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In a low-scoring game mistakes are amplified and every possession counts.
That was no different Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium as Long Beach City College found themselves in a defensive slugfest against Bakersfield in a must-win game.
After a furious two-minute drill sent the game into overtime, sophomore Jonathan Watson emphatically closed the door and sent the Vikings’ sideline into celebration when he scored a game-winning 25-yard touchdown to give Long Beach City College a 23-17 overtime win over Bakersfield.
“Our o line got a good push,” Watson said. “I seen that two linebackers overshot so I cut back and I had to score. These are the ones we got to win. It’s cute to blow a team out, when you get blown out it’s like ‘we never really had a chance,’ but the ones that we pull out – the close ones, those are the ones that count.”
In the first half, both defense made things difficult for the offense as the two combined for 29 yards total on the first three possessions of the game.
On their second possession of the game the Renegades were able to get the offense going but after a 14-play drive that took almost six minutes, the LBCC defense forced a field goal and Bakersfield field took a 3-0 lead with less than four minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The Vikings (5-3, 2-1) defense continued to make things difficult for Bakersfield after a fumble and forced a punt on the next drive.
“The defense played great,” LBCC coach Brett Peabody said. “(Bakersfield) came in on a roll. They have the highest ranked defense in the conference, so we knew this was going to be a back and forth type game. We came so close in the first half getting some big plays, we were just a little bit off.”
After trailing 3-0 after the first quarter, Mario De la Torre tied the game after he converted a 43-yard field goal to tie the game with 12:05 left until the half.
Both offense started to move the ball in the second half and Bakersfield scored the first touchdown of the game on their opening drive of the third quarter when they marched 69 yards and scored when quarterback Joseph Campbell found Jamaal Thompson for a 3-yard score to give Bakersfield a 10-3 lead with 9:25 left in the quarter.
Will Madonna answered right back as he completed each of his five passes on the drive as the Vikings went 73 yards in seven plays that was capped with a Watson 3-yard touchdown.
Watson finished the game with 119 yards and two touchdowns while Madonna went 29-42 for 297 yards and one touchdown.
It didn’t take long for Bakersfield to answer back as Jihad Marks found a streaking Joseph Campbell for a 50-yard touchdown to give the Renegades a 17-10 lead with 12:06 left in regulation.
After four scoreless drives, the Vikings went on a two-minute drill as they marched 75 yards in 2:26 and tied the game when Madonna found Remil Brown for a 3-yard touchdown.
In overtime, LBCC elected to start on defense and Talin Cooper proved it was the right call as he came up with a big sack and the Vikings defense forced a field goal attempts that the Renegades missed.
That set up Watson for his game-winning touchdown to give the Vikings the win.
The Vikings will wrap up the regular season on the road as they travel to Allan Hancock next Saturday.