NORWALK — Tyrrel Eddington walked toward the sideline slowly with both his arms raised over his head. Cayden Cox came off the sideline with his arms in the air, too, and hugged the defensive lineman. The rest of the offense jogged onto the field, saying “great job” and other praises to the defense.
Bakersfield College’s defensive unit had just saved the day with a fourth down stop at its own 13 yard line to hold on for a 24-17 win over Cerritos College at Falcon Field on Saturday night.
“It was a barn burner,” BC head coach Jeff Chudy said. “If you’re a fan, it was a great game. We went down to the last play.”
Cerritos quarterback Isaiah Bravo rolled to his right looking for a receiver in the back of the end zone with 17 seconds left in the game, but BC cornerback Josh Caldwell swatted the ball down at the goalline to preserve the win.
On a night where the offense lost three fumbles and failed to convert on a fourth-and-goal situation with a tie game in the fourth quarter, it was the Renegades defense that salvaged a win. Defensive back Bobby Robinson ripped a ball away from a receiver at the 4-yard line and ran it a short distance into the endzone with 11:38 left for what was ultimately the game-winning score.
“They rose to the occasion when they had to,” Chudy said of the defense, “and that’s part of this whole thing is you hope your guys perform when they need to perform.”
State-ranked No. 6 Bakersfield College (6-1, 2-0 National Northern) left Cerritos with a win for the first time in at least the team’s last five trips to Norwalk. The home team had won the last four games in the series. State-ranked No. 18 Cerritos dropped to 3-4, 1-1 with the loss.
After a disastrous first half that ended 10-9, the Renegades trailed 17-9 with fewer than 10 minutes left in the third quarter. BC quarterback Brandon Jones — who stayed in the entire game — found Jakell Tomlin on a slant for a 9-yard touchdown pass. Jones then hit Chance Cooper in the back of the end zone on the conversion to tie the game.
BC looked like it could take the lead for the first time since the first quarter when it reached the goal line with 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, but the Renegades were stopped on runs from the 1 on second, third and fourth down.
Chudy passed up a short field goal despite the 17-17 score at the time.
“We’re sitting there on the one-and-a-half yard line and unfortunately it didn't work out,” Chudy said.
“We have to punch that ball in,” Jones added.
But three plays later, Robinson jumped in front of Bravo’s pass, tore it out of receiver Justin Garrett’s arms in a spinning move and ran in for the score. With 11:38 left, BC took a 24-17 lead that it held onto for the win.
“Our guys, we found a way to get it done,” Chudy said. “Was it pretty? No. … But the most important thing is getting a win.”