington kick) 1:56 (20-14)

3rd Quarter:
M - FG Brown 32 yds 11:28 (23-14)

4th Quarter:
B - FG Gallington 27 yds 12:01 (23-17)
M - FG Brown 28 yds 2:09 (26-17)
M - Murray 85 yd interception return (Brown kick) 1:31 (33-17)
M - Daniels 55 yd interception return after lateral from James (no try) 0:00 (39-17)

Team Statistics: First Downs: Mt. San Antonio 18 (6 rush, 12 pass), Bakersfield 19 (5 rush, 11 pass, 3 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Mt. San Antonio 35-171, Bakersfield 32-118
Passing Yds: Mt. San Antonio 338, Bakersfield 266
Comp-Att-Int: Mt. San Antonio 23-41-1, Bakersfield 16-32-3
Return Yds: Mt. San Antonio 279, Bakersfield 166
Sacks-Yds: Mt. San Antonio 2-13, Bakersfield 0-0
Fumbles-Lost: Mt. San Antonio 1-0, Bakersfield 2-1
Penalties-Yds: Mt. San Antonio 10-93, Bakersfield 5-41
Time of Possession: Mt. San Antonio 32:43, Bakersfield 27:17
Individual Statistics:
M 18-Arendse 12-106, 29-B.Iosefa 10-41, 28-L.Iosefa 6-15, 3-McBride 5-14, 17-Faulkner 1-2, team 1-(-7); B 44-Estill 23-99, 8-Matthews 1-18, 10-Kilgore 6-4, 28-Hampton 1-(-2), team 1-(-1)
Passing: M 17-Faulkner 22-40-1-306, 1 TD; 85-Parham 1-1-0-32; B 10-Kilgore 15-31-3-226; 8-Matthews 1-1-0-40
Receiving: M 4-Canada 6-136, 5-Thomas 6-41, 22-Owens 3-19, 81-Brun 2-38, 18-Arendse 2-25, 29-B.Iosefa 2-25, 3-McBride 1-32, 14-Harrell 1-22; B 8-Matthews 7-140, 14-Randle 4-41, 30-Harris 2-55, 44-Estill 2-23, 5-Van Horne 1-7
Interceptions-Ret Yds: M 8-Murray 2-85, 44-James 1-32, 2-Daniels 0-55; B 92-Crawford 1-0
Fumble Rec-Ret Yds: M 95-Dancy 1-0; B none
Sacks-Yds: M 99-Tuifalasai 1-8, 11-Irvin 1-5; B none
Punters:   M 46-Campbell 3-43.7 avg; B 17-Botts 5-36.2 avg
Kick Returns: M 86-Torres-Keohoka 2-73, 24-Ralph 1-11, 48-Palu 1-11; B 8-Matthews 5-110, 30-Harris 1-22, 44-Estill 1-21
Punt Returns: M 22-Owens 1-2; B 8-Matthews 2-13
Return of Blocked FG: M 2-Daniels 1-18
Missed FG: M 49-Brown 42 yds (short); B 17-Gallington 48 yds (short), 38 yds (blocked)

Notes: Mt. SAC, the #1 seed, improves to 11-1 while Bakersfield, the #4 seed, finishes 10-2. Estill went over the 1000-yd mark for the season on his 30-yd TD run. Mt. SAC used Arendse at the wildcat position; that's how he picked up all those rushing yards. Murray's 1st int set up Brown's 3rd FG. DT Crawford first tipped the ball into the air and then made the catch for his int. Bakersfield tried to cut the margin to 3 but Gallington's FGA with 7:04 left was blocked. On the final play, James intercepted the pass at the 13 and got near midfield; just as he was being tackled by Estill he flipped the ball back to Daniels, who scored the TD as time ran out.

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