BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
The sophomores who have spent the last two seasons playing football at Bakersfield College face a potentially emotional day today.
This will be their final home game.
Hancock (2-6) at BC (3-5)
When: 4 p.m. today
Where: Memorial Stadium
Radio: KERN 1180 AM (pre-game show 3:30 p.m.)
Series: BC leads 17-5
Rankings: BC 18th in SoCal, Hancock unranked
Notes: Former or current BC students who served in the armed forces will be presented with medallions signifying them as one of BC's 100 Stars during halftime of today's game. To honor all of Kern County's military, the east side of Memorial Stadium will be turned into a wall of honor where community members can post photos and remembrances of their family's military members. ... BC has beaten Hancock eight of the last nine times the teams have met. ... Both teams are 1-3 in National Northern Conference play.
The Renegades (3-5, 1-3 National Northern Conference) play host to Allan Hancock College (2-6, 1-3) at 4 p.m. in Memorial Stadium.
"I've been thinking about it all week," said sophomore middle linebacker Grant Campbell, a Garces High graduate and the BC leader with 88 tackles. "All these sophomores, it's going to be the last time we play in Bakersfield for any sporting event."
"It definitely hit me when I was thinking about it at home this week," said sophomore safety Chris Hannible, BC's starting safety and a Bakersfield High graduate. "I'm not usually emotional but it is touching, playing my last game in Bakersfield."
Both were standouts as freshmen last season when BC closed its season by winning nine straight games and won the program's first football state championship.
That title and all wins from the 2012 and 2011 seasons were later stripped by the Southern California Football Association and the California Community College Athletic Association because of alleged violations of state rules. BC is appealing.
"This group of sophomores is special," BC coach Jeff Chudy said. "This is a group of guys who have stuck with us. They've hung in there and I know as coaches we are all extremely proud of them."
There won't be any postseason play for the Renegades this season. A postseason ban was placed on BC by the SCFC but any appeal of that is moot because only teams with winning records are eligible for postseason play, according to the CCCAA.
At 3-5, BC needs to win its final two games to reach .500, but there's no hope for a winning season.
That doesn't detract from today's game.
"It's going to be special," Campbell said. "It's going to be great, a great, great night."
"The things we have are memories," Hannible said. "Oh yeah. I have good memories."
Added Campbell: "When I think of BC and this school, I think of one heart beat and one organism, especially when I play for this team. It's going to be emotional playing my last home game here."
For Chudy, the on-the-field results may pale from a year ago but he is focusing on the group that will take the field today.
"The sophomore group of guys we have are good character guys," he said. "They're good people. They're good teammates. They've led by example. They've done everything we've asked them to do and then some. They've worked extremely hard. We want to send them off in a fitting way.
"At the end of the day, we didn't have enough bullets in the chamber and we just made too many mistakes."
Chudy noted that each of his athletes has something to play for today and next Saturday in the season finale at Pasadena.
"We will play with pride and we will play hard," Chudy said. "We're playing to get better. And also, our sophomores are playing to get on tape (for potential four-year program recruiters) and our freshman guys want to get noticed, too."