WEST HILLS — If you ask Bakersfield High coach Paul Golla, the proud Drillers’ second consecutive lopsided loss, 43-14 to West Hills-Chaminade here Friday night, isn’t reason to be embarrassed.
Instead, he sees it as a clear message: The Drillers have lots of room to improve.
“I hope everybody understands that,” Golla said. “When you play great teams, it’s gonna expose you. We weren’t ready for this tonight. It shows how much work we have to do.”
At least BHS (1-2) figures it will have junior quarterback Cameron Williams to lean on. Williams injured his left leg in the third quarter and had to be carried off the field, but Golla said after the game that trainers thought the injury was a knee sprain and not something more serious. Williams will go for X-rays today, but the Drillers are hopeful he won’t be out long-term.
Bakersfield, which lost 63-28 to Orem (Utah) in its previous game and plays state-ranked Valencia next, answered an early Chaminade touchdown with one of their own and appeared poised to go toe-to-toe with the Eagles, who are ranked fourth in the state and ninth nationally by MaxPreps and Calpreps.
But Chaminade (3-1) scored the game’s next 36 points, flashing an array of playmakers on offense and defense and generally flummoxing the Drillers into a bevy of miscues.
Chaminade’s Michael Wilson caught four passes for 89 yards and three touchdowns, making some highlight-reel moves after the catch on all of the scoring plays.
“They’re a really good team,” BHS linebacker Adrian Moreno said. “They’ve got a ton of athletes for sure. But we’ve got to get it together. We made a ton of mistakes.”
That included a dropped pass from a wide-open receiver on an otherwise perfectly executed flea-flicker pass from Tahj Wright. It included five interceptions thrown by three different quarterbacks. It included nine penalties for 84 yards, some at key moments. And it included a bunch of missed tackles, though not as many as the Drillers had in the ugly loss to Orem.
Williams passed for 70 yards and ran for 31 before leaving the game. Caden Ochoa, who had played a few series at quarterback earlier, replaced him. He rushed 12 times for 55 yards and a touchdown. Ceyontay Bell and Wright each had 53 rushing yards, and Bell scored the early touchdown.
“It was 100 percent better than last (game),” Golla said. “We had the opportunity to make plays and we just didn’t make them. And we’ve got to do a better job of that against a great team, or they’re going to hurt you.
“And maybe that’s on me as a coach. I’ve got to do a better job of preparing them.”
Causing Golla particular angst were the interceptions. Chaminade’s defensive backs made a number of athletic plays, including a one-handed pick by Dallas Taylor-Cortez (who also had another interception), but the throws were either into traffic or badly off-target.
In the end, BHS had just four completions and five interceptions.
“That was one thing we really wanted to improve on,” Golla said. “We’re playing a great football team, and we tried to make things happen. Sometimes we’ve got to let things happen.”
Chaminade didn’t dominate the game from a yardage perspective, out-gaining Bakersfield by the modest margin of 339-291. But the Eagles made big plays when they counted, dominated the kicking game and won the turnover battle.
“It’s just details,” Moreno said. “We’ve got to stay positive and keep fighting and use this as a chance to fall forward.”