The Bakersfield Christian Eagles defeated the Sunny Hill Lancers by a final score of 42-21 Saturday. The win gives the Eagles the Southern California Division 3A Championship and will advance to the state title game next weekend.
After cruising through the Central Section playoffs, the Eagles faced a tougher task ahead with the state playoffs. Their opponent Sunny Hills came into the game with a 12-2 record and had a miraculous run winning the D-8 playoffs in the Southern Section.
The game kicked off Saturday at 6 pm with a slick field as there were scattered shatters throughout the day in the area. After forcing a three and out to begin the game, BCHS took their opening drive all the way down the field and were able to score on a rushing play up the middle that was fumbled into the end zone and gathered by Senior lineman Dylan Parcher for his first career touchdown. This gave the Eagles an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter. The Lancers then responded with a touchdown of their own on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Luke Duxbury to Wilson Cal knotting things up at seven apiece with 3 minutes left in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Dominic Gamboni found Ronnie Simril on a slant pass for an 11-yard touchdown connection putting the Eagles ahead 14-7. After a couple of great defensive possessions for the Eagles and a missed field goal by Eagles kicker Julius Salinas, BCHS was able to find the end zone on a Gamboni pass to Simril, the pairs second touchdown connection of the night extending the lead to 21-7 with 5:05 left in the half. After a Chris Gutierrez interception, Junior Jess Wattenbarger was able to punch it into the end zone on a 24-yard touchdown run, making the score 28-7 with 3:42 left in the quarter. Sunny Hills then responded with a touchdown on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Duxbury to Cal rounding out the score at 28-14 to end the first half of football.
After an uneventful 3rd quarter, BCHS was able to extend their lead on a blocked punt return by star athlete Ben Yurosek giving the Eagles a three-score lead at 35-14. Sunny Hills star running back Jim Ahn’s answered with a touchdown of his own from the 1-yard line, making it a two-score game at 35-21 with 8:31 remaining in the game. The Eagles scored on a 5-yard touchdown rush by Jess Wattenbarger to finish the game with a final score of 42-21.
Senior quarterback Dominic finished the game with 235 yards and 2 touchdowns (both to Ronnie Simril) in his final home game as an Eagle. Jess Wattenbarger added 117 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in the win. Ben Yurosek, in his final home game, had 63 yards receiving while having multiple tackles for loss and 2 ½ sacks on the defensive side of the ball. The Stanford commit also played a huge role on special teams returning a blocked punt for a touchdown and having a punt pinned inside the 10-yard line in his position as the Eagles punter.
Sunny Hills (12-3) end their season in the Southern California State finals after claiming the D-8 Title. Their (12-3) record is an improvement from last years (8-3) mark in which they did not make the playoffs
Bakersfield Christian (11-3) advance to the D-3A State Title Game. The Eagles will travel north to play the (11-3) Rancho Cotate Cougars football team coming off a 10-0 victory against Sierra Manteca. The title game will be on the campus of Rancho Cotate in Rohnert Park, California, next Saturday, December 14th, at 6 o’clock. If you cannot make the 331 mile trip to the North Bay, you can pay to watch the game on the streaming service NFHS.