Huntington Beach, Calif. - Golden West football drops a thriller 20-19 to Bakersfield College in front of a sold out home opening crowd.
The Ruslters got on the scoreboard first with a Gianni Hurd one yard rushing touchdown (Jake Cipres missed extra point) to cap a four play 51 yard drive to take a 6-0 lead. Bakersfield would take advantage of a Golden West fumble just before the end of the first quarter to take a 7-6 lead. The Renegades would extend their lead before halftime 14-6, following their best drive of the afternoon.
The Rustler's defense gave Bakersfield issues all afternoon, racking up seven sacks to bottle up Bakersfield in backfield and force them to throw the ball. Freshman Elisha Martin lead the defense with three sacks while teammates Sele Pemasa and Pablo Araya each recorded 1.5 sacks.
The Rustlers came out after halftime fired up and drove the ball down the field in ten plays to cut into the lead 14-13 on a six yard touchdown pass to Tanner Branson. Quarterback Jake Retzlaff then kicked off the fourth quarter driving Golden West 80 yards connecting with John Ojelabi for a 25 yard touchdown pass to take a 19-14 lead. The offense stayed on the field for a two-point conversion attempt but failed with a catch ruled out of bounds.
Bakersfield was able to respond with a touchdown to take a 20-19 lead after they failed to convert on their two-point attempt. This setup a final drive that saw Golden West convert on two fourth down attempts to extend the drive, first Retzlaff connected with Nick Kennewell for 10 yards. Then the biggest play of the drive had Retzlaff find Branson over the middle of the field for a 38 yard completion to put the ball on the Bakersfield seven yard line. After a Golden West spike to stop the clock, the kicking unit came out on second down with 11 seconds on the clock. Unfortunately, Cipres pushed the ball and missed wide right to drop the home opener in a thriller, 20-19.
Golden West will be on the road next week as they travel to Riverside City College for a 6pm kickoff.