If you beat a Paul Golla-coached team in a regular season game, history suggests you'd be wise to avoid a postseason rematch.
Ninth-seeded Garces forced five turnovers en route to a 37-7 win over eighth-seeded Frontier in the opening round of the Central Section Division 2 Football Championships Friday night.
The Rams defense thoroughly dominated a Titans team that defeated them 40-35 in the regular season.
Dating back to his days at Bakersfield High, Golla has coached six postseason games against teams he lost to in the regular season. He is 5-1 in such games, with those wins coming by the combined score of 205-40.
"I'd like to beat them the first time too," Golla said. "But I think it's just watching film and fixing some mistakes and finding some little things that we can do better."
After Titans starting quarterback Israel Chaverria was knocked out of the game on a first-quarter sack, the Rams made life miserable for sophomore backup Travis Plugge, intercepting him five times and sacking him three more.
The Rams defense recorded three interceptions in the third quarter alone, scoring 21 points to blow open a game that was just 9-0 at the half.
"We were trying to keep their spirits down, trying to work as a team just keeping the ball (away from them)," said Philip Bradford, who recorded picks on consecutive possessions in the second and third quarters.
Bradford's second takeaway on the third play of the third quarter set up a 12-yard Jalen Smith touchdown run. Smith also had two sacks and added a 62-yard touchdown run at the end of the third quarter, finishing with 111 yards on the ground.
Bradford also had a 10-yard third-quarter touchdown reception from quarterback Joseph Campbell, who scored the game's first touchdown on a 6-yard second quarter run. A 13-yard Logan Bowers run in the fourth quarter completed the scoring.
It was an encouraging performance from the 5-6 Rams, who have a tall task ahead of them next week when they face 10-0 Hanford, the section's top seed.
After dismantling the Titans Friday, Golla believes his squad is peaking at the right time, and looks to be ready for the difficult contest that awaits them.
"In the pregame talk, we talked about how humans are the same as torpedoes," he said. "If anything goes off track they recalculate and get back on track. And tonight they played like torpedoes. It was fun to watch them play."
The Titans, who finish the season 5-6, got their lone touchdown on a 2-yard Kevin Hughes run in the third quarter that came by virtue of a muffed Garces punt.
Correction: A previous version of this story said that Paul Golla was 5-0 in postseason rematches against teams he lost to in the regular season. Golla's Bakersfield team lost both regular season and postseason games to Liberty.
Garces 37, Frontier 7
G 3 6 21 7 — 37
F 0 0 7 0— 7
G: Delis 28 field goal
G: Campbell 6 run (kick failed)
G: Smith 12 run (Delis kick)
G: Bradford 10 pass from Campbell (Delis kick)
F: Hughes 2 run (Foster kick)
G: Smith 62 run (Delis kick)
G: Bowers 13 run (Delis kick)
RUSHING — G: Ja. Smith 9-111, Wimberly 6-63, Bowers 6-32, Tapia 1-25, Monteiro 2-(negative)8, Ju. Smith 1-0, Campbell 3-7. F: Mounmanivong 10-36, Plugge 4-(negative)9, Hughes 1-2, Hernandez 4-18, Chaverria 2-(negative)13, Greer 1-1.
PASSING — G: Bell 2-14, D'Amato 4-26, Marshall 3-40, Bradford 5-38, Hatten 2-20, N. Lopez 1-18, A. Lopez 1-8. F: Plugge 12-26-124-5, Chaverria 0-2-0-0.
RECEIVING — G: Campbell 18-29-174-1. F: Hughes 2-18, Mounmanivong 1-3, Smith 2-16, Hudson 2-48, Greer 1-4, Perez 4-25.
RECORDS: G 5-6. F: 5-6.