SANTA CLARITA — The players on the College of the Canyons sideline waved their arms up and down at the crowd. They danced and sang along to the music pumping through Cougar Stadium.
The Bakersfield College sideline was virtually motionless — stunned.
It was almost the opposite of how the two teams looked heading into halftime. But it was the fourth quarter now. And Canyons had scored three straight touchdowns.
State-ranked No. 11 Bakersfield College (6-4, 3-2 National Northern) led No. 1 Canyons (10-0, 5-0 National Northern), 24-14, at halftime. It was the first time Canyons trailed at half all season. Then the Cougars scored four unanswered touchdowns in the second half to squelch BC’s hopes at an upset. Canyons won, 42-30, on Saturday.
The Renegades missed out on a share of the conference title. Instead, Canyons completed the undefeated regular season, earned the conference crown and likely cemented itself as the top seed in the playoffs.
BC will wait to find out its bowl game fate.
“We had a hard time stopping them and we had a hard time getting first downs and scoring points,” BC head coach Jeff Chudy said. “... The third quarter got away from us obviously. Not a good way to come out and capitalize on some good things that happened in the first half.”
Going to the locker room for halftime, it was BC’s players who celebrated with the crowd behind their bench. Receiver Cameron Roberson chest bumped some teammates.
The Cougars trudged off the field.
“Look at the scoreboard. You’ve got some work to do,” a Canyons fan yelled to the team.
BC was up 24-10 after taking advantage of two Canyons fumbles.
With a minute left in the second quarter, Renegades quarterback Jacob Irby handed off to Isaiah Martin, who then pitched it back to Chance Cooper, a wide receiver. Cooper pitched the ball back to Irby. The quarterback then launched a pass to Elisha Ortiz, who had come out of the backfield, in the end zone for the 24-yard score.
Ortiz finished the first half with 94 rushing yards and two touchdowns to go along with two catches for 41 yards and a score.
“We had all the momentum,” Chudy said.
Then the Cougars took four plays to score coming out of the break. The Renegades punted away their first four drives.
When Cougars running back Cayden Dunn broke through for a 46-yard touchdown run, he put Canyons ahead 28-24 with 7:44 left in the third quarter. Dunn had 158 rushing yards and two scores.
A 31-yard pass from Wyatt Eget to Leroy Deshazor gave Canyons a 35-24 lead with three minutes left in the third. KJ Latu’s 1-yard scoring run with more than eight minutes left in the game sealed the Cougars win.
“We know that we really step up in the second half,” Canyons running back Kenny Torrance said. “It wasn't anything new to us. We just came out and do what we do.”
Torrance, a Stockdale graduate, ran for 21 yards and a second quarter touchdown for the Cougars.
BC’s only score of the second half came in garbage time. Fourth string quarterback Jeffrey Middleton completed four passes, the last of which was a 19-yard score to Adarian Rowell.
Irby, the Renegades starting quarterback, finished 5-for-22 for 78 yards and a touchdown.
“They made some halftime adjustments,” Chudy said of Canyons, “just played better.”
No. 1 Canyons 42, No. 11 Bakersfield College 30
At Cougar Stadium
BC - 10 14 0 6 - 30
COC - 7 7 21 7 - 42
C - Henderson 1 run (Brown kick)
B - De Jager 29 field goal
B - Ortiz 12 run (De Jager kick
C - Torrance 10 run (Brown kick)
B - Ortiz 24 run (De Jager kick)
B - Ortiz 27 pass from Irby (De Jager kick)
C - Dunn 15 run (Brown kick)
C - Dunn 46 run (Brown kick)
C - Deshazor 31 pass from Eget (Brown kick)
C - Latu 1 run (Brown kick)
B - Rowel 19 pass from Middleton (Pass fail)
RUSHING - BC: Ortiz 20-134, Irby 14-64, Middleton 1-4, Martin 3-1. COC: Dunn 19-158, B. Pierce 2-23, Torrance 5-21, McFadden 1-11, Latu 1-1, Henderson 3-(-1), Eget 7-(-17).
PASSING - BC: Irby 5-22-0-78, Middleton 4-4-0-48. COC: Eget 21-29-0-289.
RECEIVING - BC: Ortiz 2-41, Cooper 2-32, Rowel 2-26, Maxwell 2-22, Roberson 1-5. COC: Deshazor 6-154, J. Pierce 6-55, B. Pierce 4-47, Wiggins 2-25, Dunn 1-3, Smith 1-3, Henderson 1-2.
W-L: College of the Canyons (10-0, 5-0 National Northern), Bakersfield College (6-4, 3-2 National Northern).