By Evans On Sports
The Renegades traveled to Mission Viejo on Saturday (Sept. 11) and faced a Saddleback team that had visions of being a state champion-caliber team this year.
I would rank the 41-24 BC victory one of the more special victories in the years I've been covering the Renegades; definitely in the top 5 (I've been covering BC off and on — mostly on — since 1985).
There have been bigger games, such as playoff games and first place-on-the-line conference games. But this was special because of the way the Renegades played after, frankly, not looking very good seven days earlier despite beating L.A. Pierce in the season opener.
The Saddleback game was a test, against a good opponent. And there were some missed tackles and mistakes in the first quarter, when it looked like Saddleback might cruise to an easy win.
But that's when the special aspect of this was unveiled. The BC defense plays a lot of freshmen. The coaching staff sees the talent, but was waiting for it to mesh. Particularly in the second half, it did. The defense made big plays and was not hurt by Saddleback's athletic ability in the second half. The growth shown by the BC defense in only a week's time was remarkable.
The true test comes next week, when Antelope Valley visits BC; and the following week, when BC travels to Citrus.
BC should beat both of those teams. The Renegades must use those games to build consistency and confidence before the Oct. 2 game at home vs. Mount SAC, the defending state champion that has steamrolled two opponents already this season and looks to be primed for another run at a state title.
BC cannot afford to "play down" to the level of competition the next two weeks. The danger of a letdown is possible next week, although having a home game should negate that somewhat.
Other thoughts on Saturday's game:
-- Several Saddleback players came up to BC's players and coaches and shook hands after the traditional team-wide handshake following the game. That shows that the Gauchos run a class program (Saddleback will travel to BC next season).
-- BC QB Lyle Negron was hammered numerous times by hard-rushing Saddleback. He got up slowly a few times, but kept going right at the Gauchos.
-- Negron showed a savvy side to his quarterback ability in the fourth quarter when BC was trying to run the clock down. Negron stayed under center an extra 10-15 seconds before several snaps, waiting for the play clock to wind down to 2-3 seconds, each time with the game clock moving. You'd think that's an obvious action by a QB, but I've seen QBs snap the ball quickly at times in recent seasons when they didn't need to.
-- BC still needs to clean up some mistakes. A chance for a tie at halftime (BC trailed 17-13 at the break) ended when an illegal motion penalty against Julian Dean-Johnson nullified a Negron run that would have created a first-and-goal situation.
-- In the third quarter, BC had the ball for 10:50 compared to Saddleback's 4:10. I think Saddleback's defense was fatiged in the fourth quarter, when BC was able to mount some consistency on the ground.
-- The crowd was announced at 1,050, and it seemed like at least half were on the Bakersfield side of the stadium. Very good road turnout for a game more than 2-1/2 hours from Bakersfield.
Some Saturday scores of note involving teams on BC's schedule: Mt. SAC beat Canyons 34-19; El Camino beat Grossmont 21-14; Cerritos beat Palomar 34-17 and Pasadena beat Hancock 22-14.
Antelope Valley, BC's opponent next week, lost to Santa Barbara, 30-14.