As far as Bakersfield High football coach Paul Golla is concerned, any win this time of year is a good one.
After the Drillers beat Stockdale 35-9 at Griffith Field on Friday night, a win that kept BHS in the hunt for at least a share of the Southwest Yosemite League title with one week to go, Golla was squeamish before he uttered the words.
“I was told to never apologize for a win,” Golla said. “Right now, let’s enjoy this moment and hopefully we can continue to get better.”
BHS (5-4, 3-1) was called for 15 penalties for 120 yards and capitalized on 21-0 run in the fourth quarter that included a touchdown on a blocked punt and an interception returned for a touchdown.
“It’s huge. Right now, we are leaning on our defense,” Golla said. “I thought they played lights out. One blown coverage the whole night. Besides that, I thought our kids did a great job against a really good quarterback.”
Stockdale quarterback Jalen Smith, usually cool and calm in the pocket, threw a rare interception that was picked off by Gavyn Dingle, who returned the ball 36 yards for the score with a little more than two minutes left to play.
Smith finished with 155 yards passing, with 66 of those yards coming on a second-quarter touchdown pass to a wide-open Andru Marion.
BHS held Stockdale (2-7, 0-4) to just seven net rushing yards and Jacob Zeimet led BHS with two sacks.
Zeimet also blocked a punt in the fourth quarter and Adrian Moreno jumped on the ball in the end zone for the touchdown.
“Jake was right there doing his job like he always does,” Moreno said. “And I was able to jump on it.”
Offensively for BHS, it was once again the Tahj Wright show.
The junior standout caught three passes for 123 yards, including scoring strikes of 44 and 74 yards. He also ran in a score from 8 yards out for the opening touchdown of the night.
On the final offensive touchdown for BHS — with the Drillers clinging to a 21-9 lead early in the fourth quarter — the team called a timeout before Wright said he looked at fellow junior quarterback Cameron Williams.
“Give me the ball and I’ll get us this win,” Wright said he told Williams.
Caden Ochoa led BHS to two scoring drives in the first half, including the 44-yard touchdown pass to Wright, but BHS was held scoreless in the third quarter before going to Williams under center.
“We gave Cam the opportunity because he does have the passing skills that those guys were taking advantage of,” Golla said. “Cam did a great job of exposing them.”
Wright has been playing most of the season for his best friend, Shane Jones, who hasn’t taken the field this season after a knee injury in February during a playoff basketball game for BHS.
Jones was the Drillers’ leading rusher in 2016 — a role Wright has taken over while also being a downfield threat in the pass game.
“All of this has been for him,” Wright said. “I do this for Shane.”
The 35-point performance was the first time BHS has scored more than 30 points in a game all season. Something that hasn’t happened for the Drillers since 1998.
BHS will play at Liberty next week in the regular season finale. Liberty is 4-0 in league play while BHS is tied with Garces in second place after the Rams beat Frontier, 17-7.
“It’s all about Driller legacy now,” Moreno said. “We just have to continue to get better and step up.”
Trevor Horn can be reached at 661 395-7374. Follow him on Twitter: @trevhorn.