BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
It's been a postseason of rematches for Bakersfield College this season, so it should be no surprise the California Community College football title game is also a rematch.
Only this one dates to the 2000 season.
STATE TITLE GAME
Who: BC (10-2) vs. City College of San Francisco (10-1)
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Memorial Stadium
Tickets: $15 adults, $10 students, seniors and children under 12. Tickets are available at Kern Schools Credit Union locations, Luigi's Restaurant, The Padre Hotel, Frugatti's Restaurant, Covenant Coffee, Action Sports and the BC ticket office. BC athletic director Ryan Beckwith reported Monday that about 6,000 tickets have been sold and setting up of tailgating areas begins at 7 p.m. Thursday and is allowed all day Friday.
The Renegades and City College of San Francisco will battle for this year's state title Saturday in Memorial Stadium starting at 2 p.m.
On Dec. 9, 2000, the teams met in Visalia's Mineral King Bowl to decide the state championship, with San Francisco winning that day, 31-13.
The Renegades came into that game 10-1 -- the only loss was 18-16 to Santa Monica in the eighth game of the season.
CCSF was on a roll. It was 11-0 as it reached the state title game for the fourth straight season -- every season to that point since the state implemented the football playoff system in 1997.
The Rams were truly a powerhouse with a season dotted with lopsided victories. Beating them was a daunting challenge for BC. Dallas Grider was the Renegades' head coach, and at the time he acknowledged how difficult a task BC was facing.
"We have to play the best we're capable of playing, and maybe a little better than we're capable of playing," Grider told The Californian in days leading up to the game. "If we are to win it, we're going to have to play better than we really are."
One of the starters for BC that day was freshman safety James McGill. He'll be at the stadium Saturday as an assistant coach with the Renegades. He works with the defensive backs, with a focus on safeties.
"The main thing I remember is we lost," said McGill, who works with special education students at Vista West High in addition to coaching at BC. "We knew we had a good team but they executed better than us.
"They were a good team. They had a lot of D-I guys."
McGill played two seasons at Kansas State after leaving BC.
"We won the Big-12 championship, and I remember a linebacker at Oklahoma (Lance Mitchell) who we played for the Big-12 championship played at San Francisco."
The 2000 San Francisco team "had a lot more offense than we did," McGill said. "We didn't have many offensive guys. We banked on defense the two years. We'd win a lot of games 9-7, 10-7.
"That's the difference from 2000 to 2012: We have way more offensive weapons than we had in 2000."
Also back on the BC sidelines is current head coach Jeff Chudy, who was a defensive backs assistant coach on Grider's staff in 2000.
"I just remember we created some opportunities," Chudy said. "We missed three field goals in the first half. We never gave ourselves a chance to get momentum. We'd get something going but couldn't capitalize. Things just fizzled out. Sort of like the (first) Mount SAC game (this season)."
George Rush, who is in his 36th season as CCSF's coach, said he recalls the BC fans -- more than 4,000 of the 6,250 in attendance were BC rooters.
"Visalia is a lot closer to Bakersfield than San Francisco and they packed the stadium," Rush said. "Both sides of the stadium were packed with Bakersfield fans. They were really into the game."
BC got to this year's title game by avenging its two regular-season losses. Wins over previously unbeaten Ventura and Mount San Antonio put the Renegades into this Saturday's game.
Back in 2000, CCSF scored first, on an 18-yard TD pass from Taylor Barton to Prince Brockenbrough.
But the Renegades tied it when cornerback Billy Gilbert blocked a punt and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown.
That was the highlight for the Renegades. By the time BC scored again, it was over. The Rams had a 31-7 lead when quarterback Jason Ghilarducci completed a 10-yard TD pass to Rich Sheasley with six minutes left in the game.
BC kicker Trevor Lancaster had two first-half field goal attempts blocked. Another attempt never materialized when holder Sheasley was tackled before he could get the ball placed. And Lancaster also missed a 38-yard attempt.
"My team won a Big-12 championship and that is one of my career highlights," McGill said. "But that 2000 game remains on my mind. Here we had a team with a lot of players from Kern County and we never got that win for a state championship."