The message coming out of the season opener for the Garces football team in the first year under head coach Paul Golla is that it’s not about how you start, but who you finish.
Despite causing five Bakersfield Christian turnovers, the Rams lost 22-0 in the debut of Golla as the head coach.
The game was delayed because of excessive heat and then took an extended break in the third quarter as three ambulances were inside the stadium at one time after Garces senior Isaiah Bell and BCHS senior Randy Raymond were both taken to local hospitals to undergo concussion protocol.
Neither team reached the end zone in the opening half as Jalen Smith recovered a fumble and Dom D’Amato and Justin Eccleston both intercepted Dominic Gamboni passes in the first half.
Gamboni finished with 97 passing yards on 31 attempts and threw three interceptions as D’Amato added a second pick in the third quarter.
But the Rams offense couldn’t get anything going.
Garces (0-1) managed just 13 total yards of offense, keeping the defense on the field most of the game.
“Our defense was incredible for three quarters,” Golla said. “Being on the field so much, the fatigue got to them at the end. When you are on the field that long, it’s going to happen. We have to figure out ways to put drives together.”
As fatigue set in for the Rams defense, junior Jess Wattenbarger took control of the offense for BCHS (1-0), with two rushing touchdowns.
David Stevenson led BCHS with 110 rushing yards and his 18-yard touchdown run was the first score of the game with 9:40 left in the third quarter.
The frosh/soph team beat McFarland 49-6 on Thursday and the junior varsity team opened the season on Friday with a 34-8.
The team captains for Garces were Jack Hatten, Isaiah Bell, JonPaul LeFever and Jalen Smith.
Garces will host Santa Maria-St. Joseph next Friday at Sam Tobias Field at 7:30 p.m.