College

Saturday, Dec 08 2012 10:58 PM

Memorial Stadium attendance sets record

BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer jevans@bakersfield.com

The announced crowd of 11,769 grew substantially an hour after the conclusion of Bakersfield College's 35-14 win over City College of San Francisco for the state football championship at 19,500-seat Memorial Stadium.

The revised figure was 16,125, which appeared to be a more accurate number based on a late-game observation of how many spectators were sitting in Memorial Stadium seats.

Either figure is a state record for a football championship game since the playoff system was implemented in 1997.

BC Athletic Director Ryan Beckwith was incensed when the smaller crowd figure was announced in the third quarter.

"No one knows where that number came from," Beckwith said. "It wasn't the official number. How could it be? They were still counting the tickets."

It was likely the largest crowd for a BC game since some of the classic BC-Taft Shrine Potato Bowls that were last played in the early 1990s. Taft dropped football after the 1994 season.

The weather helped: sunny skies with temperatures in the low 60s at kickoff with no wind. And BC built ticket sales thanks to a 13-day break between the Southern California title game and the state championship game.

Chudy credits crowd

BC coach Jeff Chudy said the boisterous crowd, which created quite a site with white hand-towel waving fans, played a pivotal role in the Renegades' fast start.

"It was absolutely electrifying," Chudy said. "To have this kind of atmosphere, it's so much more memorable."

The Renegades built a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and led 28-0 midway through the second quarter.

"Obviously, the way our guys came out, it had something to do with the crowd," Chudy said. "They really embraced this game and that had a lot to do with how we played. ...

"Our players knew these people were here for them. That was a huge impetus for us to come out and play the way we did.

"That's an 'X' factor you can't put a number on."

Program cover angers Chudy

The cover of the program sold at the game featured two players: one from San Francisco, the other from Mount San Antonio College, which BC knocked out of the playoffs two weeks ago.

The cover was photo-shopped, according to Fred Baer, who has operated the JC Athletic Bureau for nearly 50 years. The JC Athletic Bureau keeps track of records and other information from California community colleges.

"The program was an embarrassment. Are you kidding me?" Chudy said, referring to a Mount SAC player on the cover instead of a Renegade. "We didn't know about it until (Friday) afternoon. ... You bet we did tell our players about it."

Martin eyed CCSF, picked BC

Freshman receiver Brock Martin from Ridgeview High has had a fine season for the Renegades. He has acknowledged that he considered playing for CCSF before deciding to remain in Bakersfield.

"I thought about going there," said Martin, who had a 40-yard catch Saturday and a crucial catch for a first down in the playoff win over Mount SAC two weeks earlier. "I made a couple of phone calls."

After the win Saturday, Martin said he was glad to have remained in Bakersfield.

"I'm so proud of the decision I made," he said. "BC, legacy. I love being at BC."

Clerou's legacy apparent

The Nov. 20 death of longtime BC athletic team physician Dr. Romain Clerou was not forgotten Saturday.

A black "RC" emblem was painted on both 25-yard lines for Saturday's game. Just beyond the north goal line, "In memory of Dr. Clerou" was painted on the grass."

Clerou, who was 98, was a BC player in 1934-35 and became BC's team physician in 1945. He remained involved with the program into his 1990s.

"I like to think the big Renegade in the sky was looking down on us tonight," Chudy said. "I'm sure he's lighting up a cigar right about now and smiling."

Staff writer Zach Ewing contributed to this report

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