Bakersfield held the lead for all of 12 seconds on Friday night in a 27-7 loss to Long Beach Poly at Griffith Field.
It's going to take the Drillers a lot longer than that to figure out exactly what went wrong in a meeting of the state's most winning programs.
"We drew it up, and it looked like we had some answers," BHS coach Paul Golla said. "I won't go to sleep until I watch it, because I'm not sure why it didn't work."
Trailing 6-0 at halftime, Bakersfield (2-2) marched 73 yards for a go-ahead touchdown. Asauni Rufus scored on a 13-yard run, and Coleman Olivas' extra point gave the Drillers a 7-6 lead.
But it was short-lived. On the next play from scrimmage, Long Beach Poly running back Jeremy Calhoun went 80 yards up the middle of the Bakersfield defense, re-establishing a Jackrabbits' lead that they wouldn't give back.
"Bakersfield had had the ball almost all night," Poly coach Raul Lara said. "For us to hit that on one play, heck yeah, that's a big play."
From there, Poly (3-1) dominated, fumbling away one drive at the Bakersfield 1-yard line but pulling away anyway. The Drillers didn't cross midfield again until the final minutes, when the Jackrabbits were up 27-7.
"Coach Golla's offensive scheme causes us problems, so us coming out of here with a victory is awesome," Lara said. "I have tremendous respect for the program, and it's the two oldest programs in the state going at it, so that's neat, too."
Poly won its 724th game all-time, second-most in state history behind Bakersfield's 738. The Drillers beat the Jackrabbits 29-6 last year in Long Beach, but in this one, the Drillers' normally explosive offense was stifled.
"We let them off easy," Rufus said. "They didn't do anything; we did it to ourselves. We missed assignments. We have to get better."
Rufus ran for 111 yards and the touchdown and threw for 61 more, but Bakersfield gained only 243 total yards and had just one play longer than 20 yards -- a 40-yard Rufus run in the third quarter.
"Their defense is really good," said Kevin Hayes, a Division I-caliber wide receiver who was limited to one catch. "We kept believing, but sometimes when we get down, we get discouraged."
Hayes had an interception and 43-yard return in the first half that helped the Drillers stay close, but Olivas missed two field goals and Poly led 6-0 at the half even though Bakersfield held the ball for nearly 10 minutes in the second quarter.
"I really felt excited at the half, because I thought we were right where we should be," Golla said. "We had moved the ball pretty well, and getting no points hurt, but we thought we were right there."
Instead, it was Poly that made all the big plays in the second half. Calhoun finished with 198 yards on just 11 carries, James Brooks had 79 yards and each Poly quarterback threw a touchdown pass.
"I bet if we break down film, it's just four or five misalignments," Golla said. "But if you misalign against Poly, you'll pay. There's no margin for error."