Moorpark Raiders fall to Bakersfield Renegades despite fourth quarter surge


Quarterback Troy Smith is shoved out of bounds by Bakersfield defensive linemen Aaron Morgan during the home game against Bakersfield College on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Moorpark College. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

By Ryan Bough

The Moorpark Raiders came out to their penultimate game of the season with a slow start to the game but made up for it in the third and fourth quarters however, it wasn’t enough as the Bakersfield Renegades defeated them 38-18.

Moorpark’s defense acted quickly following the first kickoff, not allowing the Renegades into Raider territory during the play. Moorpark quarterback Troy Smith put the heat on Bakersfield as he completed two drives, one for 2-yards and one for 19-yards, then after a successful pass the Raiders were back to a first down. Following an unsuccessful pass Bakersfield returned the heat as Smith fumbled the ball and was recovered by Bakersfield in beginning of the first quarter.

“I personally messed up on that first drive we had, I had a fumble which I think if I didn’t fumble that we would have had a whole different game. I think the momentum just shifted on that and I just have to put that one on me and come out next week stronger,” said Smith.

Despite the Raiders best attempts to hold them off, Bakersfield scored a touchdown after a 3-yard rush by Isaiah Martin near the end of the first quarter. Bringing the score to Bakersfield 7, Moorpark 0.

Running back Brandon Archibald dashes through the defensive line attempting to get a first down for the Raiders during the home game against Bakersfield College on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Moorpark College. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

The second quarter began to look grim for the Raiders as the Renegades scored a touchdown one minute into the quarter. The bad luck didn’t end there for the Raiders, after two plays which lasted only nine seconds, the ball was fumbled and possession was returned to Bakersfield.

The Raiders morale seemed to be at an all time low. Smith spoke on why the morale had gotten so low, so early in the game.

“I think sometimes when the other team scores first, we get down on ourselves but I think if we keep our right head space in the game we can play with anybody, we just have to play a full four quarters of football,” said Smith.

The Renegades scored another touchdown to bring the score to Bakersfield 21, Moorpark 0 in the second quarter. Moorpark’s offense then tried to drive the ball into the end zone but was stopped at the Bakersfield 25-yard line.

After possession was returned to Bakersfield, Moorpark received their first penalty of the game. Moorpark usually averages around ten penalties a game, but this time Moorpark only had three penalties, resulting in a loss of 29 yards. While Bakersfield had a total of four penalties totaling 39 yards lost.

Lineman Johan Rodriguez noticed the team’s improvement since the beginning of the season.

“We have been getting better, we went from getting 15 penalties a game to not as much now. I’m very proud of our team and how we have developed as the year has gone by,” stated Rodriguez.

The Raiders’ defense was able to stop the Renegades advance. In response, the Renegades went for a 34-yard field goal attempt and completed it bringing the score to 24-0 in favor of Bakersfield going into halftime.

Wide receiver Reece Smith tries to dodge defensive back Mason Wright but is dragged out of bounds during the home game against Bakersfield College at Moorpark College on Nov. 9. Photo credit: Ryan Bough

During the third quarter, Bakersfield was able to slip by the Raiders’ defense and score a touchdown which brought the score to Bakersfield 31, Moorpark 0. The Raiders quickly fought back with a pass from Troy Smith to Reece Smith for a 45-yard touchdown but missed the kick for the extra point, bringing the score to Bakersfield 31, Moorpark 6.

Going into the fourth quarter the Raiders trailed Bakersfield by 25 points but this did not slow down the Raiders, whose morale had suddenly been boosted in the fourth quarter. Bakersfield’s defense was able to stop the Raiders at the 6-yard line but the Raiders had a trick up their sleeve.

Quarterback Trae Johnson mentioned the trick plays Moorpark had been practicing.

“Every week we have a new trick play and that was what we were focusing on all week we were hoping we could execute it and we did,” stated Johnson.

Quarterback Troy Smith threw the ball to Rodriguez, an offensive linemen, who ran the ball into the end zone. The Raiders and fans went wild with excitement as Rodriguez emerged from excited teammates.

Rodriguez described the excitement during his first ever touchdown.

“After so many years in high school and now being in college I’ve always been a middle linemen and I’ve never got that experience of scoring a touchdown, I’ve always been blocking and doing it for other people, so it feels really good to have a touchdown under my name,” said Rodriguez.

(left) Jakob Andrade clears the way for Johan Rodriguez(right), an offensive linemen, as he runs the ball into the end zone during a trick play named the "Johan Special" at the home game against Bakersfield on Saturday Nov. 9, at Moorpark College Photo credit: Ryan Bough

Rodriguez’s touchdown and a failed attempt at an extra point brought the score to Moorpark 12, Bakersfield 31. Bakersfield was able to pull off one more touchdown in the fourth quarter but Moorpark retaliated quickly with Johnson passing to Kenyon ’Ta Skinner for a 7-yard touchdown bringing the final score to Bakersfield 38, Moorpark 18.

Despite the loss, Johnson remained positive for next week’s home game against East Los Angeles College.

“We want to end the session on a high note, do it for the sophomores, and build some memories,” said Johnson.