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By John Harte / Special to The Californian
BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
A winning season for Bakersfield College football comes down to the Renegades' final three games of the regular season.
BC, which is 3-4 overall and 1-2 in the National Northern Conference, must win them all. Currently on a two-game winning streak, the challenge to keep that going is more daunting this week with formidable Cerritos College next on the schedule.
BC (3-4) at Cerritos (5-2)
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Cerritos College
Radio: 1230 AM (pre-game 6:30 p.m.)
Series: BC leads 14-13
Rankings: Cerritos No. 9 state, No. 6 SoCal; BC unranked state, No. 17 SoCal
Notes: Cerritos lost to Fullerton 38-14 in Week 2 and 45-21 to Mt. San Antonio in Week 3. BC lost to Mt. SAC 40-9 in Week 2 and 45-23 to Fullerton in Week 3. ... Cerritos had beaten BC six straight times dating to 1985 before last season's 21-14 Renegades win. The teams did not meet from 1986-2000.
"We're going to have to play our best game of the year," BC coach Jeff Chudy said. "More importantly, we've got to keep progressing. I think we're starting to click a little bit."
Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Falcons Stadium.
Cerritos (5-2 overall, 3-0 NNC) appears to be the strongest team BC will face in the second half of its season.
"I'd agree with that," Chudy said.
The Falcons are ranked No. 9 in the state with their only two defeats against teams that also beat the Renegades: No. 2 Fullerton and No. 5 Mount San Antonio.
BC also has losses against No. 8 Canyons and No. 23 Ventura, which was ranked No. 12 when it played the Renegades. Bakersfield beat then-No. 15 ranked El Camino two weeks ago.
Cerritos has had plenty of success over the years against BC. Last year the Renegades beat the Falcons 21-14, BC's closest game over its final nine-game race to the state title. Cerritos had beaten BC six straight times prior to that.
"Those guys have a good program," Chudy said. "Those coaches don't leave any stone unturned. They're as well a prepared football tam as we'll play."
Cerritos and Canyons are both 3-0 in NNC play and they meet next Saturday at Canyons to likely decide which team has the NNC's automatic berth into the Southern California playoffs.
The biggest challenge facing BC tonight is containing 240-pound Cerritos running back Elijhaa Penny, who averages 118.9 rushing yards per game to rank No. 8 in the state and No. 2 in Southern California. His 14 rushing touchdowns tied him with Hartnell's De'Andre Mann for the most in the state.
"He's a different type of player with great vision," Chudy said. "We haven't faced anyone like him yet. He's a force to be reckoned with. He's all what his stats are, a really good player."
BC's Preston Hodges is No. 2 in the NNC in rushing and No. 19 in the state with a 94.4 yards per game average.