The emotions were high, but the spark burned brightly and quickly extinguished for Garces on Friday night.
In Paul Golla’s first game against his old school at Bakersfield High, the Rams scored quickly in the first quarter only to watch the Drillers reel off 32 consecutive points in a 32-14 loss for Garces that drops the team to 2-5 overall and 0-2 in Southwest Yosemite League action.
“We are just waiting to put a game together and tonight wasn’t that night, again,” Golla said. “Hats off to the Drillers. They played hard and emotional and that’s the best they have looked all year.”
On the third play of the game, Jalen Smith stripped the ball right out of the hands of BHS running back Wesley Wilson at midfield and returned it down inside the 5-yard line. Then BHS senior Isaac Jernagin stripped the ball away from Smith and the Drillers recovered the ball.
But three plays later, Jalen Smith intercepted a Ricky Easterwood pass. That defensive play led to the lone offensive touchdown for the Rams as Joseph Campbell found Xavier Marshall for a 16-yard touchdown pass, giving Garces a 7-0 lead with 7:04 left in the first quarter.
But the Drillers responded when Jernagin took the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 just 14 seconds later.
“We tell our kids that when we were 0-0 in August that the scoreboard is for the fans,” Golla said. “We have a process that we have to get better every day and Monday we have to be prepared to get better. We have a great team, we just need to figure it out.”
Jalen Smith scored another touchdown as he recovered a BHS fumble late in the fourth quarter, but, unlike last week against Frontier, the Rams were not able to recover the onside kick.
Garces will be back in action Friday at Centennial.
Bakersfield 32, Garces 14
At Sam Tobias Field
RUSHING: Smith 8-33, Campbell 10-(-17), D’Amato 1-(-6), Wimberly 5-23).
PASSING: Campbell 10-21-2-123.
RECEIVING: Marshall 3-25, Bell 1-16, Hatten 5-72, Wimberly 1-10.
JV: BHS 24, GMHS 6. F/S: BHS 14, GMHS 6