UPDATED, 10:02 p.m.: Holding call on kickoff return backs Mission Hills up to its 16 with just 43 seconds left. Two timeouts. Wynn throwing — and picked off by Vickers! At the 32. That's gonna do it. BHS takes a knee, Mission Hills won't use a timeout, and Bakersfield wins, 35-28. Drillers will play Loomis-Del Oro in the Division I state bowl championship at 8 p.m. next Friday. What a fantastic game.
UPDATED, 9:59 p.m.: Runs from Malone and Reddick pick up 11 and a first down for Bakersfield to the 43, but now Rufus is taken down in the backfield. Loss of 3. Timeout. Now Rufus looking deep. Vickers is open. Got him in stride! He's dragged down at the Mission Hills 13 after a gain of 47. Wow. Play of the year for Bakersfield. Now Bruce to the 6 and Rufus to the 1. Mission Hills, trying to save some time, calls its first timeout at 54 seconds.
Rufus keeps. He scores. Bakersfield has its first lead since the first quarter. After a false start, Olivas hits the PAT. 51 seconds and two timeouts for Mission Hills.
UPDATED, 9:51 p.m.; Here we go after an Olivas touchback. Wynn incomplete, now hits Troy Warner for 10 yards and a first down. Now looking deep. DB and WR both fell down, incomplete. Second down. Screen pass, but Wynn under pressure short-arms it, and it's third-and-10 from the 30. 2:28 on the clock. Mission Hills has all three timeouts. Wynn over the middle, and it falls incomplete. Drillers come up with a big stop. Senteno's punt taken by Vickers at the 32. Bakersfield has it there with 2:17 left. Two timeouts for BHS.
UPDATED, 9:48 p.m.: Third and 1 Bakersfield, and Asauni Rufus has the first down on a keeper and is now fighting off defenders down to the Mission Hills 30. Wow. 27 yards there. Rufus keeps again and gets 5 to the 25. Inside of four minutes now. Rufus again for 8 and a first down. Now Rufus completes to Vickers, who stutters forward to the 13. Second and 6. Now Reddick, bounces outside. To the pylon. Touchdown. It's 28-28 with 2:48 left. What a game.
UPDATED, 9:41 p.m.: Little taste of Bakersfield's own medecine there with an option, and Connor Wynn has a huge gap. He's going to go to the house untouched. He only had 140 rushing yards or so on the season coming in, and he's already at 98 on just six carries tonight. He's been the difference in this second half. 28-21 Mission Hills with 6:13 to play.
UPDATED, 9:37 p.m.: Third and 1 for Mission Hills from its 32 on the first series after BHS ties it up again. Wynn keeps and has the first down up to the 36. Now Wynn complete to Harbin for 10 yards and another first down. Bautista up the middle and across midfield. Under nine minutes to go. Coming to crunch time now. It's second-and-5. Pitch to Bautista, and there are three Drillers there. Gain of only a yard. Third and 4. Big play here. False start against Mission Hills, so third and 9 now. Wynn hit as he's thrown. It's incomplete, but there's a flag down. Pass interference on Bakersfield. Tough one. It was very close to whether Vickers hit the receiver early or not. Right in front of the Drillers sideline, and they weren't happy.
Now Ricky Liuchan bowls over Vickers on a 7-yard run. Bakersfield calls timeout; Drillers had too many on the field. 6:21 left, Grizzlies driving at the BHS 31.
UPDATED, 9:29 p.m.: Big kickoff return for Vickers gets Bakersfield out to the 48. A play later it's Rufus to Lameshio Hill on a wheel route, and he's wiiide open. Hill up the sideline, evades a tackle and then speeds away. A 51-yard touchdown. What a stiffarm from Hill, and we're a PAT away from being tied. Olivas hits it, and we are tied. 21-21, 10:53 left.
UPDATED, 9:25 p.m.; First play of the fourth quarter is a Connor Wynn keeper right up the middle. He breaks a tackle and he's gone. Rufus isn't the only QB in this game with some speed. Wynn gets to the goal line before he's caught, and it's a touchdown of 44 yards. PAT good, and Mission Hills re-takes the lead, 21-14, with 11:50 left in the fourth quarter.
