TULARE — Everything you needed to know about Bakersfield Christian’s night could be summed up in one play with 1:38 to play on Friday.
Eagles quarterback Dominic Gamboni connected with David Stevenson for a 44-yard touchdown as the BCHS faithful erupted in celebration.
Unfortunately, the Eagles were called for holding and then were hit with a 15-yard personal foul penalty. It turned what appeared to be a touchdown into a second-and-27 at their own 29.
The perfect ending to a frustrating night for Bakersfield Christian. Tulare Union sacked the Eagles five times and capitalized on a handful of ill-timed BCHS penalties to post an 18-0 victory at Bob Mathias Stadium.
Jorge Gonzalez connected with Willis James for two second-quarter touchdowns, and then Gonzalez capped the scoring with a two-yard scoring run with 2:45 left in the game. Gonzalez finished the night 10 for 16 passing for 119 yards. James had seven catches for 87 yards, all in the first half.
Trailing 12-0 at the half, BCHS (3-2) controlled the ball in the second half. The Eagles opened the third quarter with a 14-play drive, moving the ball to The Tribe's 30. But a false start and a sack by Bear Nunley backed Bakersfield Christian up, forcing a fourth-and-long. BCHS quarterback Dominic Gamboni followed with an incomplete pass and Tulare Union (4-1) took over on downs.
After forcing The Tribe to punt, BCHS again moved the ball deep into Tulare territory. The drive was aided by a huge 12-yard run by Ben Yurosek on a fake punt. On the following play, Stevenson broke free and looked to be headed for a sure touchdown, but he was tripped up after a 28-yard gain. The drive stalled five plays later and the Redskins took over on downs.
Gamboni finished 15 for 29 passing for 129 yards and an interception. Stevenson had 77 yards rushing on eight carries, and added 35 yards receiving on four catches. Ronnie Simril added four catches for 58 yards.
Tulare Union opened the game’s scoring with a 9-play, 76-yard drive on the Redskins’ opening possession of the second quarter, capped by a 16-yard scoring pass from Gonzalez to James. A botched snap led to a failed extra point leaving Tulare Union with a 6-0 lead with 8:35 left in the second quarter.
Gonzalez and James connected on another scoring play with just two seconds left in the first half on a third-and-goal play from the BCHS 18. The Redskins failed on an attempted two-point conversion leaving the score at 12-0 at the half.
The Eagles managed just two first downs in the first 24 minutes, and Gamboni was sacked three times for a loss of 32 yards.
BCHS’s best drive came late in the first quarter when the Eagles moved the ball to the Tulare Union 13-yard-line. But Gamboni threw an incomplete pass, David Stevenson slipped trying to cut for a 1-yard loss and Gamboni was sacked on a fourth-and-three on the final play of the first quarter to end the threat.