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Paul Golla, Bakersfield football coach

Bakersfield High coach Paul Golla said there was just one downside to coaching the Drillers to a record seventh state championship in December and all of the hoopla that followed.

"We've been going nonstop since, so normally you have time to exit interviews with kids before the first day of school, when we're back at it (for the 2014 season)," he said. "There was no real closure, which was kind of weird."

Not that Golla, the BVarsity Football Coach of the Year, is complaining, mind you.

"Oh, we've got a lot of things line up for us, but it's unbelievable," he said. "Everything we do with the kids is written down, and we call them phases. Well, all of these honors is not something in my phases. But it's great."

The Drillers' season ended Dec. 20 with a 56-26 victory over Loomis-Del Oro, with media and fans alike praising the team's speed and its bevy of athletic three-year starters, like Asauni Rufus, Kevin Hayes and Derrick Vickers. But Golla said the team was special for another reason.

"It's not talent; that's where a lot of people get confused," Golla said. "What was special about this team is that they really bought into this. We get that kind of kid here at Bakersfield."

This year, that was the case even after the Drillers started 2-2, with a one-point loss to Westlake Village-Oaks Christian and another loss to Long Beach Poly in which the Drillers lost a second-half lead.

"We lost to Long Beach Poly, and the kids were in there Monday singing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah like we always have them do," Golla said. "This was a special group of guys."