UPDATED, 9:21 p.m.: Another good Mission Hills kickoff return sets the Grizzlies up on their 33 with 59 seconds left in the third quarter. They hit a Wynn rollout to Holmes for 19 yards. Hayes was giving a huge cushion there, and it costs the Drillers. Now 2 yards on the ground for Bautista to the Drillers 44, and that's the end of the third quarter. We're tied, 14-14.
UPDATED, 9:17 p.m.: Swing pass on second-and-7 to Vickers, who reverses field and finds some room and a first down up to the Bakersfield 34. Now Bruce with a gain of 7 and then 4 on dive plays. Rufus completes a quick out to Vickers for 9 more and into Mission Hills territory. Now Reddick for 4 and a first down at the 42. Rufus keeps and gets maybe 4 more. Now it's third and 3. Rufus keeps and gets about 5. First down at the 30. Pitch to Malone for 6. Inside of two minutes in the third quarter all of a sudden. Rufus to Vickers, who gets the corner and dances along the sideline all the way down to the 5. Can BHS finish this drive? Malone gets the pitch and is down to the 1. Now Reddick up the middle. Tocuhdown. Olivas PAT good, and we're tied, 14-14. 1:10 left in a very fast third quarter.
BCHS has extended its lead on View Park to 26-0 in the third.
UPDATED, 9:07 p.m.: Good kickoff return from Will Stricklin has Mission Hills set up at its 34 to start the second half. Connor Wynn on a keeper, picks up 6 ... 7... 9.. 10 yards. Pile just kept moving behind Mission Hills big offensive line. Next series, though, and Mission Hills gets hit with a holding call, and it's second-and-19. Big opportunity for the DRillers defense here. Wynn hits Martrel Holmes on a slant for 7 yards, so now third-and-12. Wynn to pass, it's low but caught by Scott Higgins with a dive right at the first-down marker. It's a catch and a first down. Big-time conversion there. But now another holding call against Mission Hills has them backed up to their 40. Wynn hits Holmes on a wheel route, though, and it's another big play down to the BHS 32. Bautista for 3 yards. Now a draw play goes past all the Drillers blitzers and gets two more. Third and 5. Wynn swings to Troy Wanrer, who has the first down and more. It's first down at the BHS 12. What a drive here for Mission Hills with two holding calls overcome and Wynn 3/3 on third down. Now he throws incomplete on a fade to the end zone. Bautista picks up a yard. Third down again. Wynn looking for Holiday, over threw him on another fade. Fourth down. Senteno on for a 28-yard field goal. He's got a good leg. A lefty. He pushed it left. Close, but no good. Drillers survive the drive, and still trail 14-7.
UPDATED, 8:47 p.m.: First-half stats: Bakersfield 231 yards, 16:14 of possession, and Mission Hills 154 yards, 7:46 of possession. But the power of the turnovers means that it's Mission Hills with a 14-7 lead at the break.
Here are individual numbers:
BHS: Asauni Rufus 4/4 passing, 83 yards, 9-18 rushing; Marcus Bruce 3-41 rushing; Jeremiah Reddick 6-37 rushing; Derrick Vickers 4-35 rushing, TD; 2-11 receiving; Coleman Olivas 1-64 receiving.
MHHS: Connor Wynn 4/9 passing, 116 yards, 2 TDs; Anthony Bautista 6-22 rushing; Dechaun Holiday 2-80 receiving, TD; Kyle Bauer 1-23 receiving; Zach Harbin 1-13 receiving, TD.
In the other Division I game, Del Oro leads San Mateo-Serra 21-14 at halftime. In Division IV, Bakersfield Christian is all over View Park, 20-0.
UPDATED, 8:35 p.m.: Mission Hills picks up a first down on the ground and is happy to let the clock roll to halftime. The Grizzlies have survived to halftime with a 14-7 lead, thanks in large part to two Bakersfield fumbles inside the MH 5. If you make the Drillers work, the chance of a mistake increases. And that's what's happened twice here. Mission Hills gets the ball first in the second half, too.
UPDATED, 8:33 p.m: Vickers gets 15 yards on a sweep for some breathing room, and then a big play for BHS. Rufus, play-action, goes deep and has Coleman Olivas wide open. Olivas is all the way down to the MH 15 for a gain of 64. Now Rufus for 5, and now a Bakersfield timeout.
