A lot broke right for the Bakersfield Christian football team on Friday.
Now the Eagles will wait with bated breath as the eligibility of one of their key players is in question heading forward in the Division 3 Central Section Playoffs.
The second-seeded Eagles overwhelmed an undermanned Lemoore team playing without its starting quarterback 49-7 in quarterfinal play Friday.
But an ugly incident in the second quarter could possibly leave the Eagles without the services of Stanford-bound tight end Ben Yurosek next week.
Dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, the Eagles jumped out to a 21-0 lead behind three first-quarter touchdowns by David Stevenson, who scored on runs of 1 and 14 yards and on a 30-yard interception return. Stevenson finished with 101 yards on the ground.
But the game proceeded to take a bad turn, when in the span of two plays, eight personal fouls were called and a fight that broke out that led to multiple disqualifications, including Yurosek's.
According to the CIF rulebook, a player's first ejection makes him ineligible for the next game. However, coach Darren Carr plans to appeal the possible suspension, believing he has video evidence that will prove the officials ejected the wrong player.
"I think they got the numbers crossed," Carr said. "On our video, he’s not even in the video. We’ll appeal it, try to calm him down. We’re going to pray and hope for the best and hope he’s back with us last week.”
BCHS regrouped at halftime, outscoring the Tigers 28-0 in the third and fourth quarters.
Dominic Gamboni and Chris Gutierrez connected on touchdown passes from 39 and 36 yards out, while Jess Wattenbarger and Randy Raymond scored on touchdown runs of 26 and 30 yards.
"During halftime... our coaches said that we’ve got to come together as a team and just finish the game," said Gutierrez, who had 112 receiving yards and made one of three Eagle interceptions on defense. "A little adversity hit, so we know how to keep our head straight and finish the game.”
The Eagles' evening got even better, as top section seed Kingsburg suffered a 19-14 upset loss to Central Valley Christian.
But even with a seemingly clearer path to a section title, Carr says his team, which was called for seven personal fouls in the first half, desperately needs to clean up its mistakes if it hopes to capitalize on the golden opportunity it faces.
“It’s 16-year-old kids with high testosterone in a playoff game. Sometimes it just escalates like that," he said. "There’s no room for it in football. We’re definitely going to talk to our guys...and we’re definitely going to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”