On to Valley! Eagles Cruise to Victory Over San Luis Obispo in Semi-Finals
By Knight Jarecki
The Bakersfield Christian Eagles defeated the San Luis Obispo Tigers by a final score of 35-14 Friday night. The Eagles advanced to play in their fourth straight valley championship game after a dominant defensive performance.
The game kicked off with the Eagles starting on offense first after an impressive 39-yard kick off return by David Stevenson. Stevenson would then add 46 yards on the ground before Senior quarterback Dominic Gamboni found fullback Donovan Foster in the end zone for a one-yard touchdown pass on 4th down, putting the Eagles up 7-0 early. On the ensuing possession, Senior Gabe Zuniga picked off Emilio Corona giving the Eagles the ball back midway through the first quarter. Taking advantage of a blown coverage, Dominic Gamboni found a wide-open Ronnie Simril for a 50-yard touchdown connection extending the Eagles lead to 14-0 with 1:11 left in the first quarter.
After a missed field goal by San Luis Obispo, the Eagles found the end zone once again with a 21-yard touchdown rush by Jess Wattenbarger, making it a 21-0 game with 6:43 in the second quarter. Wattenbarger was in for an injured David Stevenson, who left limping in the second quarter. After the first half of football, the Eagles dominated with 124 yards on offense and had four interceptions on defense with two of the interceptions being from Senior Chris Gutierrez.
In the second half of play, the Eagles did not miss a beat as Jess Wattenbarger got his second interception of the game, giving the Eagles the football. The offense answered with a 41-yard touchdown strike from Dominic Gamboni to Chris Gutierrez to go-ahead 28-0 with 8:36 left in the third quarter. After a 28 yard run by Emilio Corona, Corona found Jeremy Fitzsimmons on an 8-yard touchdown pass, putting the Tigers on the board with 5:41 left in the 3rd making the score 28-7.
After spreading star tight end Ben Yurosek out wide, Dominic Gamboni went up top, and Yurosek used all of his 6’5 240-pound frames to come down with the 28-yard touchdown catch extending the lead to 35-7. San Luis Obispo would later add a touchdown to finish the game 35-14.
The Eagles defense dominated SLO finishing the game with six interceptions. Gamboni finished the game with 214 yards and two touchdowns. Jess Wattenbarger finished with 70 yards on the ground with a touchdown while he also added two interceptions on the defensive side on the ball.
San Luis Obispo finished their season with a (10-2) record exiting the semi-finals.
Bakersfield Christian improved to (9-3) and will host the Valley Championship game against Milk Bowl Rival Central Valley Christian. The Eagles won the forest matchup between the two schools by a score of 36-0 in Visalia. The game will be this Friday at 7 pm at BCHS.