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Early offensive struggles doom BC in 45-21 loss at Mt. SAC

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The Mounties of Mt. San Antonio College intercepted three passes and held the Bakersfield Renegades to 72 yards in the first half to build a 10-point lead, then poured it on in the second half to win 45-21 Saturday night in Walnut.

Mt. SAC (2-0) sacked first-time starting quarterback Dexter Frampton six times, and Aaron Smith, Malachi Harrison and Dedric Luton each picked Frampton off once, with Luton returning his interception for a touchdown late in the first half. Alex Flores (22-of-32, 210 yards, one touchdown and one interception) was efficient at quarterback for the Mounties and Keoua Kauni, one of six running backs Mt. SAC used on the night, had seven carries for 149 yards and two touchdowns.

For BC (3-1), Jaylen Blizzard had his second kickoff return for a touchdown on the season and caught a 58-yard touchdown from Frampton to narrow the deficit to 24-21 in the third quarter, after which the Renegades never scored again.

Mt. SAC, which beat LA Valley 72-0 on Sept. 4 and then had two games postponed, showed flashes of its high-powered offense early. However, Dylan Tooker intercepted Flores in the red zone on the Mounties' first drive, only for Frampton to give it right back on his first attempt three plays later.

The Mounties settled for a field goal and BC took its only lead of the game, 7-3, on Blizzard's 100-yard kick-return touchdown.

Later in the quarter, Mt. SAC reached BC territory again on a series of short passes from Flores before the freshman quarterback found Reginald Anderson, who slipped two tackles then juked another defensive back inside the 10-yard line for a 45-yard touchdown.

Despite its impressive stats, the Mounties' defense was sloppy at times. On the next BC drive, Mt. SAC had 12 men in the huddle on a punt to give BC a free first down, then hit Frampton late on an incomplete pass. But BC's Peter Delis came up short on a 49-yard field goal. The Renegades wouldn't get any closer to scoring for the remainder of the half, as their next two drives ended in picks, the latter returned just 11 yards for a touchdown by Luton to make it 17-7 at the half.

Frampton finally found his rhythm after the break with short completions to Isaac Jernagin and Jayden Smith, then Xavier Marshall on a bubble screen to set up Jernagin for a 1-yard touchdown run. Mt. SAC responded quickly with a 16-yard score from Kauni. Frampton was undeterred, though, finding the speedy Blizzard on a go route down the right sideline for a 58-yard touchdown to bring the deficit back to three points.

But it was too easy for the Mounties from then on. Their next drive, which took just three plays, featured runs of 26 yards from Kauni and 25 yards for a touchdown from Nicholas Floyd. The teams punted back and forth before the Mounties decided to go for it on fourth down from BC's 25 late in the fourth quarter, setting up an easy pitch and catch from Flores to Anderson for another touchdown to extend the lead to three scores.

To add insult to injury, after Frampton overthrew Marshall on fourth down at Mt. SAC's 12, Kauni ran 94 yards for his second touchdown when the Mounties were trying to kill the clock, handily beating cornerback Ashton Thomas in a footrace to the end zone.

Mt. SAC will travel to Allan Hancock for a 2 p.m. road game Saturday. BC returns home to host San Bernardino Valley at 6 p.m. Saturday night.

Reporter Henry Greenstein can be reached at 661-395-7374. Follow him on Twitter: @HenryGreenstein.

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