WALNUT -- Missed tackles throughout and the inability to capitalize on an early scoring chance.
Those failures are bad enough when a team plays a so-so opponent. But when you're playing arguably the most successful junior college football program in the state over the past five seasons, it's a recipe for defeat.
Mount San Antonio College, the five-time defending Southern California champion and winner of two state titles in the last three seasons, manhandled the Bakersfield College offensive and defensive lines Saturday night en route to a 34-14 non-conference win at Mount SAC.
The Renegades (1-1) stunned the Mounties' team and home crowd when cornerback Mercy Maston stepped in front of Jamal Overton to intercept a Nick Montana pass and returned it 79 yards for a touchdown before the game was two minutes old.
Alfonso Jackson picked off another Montana pass to end the Mounties' next drive and the Renegades drove to the Mount SAC 2-yard line for a first-and-goal situation.
But the Mounties (2-0) stopped BC on four straight running plays to take over on downs at the half-yard line. And the game quickly turned around. The Mounties drove 99 yards for a touchdown and controlled the game from that point.
“We had two picks in the first two series and we can’t knock it in from the half-yard line?” BC coach Jeff Chudy said with a tone of disgust in his voice.
“It’s disappointing. We had a ton of momentum and football is a game of momentum. I’m extremely disappointed we didn’t seize the moment and jump on them when we had a chance to jump on them.
“So we have a lot of coaching to do. We’ve got to get better.”
The Renegades did an excellent job of taking the passing game away from the Mounties. One week earlier, when Mt. SAC beat Saddleback 51-48 on a field goal with two seconds left, Montana threw for 330 yards.
But Montana, whose Hall of Fame father, Joe, was in the stands watching the game, threw for only 95 yards against the Renegades on 13-of-21 passing.
“The guy threw three picks, so they had to try something different,” Chudy said.
That turned out to be a dominant ground game — made even more dominant by an uncharacteristically poor tackling night by the BC defense.
Mount SAC ran for 340 yards and averaged 6.4 yards per attempt. Overton led the way with 95 yards on 16 carries with touchdown runs of 1 and 16 yards. The Mounties only ran for 99 net yards in their win a week earlier over Saddleback.
Bruising 265-pound running back John Scanlan added 76 yards on 11 carries and seemed to drag tacklers several yards before going down on each carry.
“I don’t think Scanlan was making people miss because he was Barry Sanders,” Chudy said. “He ran through people.”
BC was limited to 64 net rushing yards. Jalen Sykes had 57 yards on one carry, the only reason the Renegades finished with positive yardage.
Sykes’ long run in the third quarter set up the other BC touchdown, a 4-yard pass reception by tight end Mike Dunn, who used his 5-inch and 55-pound advantage over defensive back Darian Lindsey to pull down the pass from quarterback Brian Burrell.
Burrell, who threw for 370 yards and four touchdowns in BC’s season-opening 36-19 win over Santa Ana one week earlier, faced constant pressure. He was 16-of-31 for 177 yards but was sacked five times. He faced heavy pressure even when he wasn’t sacked and was forced to throw the ball away several times.
“The offense didn’t do what we needed to do to win,” Burrell said. “... We’ve got to get back to the chalk board and keep working hard.”
Chudy said the sacks against Burrell “were unacceptable.”
“We’ve got to get our offensive line shored up and protect the quarterback better,” Chudy said. “If we’re a one-dimensional football team, it’s not in our favor. Our strong point is to be balanced and keep people on their heels. We didn’t do that tonight.”
Dunn finished with six catches for 67 yards. Ridgeview High graduate Brock Martin, a freshman wide receiver who had an excellent game vs. Santa Ana, appeared to sprain his left ankle on a kickoff return in the second quarter. He returned briefly but was noticeably limping and did not play in the second half.
BC plays host to perennial SoCal power Fullerton on Saturday at 6 p.m.