With most of the familiar faces from last year’s CIF State Division 3-A championship team graduated and moving on, Bakersfield Christian football coach Darren Carr figured to have plenty of question marks heading into this season.
On Thursday night, he found some answers.
Sophomore Kresean Kizzy scored three touchdowns and intercepted a pass and the Eagles survived a shaky special teams performance to hold off Visalia-Central Valley Christian 28-26 on Thursday night in a rematch of last season’s Central Section Division III title game.
“That’s one thing we preached at halftime is we’re known for finishing things,” said Carr, whose team took a 22-6 into the intermission. “Whether it’s a good or bad start, you have to finish what you start. So we preached that at halftime. That’s our motto the last six years, and so, I’m just happy to get the win.”
Despite a pair of second-quarter mishaps on punts, BCHS appeared to be complete control through the first half of the game.
Kizzy, who finished with eight catches for 119 yards, scored twice in the opening 24 minutes. The 5-foot-10, 160-pound receiver opened the scoring on a 31-yard pass play from sophomore quarterback Jordon Delgado with seven seconds left in the first quarter and then capped the Eagles scoring with a 14-yard touchdown from senior Jayden Huggins just before the half. He also caught a two-point conversion.
On his second score, he caught the ball on the 3-yard line, broke a tackle, and trotted into the end zone. The scoring play was set up by a Kizzy interception to stall a CVC drive into Bakersfield Christian territory. He returned the pick 56 yards to the Cavaliers’ 31.
Kizzy displayed similar elusiveness in the second half. After the Cavaliers closed the deficit by scoring on a blocked punt, and then again after recovering an onside kick to pull within 22-20, Kizzy helped his team regain the game’s momentum — at least momentarily when he took a short Huggins pass, broke another tackle, and maneuvered down the sideline for a 34-yard touchdown with 3:56 left in the third quarter.
“It feels amazing,” Kizzy said. “We’ve been off the field for a while, so it feels great.”
The Cavaliers continued to pressure BCHS in the final quarter, countering with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Max Bakker to William Dejong with 8:30 to play, and then held the Eagles scoreless after driving to the 10 with 1:28 to play.
Trailing by two points with 1:23 remaining and two timeouts, the Cavaliers benefited from a pass interference call on Tyler Carr and moved the ball across midfield in desperate need of a field goal.
But four plays later Tyler Carr stepped in front of a desperation Bakker pass to cinch the game with eight seconds to play. It was the Eagles third interception of the game.
“You don’t tell these guys this, but you expect a little bit of sloppiness, after not being on the field for quite some time,” Darren Carr said. “But you do what you can in a month, you know? But kudos to these coaches trying to get these guys ready, but we have a lot of work to do.”
BCHS rotated three quarterbacks, with Delgado, Huggins and sophomore Bryson Waterman each taking snaps. The three combined for 182 yards on 18 of 32 passing, three touchdowns and just one interception.
In addition to strong showings by sophomores Kizzy, Delgado and Waterman, the Eagles also received contributions from a pair of 10th-grade running backs, Nathan Perez and DJ Banales. Perez finished with 62 yards on 11 carries, including a 28-yard touchdown run, and Banales added 52 yards on 10 carries and intercepted a pass on defense.