MISSION VIEJO — Bakersfield College’s defense had not stopped Saddleback College so BC head coach Jeff Chudy resorted to all he had left: his three timeouts.
He burned one after the Gauchos initially lined up for a 32-yard field goal with 13 seconds left in a tie game. Everyone got reset and Saddleback knocked the kick through, but Chudy used his second timeout right before the snap.
Chudy called the third once the teams lined up again.
All the timeouts ultimately did was delay Saddleback kicker Matthew Freem drilling the ball through the uprights. Freem’s kick put the Gauchos up 34-31 with nine seconds left. The No. 9 Renegades (6-5) got just one last offensive snap before the Patriotic Bowl and season-ending loss to No. 6 Saddleback (7-4) was finalized at Mission Viejo High School on Saturday night.
BC had driven 99 yards on the arm of quarterback Josh Medina — who played in his first game since Oct. 13 because of a nagging hamstring injury — to tie the game on an Isaiah Martin touchdown run with 3:19 to go, but came up short.
“When you're in a one possession game, a tie game for basically, pretty much the whole game, sometimes you get the break, sometimes you don’t,” Chudy said. “I think our guys played hard, played well enough to get it done.”
Renegades kicker Nathan De Jager had missed a field goal earlier in the game, but when he tried another from 37 yards out one minute into the fourth quarter, there wasn’t much of a doubt. The field goal knotted the game at 24-24.
But the tie didn't hold for long. Saddleback scored on its ensuing possession. Gauchos running back Jonathan Jefferson ran in a 12-yard score with 11:20 left. Jefferson finished with two touchdown runs and 86 yards.
“Emotions were high, obviously,” Medina said. “You never knew which way the game was going.”
The teams punted back and forth before Gauchos punter Harrison Avila pinned the Renegades at the 1.
Medina threw an incomplete pass over the middle of the field but the Renegades picked up a roughing the passer and defensive pass interference calls. He heaved a rainbow of a pass to receiver Cameron Roberson at the Saddleback 39. Roberson made the contested catch and fell on the injured shoulder he’s been dealing with for a few weeks.
On fourth down from the 36, Medina found LeBrevon Austin for the first. He threw it to Austin again at the 2 and Martin, who started for an injured Elisha Ortiz, pounded in the touchdown. Martin ran 30 times for 95 yards.
The Renegades tied the game at 31 with 3:19 to go.
After sitting out four full games and initially getting hurt on Sept. 29, Medina returned for the best game for a BC quarterback this season. He completed 19 of his 38 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for a touchdown, too.
“He’s hung in there and you got to give a guy like that a ton of credit for just not losing interest and not giving up on his teammates and himself,” Chudy said. “What an awesome ending for him. What a great game for a guy that hasn’t played in five weeks.”
The ending was not perfect, though. Saddleback started at its 25 and quarterback Robbie Patterson went to work. He picked his way down the field with screen passes, swing passes and dump offs.
With one minute left the Gauchos got to the BC 40. Patterson hit two quick passes to get down to the 15 and into the final field goal position.
“Unfortunately, we didn't make enough plays to come out with the win, but it is what it is,” Medina said.
No. 6 Saddleback College 34, No. 9 Bakersfield College 31
At Mission Viejo High School
BC - 7 7 7 10 - 31
SC - 7 3 14 10 - 34
S - J. Johnson 1 run (Freem kick)
B - Cooper 45 pass from Medina (De Jager kick)
S - Freem 25 field goal
B - Barbosa 2 pass from Medina (De Jager kick)
S - Jefferson 2 run (Freem kick)
B - Medina 1 run (De Jager kick)
S - Derrico 71 pass from Patterson (Freem kick)
B - Martin 2 run (De Jager kick)
S - Freem 32 field goal
RUSHING - BC: Martin 30-95, Furlow 3-11, Jones 3-3, Irby 1-(-3), Medina 4-(-8). SC: Johnson 15-100, Jefferson 15-86, Patterson 6-11.
PASSING - BC: Medina 19-31-0-258, Middleton 1-3-0-1, Irby 0-1-0-0. SC: Patterson 24-37-1-285, TEAM 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING - BC: Roberson 4-97, Cooper 3-69, Austin 3-32, Rowel 3-26, Jones 3-14, Holland 1-10, Frazier 1-7, Barbosa 1-2, Furlow 1-2. SC: Smith 7-48, Derrico 6-161, Reaves 4-41, Berry 4-24, Jefferson 2-7, Hardin 1-4.
W-L: Saddleback (7-4), Bakersfield College (6-5).