BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
WESTLAKE VILLAGE -- This was not a night the Bakersfield High and Oaks Christian defenses will remember fondly.
Oaks Christian, a CIF Southern Section power ranked 13th in one state poll, survived a last-ditch Driller drive in a 51-50 season-opening win.
"It was a track meet," BHS coach Paul Golla said. "It's probably great for the fans but I'm exhausted."
The Drillers spotted the Lions a 21-0 first-quarter lead. BHS had a chance to win at the end, but junior Coleman Olivas' 29-yard field goal try sailed barely wide left -- by about the width of the football -- with six seconds left.
"These kids had such a great off-season -- lifting-wise, running," Golla said. "We all believed we would come back in the second half.
"I am so unbelievably proud. Down by 21, and the leadership of this football team took over. Now I'm not happy with the score."
BHS senior quarterback Asauni Rufus carried the ball 44 times for 268 yards and four touchdowns. He even added a 2-point conversion run with 6:46 left in the game that pulled the Drillers within one.
After Oaks Christian punted on its next posession, the Drillers took over on their 22 with 449 left. They drove to the 15 before the last-ditch field goal attempt.
"We wanted a touchdown there, but we ran out of clock," Golla said.
Golla did not put any blame on Olivas.
"If anyone is mad, they should be mad at me for allowing 51 points," Golla said. "That's life. ... I guarantee there's not one guy on our team is going to feel any different."
Oaks Christian quarterback Brandon Dawkins, who has committed to Arizona, was unstoppable. He was 20-of-34 for 434 yards and six touchdowns.
"We couldn't get a lot of pressure on him. We'll go back and get that stuff fixed," Golla said.
The Driller defense had one big play against Dawkins. Linebacker Nathaniel Stancil sacked him, forced a fumble and Marcus Bruce returned it 9 yards for the touchdown. Rufus added a two-point conversion that made it 51-50.
Oaks Christian 51, BHS 50
Oaks Christian (1-0)2110200--52
OC--Riggins 2 run (Sullivan kick)
OC--Howard 14 pass from Dawkins (Sullivan kick)
OC--Davis 70 pass from Dawkins (Sullivan kick)
B--Rufus 1 run (Olivas kick)
B--Bruce 1 run (Olivas kick)
OC--Dr.Holmes 49 pass from Dawkins (Sullivan kick)
B--Rufus 2 run (Olivas kick)
OC--Sullivan 26 FG
B--Rufus 3 run (Olivas kick)
OC--Tr.Howard 11 pass from Dawkins (Sullivan kick)
B--Rufus 18 run (Olivas kick)
OC--Pittman 30 pass from Dawkins (Sullivan kick)
B--Vickers 37 run (Olivas kick)
OC--Davis 23 pass from Dawkins (kick blocked)
B--Bruce 9 fumble return (Rufus run)
BHS--Rufus 44-268, Vickers 8-120, Reddick 8-89, Bruce 8-67, Malone 2-12. OC--Riggins 9-17, Dawkins 3-(-13), Dr.Holmes 2-(-2), Da.Holmes 2-24, team 1-(-12).
PASSING--BHS: Rufus 1-6-1, 30 yards. OC: Dawkins 20-34-0, 434 yards.
RECEIVING--BHS: Hill 1-30. OC: Davis 8-184, Th.Howard 5-96, Da.Holmes 2-62, Cyphers 1-35, To.Howard 1-11, Pittman 1-30, Vincent 1-1.