Nov. 5—No, that wasn’t the 2007 Fiesta Bowl Friday night at Bakersfield Christian, and those weren’t the Boise State Broncos wearing Eagles jerseys. But coaches Darren and David Carr didn’t hesitate to empty out the BCHS playbook when it mattered most, with the season on the line, in overtime.
Trailing 21-14 after a touchdown pass from Ya’j Vance to Rashad Perry, the Eagles faced fourth-and-11 on the 26-yard line. Jordan Delgado swung it out backwards to the right for Dylan Johnson, setting the wideout up for a double pass to Chase Furtado, who made the catch and stepped into the end zone.
“I ran up to Dave, I’m like, ‘We can’t let No. 10 (Vance) get back on the field, man,'” head coach Darren Carr said. “So we got the ball right now, we scored on that double pass … It was all or nothing, man.”
BCHS came out in the pistol, Delgado tossed it left to Bryson Waterman, and the tailback sprinted out, pump-faked as though he might pass too, then cut inside and fell forward for the game-winning 2-point conversion.
The 22-21 victory, advancing BCHS to the second round of the Division II section playoffs, was all the more stunning given that the Eagles trailed 14-0 with eight minutes left after producing next to nothing all game.
“I’d like to take you through the whole thing,” Carr said, “but I’d probably pass out.”
With under a minute remaining and the game tied at 14, the Tigers had elected to go for it on fourth-and-1 on their own 29, perhaps considering that BCHS had already missed a short field goal earlier in the game. Vance completed a 36-yard pass down the left sideline to Ray Brown, but Furtado ripped the ball free before the receiver could get out of bounds.
That was just one of four Edison drives thwarted by Furtado, who picked off Vance thrice on the day, all three times in BCHS territory.
“(Furtado’s) an energy guy, man,” Carr said. “You get around him, he’s 100 miles an hour every play.”
Otherwise, Vance showed why he’s been one of the most prolific passers in the Central Section this year, accounting for 352 all-purpose yards and the Perry touchdown. John Eubanks found space in the running game, too, and scored the Tigers’ lone touchdown in regulation on a 2-yard plunge early in the second quarter. A Vance-to-Brown conversion made it 8-0.
Edison was plagued, however, by innumerable missed opportunities. Even beyond the drives that ended in Furtado interceptions, the Tigers also backed up from first-and-goal from the 4 to fourth-and-goal at the 21, due to holding and an illegal forward pass, before turning it over on downs; settled for a field goal after first and goal from the 2; and took another field goal in a goal-to-go situation when they could have gone up three scores at the start of the fourth quarter.
“Super proud of our defense, man,” Carr said. “It just took a while for our offense to get out there and make some plays.”
Despite the return of running backs Bryson Waterman and Nathan Perez, the BCHS offense looked worse than in prior weeks. The Eagles posted just 60 yards of offense through more than three quarters prior to their first touchdown drive.
They had a similar litany of missteps to Edison’s: a Delgado pass through the hands of Johnson on fourth-and-6, after a false start; a deep shot picked off by Brown; a drive that started at Edison’s 27 that featured a fourth-and-15 17-yard scramble by Delgado but ended with the missed field goal; and, after a 1-yard Waterman touchdown run broke the shutout at 14-7, an onside kick recovered by Shaine Heriford that turned into a mere three-and-out.
The Eagles punted it away and pinned the Tigers at their own 10-yard line. Edison looked to earn a key first down on a completion from Vance to Dezjour Malone, but it was called back due to holding. Then Vance threw incomplete on a third-down deep shot to stop the clock with 3:51 left.
BCHS caught a big break when, after David Bonales went backwards on first down, Edison was flagged for pushing and shoving after the whistle. On the next play Delgado found Johnson for a 33-yard catch and run to tie the game.
The Eagles got the ball once more after Furtado’s strip but Delgado was sacked immediately.
Edison took possession first in overtime, and Vance found Brown just short of the pylon despite Furtado’s attempt to range over and knock the ball away. Vance hit Perry on a rollout one play later.
Another Bonales first-down run, followed by a pair of incompletions, left BCHS with the fourth down that they turned into the game-winning touchdown and 2-point conversion.
By the skin of their teeth, the no. 5 Eagles advanced to the quarterfinals, and now must leave the comfort of home Thursday to face No. 4 Hanford, which dropped a 42-point second quarter and an 84-21 final on Ridgeview Friday night.
“We’ll watch the film, we’ll check it out and see what they’re all about,” Carr said. “That’s a terrific football team, we’re going to go down there and do our best on a short week, a travel week.
“We gotta get better. It doesn’t really have to do much with Hanford, they’re a good football team, but we gotta get better first.”
Reporter Henry Greenstein can be reached at 661-395-7374. Follow him on Twitter: @HenryGreenstein.