Bakersfield College football coach Jeff Chudy isn’t usually one to make predictions about an upcoming matchup, aside from the usual confidence that his team will improve from the previous week. Prior to Saturday’s matchup with Santa Monica, he carried a different message and different tone.
“I think we’re ready to breakout and have a good offensive showing,” Chudy said. “This hopefully is a week we can take it out on Santa Monica.”
The statement probably has to do with the room BC’s offense has to grow and the weaknesses Santa Monica’s defense has shown. The Renegades’ (1-1) offense has struggled in the first two weeks of the season, averaging just 247 yards per game. But the Corsairs’ defense has struggled more, giving up a state-worst 567.5 yards per game and second-worst 58.5 points per game. BC is looking at Saturday’s contest at Memorial Stadium at 6 p.m. as a chance to put on a strong offensive showing for the first time this season.
“Hopefully we can go and run up the score,” BC running back Elisha Ortiz said. “(But) we’re not gonna really underestimate them because we still got to execute.”
Through two games, the Renegades are averaging 22 points and 247 yards — 44th and 56th in the state, respectively. In a 20-15 win over El Camino last week, BC scored all 20 of its points in the second quarter with the help of El Camino mistakes. The Renegades’ defense accounted for one of the scores with an interception return for a touchdown.
Ortiz, the star running back, has 39 carries on the season for 157 yards and a touchdown. Shane Jones, a freshman, had 16 rushes for 44 yards.
Receiver Cameron Roberson has made seven catches for 60 yards. Ortiz has seven catches for 40 yards and Jones has three catches for 50 yards.
“We’ve gotta be able to get the ball, with (Ortiz) and (Jones) in their hands a lot. We didn’t get the ball enough in Shane Jones’ hands last week,” Chudy said “... I’m not gonna discriminate whether these guys are catching it or running it. I want to see those guys with touches in the box score when it’s all said and done. How we get them the ball is of no bearing to me. It’s just get them the ball,” Chudy added, lumping Roberson into the group.
The run game has most consistent for BC and the passing game has been based mostly off short routes and screen passes. Chudy is not concerned with the lack of downfield passing success, he said, just with being more consistent and accumulating first downs. The players have to earn the coaches’ trust before the playbook gets opened up and BC tries to go more downfield, Ortiz said.
Josh Medina, the starting quarterback, is 25-for-47 on the year with three touchdowns, one interception and 203 yards.
“We just got to play better,” Chudy said, “play more efficient, play more productive. I expect our guys are gonna come out and play better than what we’ve played all year. We should.”
Santa Monica’s defense will come to Bakersfield with a 69-10 blowout by Desert as its most recent performance. The Corsairs surrendered 698 yards of offense in the game. Desert had six different players score rushing touchdowns. Its starting quarterback, Noah Shoeman, completed 12 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns.
Corsairs sophomore quarterback Paul Davis missed the Desert game because of an eligibility issue and will return to face Bakersfield, Chudy said, which will take pressure off the Santa Monica defense. Santa Monica athletic director Reggie Ellis did not return an email sent by The Californian seeking comment.
Last season, BC blew out Santa Monica, 48-0, in a game that was 31-0 with about 10 minutes left in the second quarter.
“This is a great opportunity for us to play better and get better,” Chudy said.