Second and 5. Rufus gets about 3. Third and 2. Rufus caught in backfield but manages to pitch to Hill, but now he's bottled up on the sideline. It's fourth down. Dive to Reddick, and he got it to the 4. First and goal. Rufus for a yard. Mission Hills linebackers are really playing well and making BHS work. Now a pitch to Malone, who can't quite get in. Third and goal from the one foot line. Tough to stop BHS from here. But Mission Hills did — a pitch to Malone, and he can't handle it. Holiday recovers for the Grizzlies at the 1. Wow. Bakersfield has given away two fumbles inside the 5 and trails 14-7.
UPDATED, 8:25 p.m.: Screen pass from Wynn to Kyle Bauer works for 23 yards, and Mission Hills is in BHS territory again. Two plays later, though, it's third and 9, and Mission Hills drops another pass. Not sure he would have had the first down anyway, but the Grizzlies could have gone for it from this field position. Instead, Santeno is out to punt. It's a beautiful, high kick, and it'll back BHS up to its own 9-yard line. Nope, flag down. Illegal motion against Mission Hills, and BHS will make em kick it again. Another beautiful kick, and Vickers fair catches it at the 7. Wow. Santeno is a weapon.
UPDATED, 8:19 p.m.: Mission Hills gets out of its own shadow with a couple of runs and a BHS offside penalty, but the Grizzlies just dropped a screen pass that would have been a big gain. Third and 7 instead, and Wynn's pass sails on him. His first bad throw of the night, and the Grizzlies will have to punt.
In the Northern Cal Division I game, San Mateo-Serra and Del Oro are tied, 14-14.
BHS will begin from its 39 after a five-yard penalty on Kevin Hayes for advancing the ball after calling for a fair catch. Short run from Reddick, Rufus bowled over for a loss. Thrid and long. Rufus sacked again, by Zach Harbin on a blind-side blitz. Bakersfield will punt it back.
UPDATED, 8:13 p.m.: After a two-yard shovel pass to start Bakersfield's drive, the first quarter comes to an end. In the other local game tonight, Bakersfield Christian leads View Park 13-0 after a quarter.
First play of the second quarter is a quick hitter to Marcus Bruce, who has the Drillers' biggest play of the night. He's loose in the secondary and down to the Mission Hills 42. Two plays later, Reddick gets to the second level, and he's loose. Finally dragged down inside the 20 and dives to the 14. Now Bruce inside the 10 — and he fumbled! Mission Hills says they have it, and so do the referees. Still a scrum for the ball, and it looks like Bakersfield actually came out with the ball, but the call had already been made. Mission Hills ball, and the Drillers cannot afford turnovers like that in this one.
UPDATED, 8:04 p.m.: So after a methodical Bakersfield drive, Mission Hills answers quickly, and it's even with 5:10 to play in the first. Now Bakersfield to get it again. First a flag on the kickoff. Now Senteno kicking off from his 35. Vickers gets it at the 3, and Mission Hills with good kick coverage again. Vickers gets out to the 21 but no further. Now second-and-9, and Rufus is sacked by Fred Warner, one of the Grizzlies' Division I linebackers. Third and long now. Mission Hills looks very good defensively, as we expected. Rufus scrambles on third and long, but the hole isn't big enough, and he's four yards short. Bakersfield will punt. Hayes' wobbly kick is downed at the Mission Hills 38. Quik run from Scott Higgins to 43, and now Anthony Bautista gets another yard. Third and 4. It's Bautista again, and he drags his tackler an extra yard to get the first down. Would have been close otherwise. Instead, first down at the 49. Two plays later, Wynn rolls out and hits Holiday, who had Kevin Hayes thinking he was going deep again, and Hayes didn't follow him back. 21 yards. And Bakersfield roughed the passer, too, so move it up to the 13. Now Wynn up the middle to his tight end, Zach Harbin. Touchdown. PAT good, and it's 14-7 Mission HIlls with 49 ticks left in the first.
UPDATED, 7:53 p.m.: Short kick from Olivas, and Mission Hills is set up at its 39 with great field position. But a 2-yard run and a dropped pass bring up third-and-8 quickly. Connor Wynn, the QB, is looking deep, and he's got his star junior, Dechaun Holiday. Great pass, in stride, and Holiday won't be caught. 59 yards for a touchdown. PAT good, and just like that, it's 7-7 with 5:10 left in the quarter.
UPDATED, 7:47 p.m.: We just had the coin toss, and Mission Hills won it and deferred. Bakersfield will receive to open the game. Mission Hills is doing a little haka dance before they take the field, and now we're ready to go.
