Corsairs Fall to Bakersfield in Homecoming Game
Photo by: Jose Lopez
Homecoming is synonymous with football in America. It’s a very sentimental game that allows the home team to shine in front of possibly the largest showing of students, fans, and family. For the team, the energy of the homecoming festivities and crowd is their battery.
Four quarters and hard fought battle later, the Corsairs fell to the Bakersfield College Renegades with a final score of 14-26. Turnovers and a rough Bakersfield defense kept the Big Blue from getting their second W of the season after the Corsairs gave every ounce of heart and grit they had.
Early in the first quarter, the Corsairs offense looked like it was trying to find its pace after a sack on Corsair QB Weston Massett and a forced punt. Bakersfield mounted their attack with efficient passing, but their drive was stopped and they were forced to punt. Bakersfield receiver Derrick Vickers received ball on a carry but fumbled during the tackle and recovered by Corsairs CB Marek Spooner-Leduff. The Big Blue now were in scoring position.
After the fumble recovery, the Corsairs offense was determined to get on the board. At the 18 yard line, Massett called for the snap and found WR Hakeem Zeb in the end zone for the Corsairs first touchdown. This was Zeb’s first action since being injured with ligament sprains and tears in both of his knees. At the end of the first quarter, the Big Blue led by 7.
“That felt great, it’s my first game back,” said Zeb. “ They were running a lot of cover two [defense] and I could read the coverage well. I won my matchup and I knew I could beat the cover two.”
As the teams came back on the field for the second quarter, the Corsairs had possession and started the quarter off with more efficient passing which led to three first downs. However, just as Massett was looking to throw a long pass for a possible touchdown, Bakersfield managed to pick the pass off in their end zone and come up with their first interception.
The Corsairs’ defense was able to strike right back ending a Bakersfield drive with a 21 yard interception return by CB Carnell Lewis. However, the Corsairs were unable to make anything out of this turnover. A quarterback sack later, Bakersfield’s offense was coming back onto the field.
Bakersfield made several successful passes and runs to get within 10 yard of the SMC endzone. After a touchdown pass meant for Bakersfield’s Vickers was broken up, he then came out of the game with an injury, and a pass interference penalty was charged against the Corsairs which put bakersfield at 1st and goal. Bakersfield made a quick run and Bakersfield evened up the game with their first touchdown.
The Corsairs mounted a drive that was suppressed by the Renegades defense. The Renegades then came back with two long runs by RB La Meshio Hill and with 1:32 on the clock,
Bakersfield QB Cesar de Leon ran the ball into the endzone to give Bakersfield a 14-7 lead going into halftime.
The Santa Monica College Corsair mens football team runningback (1) Kwame Duggins (blue,center) makes a run for a first down but is stoped by the entire Bakersfiels College Renagades team in the 3rd quarter. (Photo By: Daniel Bowyer/Corsair Staff)
Photo by: Daniel Bowyer
As the second half began, SMC was determined to even this game up. Good defensive coverage ended several Bakersfield drives. Lewis came up with another interception which he returned for 34 yard and placed SMC on the 24 yard line and in position to score.
After RB Kwame Duggins gave the offense an extra 8 yards on two runs, Massett’s pass found Zeb again who ran the ball into the endzone and tied the game at 14-14 with about four minutes left in the third quarter.
In the final 15 minutes of the game, it became now or never for SMC to get the W. Early in the fourth quarter however, another pass from Massett was intercepted which led to a productive Bakersfield drive that ended in a 13 yard touchdown pass from de Leon to WR Jakell Tomlin and gave the Renegades a 20-14 lead after missing the extra point.
As the clock ticked down to zero, two more interceptions caught by the Renegades put them in command of the game. A good drive put the Renegades on the goal line and de Leon was able to make a 1 yard run for another Bakersfield touchdown.
After missing the two point conversion, the Renegades had a commanding lead of 26-14 with eight minutes left on the clock. Bakersfield would hold this lead as the final score of this game.
“I wouldn’t have done anything differently, we were fighting with them,” Coach Bill Laslett said after the game. “We came back but didn’t execute offensively when we needed to. In the end we were just telling Wes [Massett] to just throw it, and he’s a freshman so games like that are going to happen.”
With two games left on the calendar and our record standing at 1-7, there is nowhere to go but forward with this team. Despite the loss, the Corsairs put up respectable stats tonight. Massett threw 27-48 for 248 yards, Zeb ended with 2 TD and 116 yards, RB Lavonte “Rico” Cranford ended with 35 rushing yards, and all on top of Lewis’ two interceptions.
“We’ve got 45 guys here who are busting their ass and I told the team that they will always be my favorites. This is the team that’s going to be remembered for when we went to the upper division. They did all the heavy lifting and they’re right here,” Laslett said.
The Corsairs play College of the Canyons in their house next Saturday, November 5th at 6:00pm.