LONG BEACH — The Long Beach City College fans peppered Bakersfield College kicker Nathan De Jager with plenty of hopeful jeers as he positioned himself behind the 35-yard line.
“You’re gonna shank it,” one woman yelled.
“Please miss it,” a more polite observer requested.
And as it came off De Jager’s foot, he thought he did miss it. So did BC kicking coach Matt Alvarez.
The kicker’s left plant foot landed wide so he had to reach for the ball with his right, causing it to hook right. It hit off the right upright (making an audible “ping” noise) and ricocheted through to give BC a 22-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.
“That one scared me,” De Jager said. “... I saw it hit the post and I couldn’t see anything after that. Then I saw the refs put their hands up. I was just really excited about that.”
De Jager made all five of his field goal attempts, including a 50 yarder, to lead state-ranked No. 25 BC (4-3, 1-1 National Northern) to a 22-17 win over Long Beach (3-4, 0-2) at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday. De Jager tied a Bakersfield College record for most field goals made in a game — last done by Parker Campbell in 2014 — with kicks of 43, 34, 50, 38 and 45 yards.
“What a player, what a gamer,” BC head coach Jeff Chudy said. “... He’s a soothing soul even when you’re in a game like this that’s tight and I think our guys fed on that kind of calmness.”
Prior to kickoff, Alvarez had told De Jager that the game could come down to the kicker. De Jager believed him, thinking of a close game, but didn’t imagine making five field goals. De Jager came into the game perfect on seven field goal attempts with a long of 37 yards, but with no more than three attempts in a contest.
He pushed his second attempt through the posts as time expired in the first half to give BC a 13-10 lead.
The biggest kick of the night was his 50-yard make coming out of halftime. It had plenty of leg and put the Renegades up 16-10. Everyone De Jager talked to thought it would have been good from 55, he said.
“I’ve been waiting for that one for a long time,” De Jager said.
His 38-yard kick in the third quarter was originally a make from 28 yards. A holding penalty forced BC to redo the try. Long Beach’s sideline thought the rush had broken through the line to block the second attempt.
As the kicks kept on sailing through the uprights the BC sideline took notice. Teammates seemed to be better about giving him space to warm up in a net instead of bumping into him.
After the last make, defensive back Justin Harrington came off the bench to lift De Jager into the air.
The Renegades even passed up chances for two more De Jager field goals. The first came in the second quarter with the game tied 10-10. BC had fourth-and-3 from the 25 of Long Beach and Jacob Irby threw an interception in the end zone.
The second was on the Renegades’ last drive of the fourth quarter with BC up 22-17. Alex Bolden grabbed an interception before BC had a fourth-and-2 from the Long Beach 12. An Elisha Ortiz touchdown run was called back because of holding. BC ran it again on the next play instead of risking a blocked kick or kickoff return.
With 11 seconds left and 77 yards to the end zone, the Vikings tried a series of laterals that were unsuccessful.
“We told our guys going into this game it was going to be about two things,” Chudy said. “It was going to be about competing and execution. And what better way could you define execution than when you’re five-for-five.”
No. 25 Bakersfield College 22, Long Beach City College 17
BC - 10 3 6 3 - 22
LB - 7 3 0 7 - 17
BC - Holland 70 pass from Irby (De Jager kick)
BC - De Jager 43 field goal
LB - Murphy 5 run (Delgadillo kick)
LB - Delgadillo 27 field goal
BC - De Jager 34 field goal
BC - De Jager 50 field goal
BC - De Jager 38 field goal
BC - De Jager 45 field goa
LB - Bowen 1 run (Delgadillo kick)
RUSHING - Bakersfield: Ortiz 41-125, Irby 4-15, Martin 1-5, Team 1-0. Long Beach: Robinson 5-88, Bowen 7-72, Murphy 8-66, White 7-43.
PASSING - Bakersfield: Irby 9-19-1-169. Long Beach: Murphy 9-22-2-105, Peabody 0-3-0-0.
RECEIVING - Bakersfield: Roberson 3-12, Ortiz 1-8, Holland 1-70, Rowel 1-11, Jones 1-55. Long Beach: Culpepper 3-40, Lee 3-39, Bates 1-18, Bonds 1-12.
W-L: Bakersfield College (4-3, 1-1 National Northern), Long Beach City College (3-4, 0-2).