Esteban Santeno will kick off for the Grizzlies. He sends it deep and it's taken at the goal line by Derrick Vickers, who's only able to take it out to about the 19.
Jeremiah Reddick picks up 2 on a first-down dive play. Now it's Vickers on a sweep for about 3 more. So a third down right away. Now the Drillers jump, and it's third-and-10. A swing pass to Vickers, who fights for extra yards and is close to the first down. He's a yard short and it's fourth-and-1. Same play, this time to Lameshio Hill, and he has the first down up the sideline to the 36. Two Rufus runs, one designed and one scramble, pick up six yards each, and it's first down at the BHS 48. Dive play again now, and Marcus Bruce gets 7. Two plays later, it's third-and-1 from the MH 31. Drillers have used up five minutes already. Rufus keeps and has the first down a few more, to the 25. But a flag is down in the defensive backfield. It's a face mask against Mission Hills. First down at the 20. Now an end-around pitch to Johnathan Malone, and he gets eight more. Mission Hills is making Bakersfield work, but the Drillers are proving they can move it methodically, too.Pitch to Vickers, who gets to the corner and dives from the 3 to the pylon. Touchdown. 12-yard run. Coleman Olivas' PAT is good, and it's 7-0 BHS nearly six minutes into the game.
UPDATED, 7:32 p.m.: Mission Hills players have made their entrance through the home side of the stands to this field, which is a bit of a bowl — it's on street level, but the concourse is elevated. It's a cool effect, kind of like Clemson's Tiger Walk if you're a college football fan.
Now the visitors side is chanting DRILL-ERS, DRILL-ERS, as they await the entrance of the BHS players. They're answered briefly by some GRIZZ-LIES, GRIZZ-LIES chants from the home side, and now silence as the public address announcer welcomes the Drillers. But they're still not out. Kind of a weird timing issue, but BHS will let drama build as they congregate around their traditional BHS flag and American flag entrance.
Now we'll pause for the national anthem, with the Drillers still waiting in the northeast corner of the field. They're wearing white jerseys and pants with navy helmets. Mission Hills in its maroon jerseys and pants with white numbers and gold helmets. Both teams with a pretty classic look.
Now the Drillers come out to much fanfare from the visitors' side. We're about five minutes away, just waiting on the TV broadcast to ready itself.
ORIGINAL POST: The time has come for the first Kern County foray into the CIF bowl system, which began in 2006 but up until this point had never included a local team. But Bakersfield, in Division I, and Bakersfield Christian, in Division IV, are an hour away from changing all of that.
The BVarsity crew is in San Marcos at Mission Hills High School, where Bakersfield is about to take on the host Grizzlies in the D-I Southern California championship. The winner gets the winner of the Northern Cal game between Loomis-Del Oro and San Mateo-Serra.
Back in Bakersfield, BCHS is hosting LA-View Park Prep at Centennial High School in the D-IV Southern Cal final. The winner there gets either Oakland-McClymonds or Modesto-Central Catholic. Jeff Evans of the Californian is reporting from there, and I'll have updates from there here on the blog.
Kickoff is at 7:30, an hour away here at Mission Hills, which has a beautiful structure with an artificial grasslike playing surface. Should be a really good one between two of the state's top 15 teams, as ranked by Cal Hi Sports: No. 9 Mission Hills vs. No. 12 Bakersfield
I'll have updates here all night and will update the scores below, too.
CIF SOUTHERN CAL REGIONALS
Bakersfield 35, San Marcos-Mission Hills 28, F
Bakersfield Christian 40, L.A.-View Park Prep 8, F
Bellflower-St. John Bosco 70, Corona-Centennial 49, F (Saturday)
West Hills-Chaminade 28, Newhall-Hart 10, F (Saturday)
Newport Beach-Corona del Mar 24, Ojai-Nordhoff 8, F (Saturday)
CIF NORTHERN CAL REGIONALS
Loomis-Del Oro 28, San Mateo-Serra 20, F
Modesto-Central Catholic 17, Oakland-McClymonds 14, F
Concord-De La Salle 45, Folsom 17, F (Saturday)
Redding-Enterprise 27, Manteca 21, F (Saturday)
Atherton-Sacred Heart Prep 42, El Cerrito 7, F (Saturday)