Clad in camouflage jerseys in honor of Veterans Day, the Pasadena City College Lancers (2-8, 1-5) ended their season with a 28-3 loss to the Bakersfield College Renegades (5-4, 3-2) at Robinson Stadium on Saturday.
Field position proved to be a major factor as Bakersfield began two drives inside the PCC 20-yard line, scoring touchdowns on both.
Despite suffering their seventh consecutive loss, Lancers head coach Fred Fimbres expressed pride in his team after he chose to keep them in the tougher National Northern Conference this season.
“That’s where we need to be,” said Fimbres. “We’re committed to competing against the best. We obviously have strides we need to take, but I think as we look at the whole season, despite the losing streak, there’s a lot of improvements that have taken place.”
“We’re proud of [the team],” he continued. “They worked as hard as they could to represent the school and that’s all we can ask from them.”
The game got off to a rocky start for the Lancers, as Bakersfield wideout Derrick Vickers ripped off a 55-yard run on the first play of the contest, cutting back at midfield to extend his run all the way to the Lancers 20-yard line.
Two plays later, Bakersfield quarterback Tarek Yaeggie connected with receiver Marquise Johnson in the end zone for a 20-yard strike that put the Renegades up 7-0 with just over a minute off the clock.
PCC’s first drive stalled at midfield, but their defense came up big when lineman Dyaire Hicks made a diving interception on a deflected pass near the line of scrimmage.
“One of our players tipped the ball and I was just lucky enough to run under it and make a play,” said Hicks.
Unfortunately for the Lancers, they were unable to convert Hicks’ play into points.
Bakersfield tight end Khalin Smith widened his team’s lead to 14-0, scoring on a sweep to the left pilon late in the first quarter.
As the sun set behind the west end zone, PCC’s offense showed signs of life. Early in the second quarter, quarterback Trevor Hampton hooked up with speedy wideout J. Turner Jackson for a 20-yard gain that set up the offense at the Bakersfield 12-yard line.
However, Hampton was sacked on third down, forcing PCC to settle for a 36-yard field goal by Franklyn Cervanka that would turn out to be their only points of the contest.
Bakersfield’s special teams then struck when Vickers found an opening on a punt return and set his team up at the Lancers 13-yard line.
The Lancers defense stood up to several tough inside runs from Bakersfield, but eventually yielded to running back Triton Douglas who scored from one yard out, putting the score at 21-3.
The second half began in similar fashion to the first when, after a quick three and out, Vickers added to his big night by returning a short punt 37 yards to the PCC 17-yard line. He finished with 89 return yards on two attempts.
A few plays later, Johnson grabbed his second touchdown of the night with a 6-yard catch from Yaeggie that made it 28-3.
After the game, Johnson cited the frequent man-to-man coverage as a reason for his prolific evening, finishing with seven catches for 103 yards and the two touchdowns.
“It was just me and the cornerback [mostly], no safeties coming over the top,” said Johnson. “It was Cover-2 one time, on my first touchdown, but [the safety] just didn’t come over quick enough.”
The rest of the contest played out largely uneventfully, with the teams mostly trading punts.
PCC linebacker Terry Wilson provided a bright spot by reading Yaeggie and jumping in front of a Bakersfield receiver to intercept a pass late in the third quarter.
Wideout Ahmad Springer replaced Hampton at quarterback in the fourth quarter, scrambling out of the pocket for good yardage, including a 28-yard run down to the Bakersfield 15-yard line.
However, the Renegades’ Robert Watson recovered a late red zone fumble by ball carrier Nickolas Gonzales, ensuring that the Lancers would not cross the goal line in their season finale.
The win extends the Renegades winning streak to four games, and they now lead the all-time series against the Lancers 17-13-1.