Bakersfield, CA (Football) -- The Citrus College Football team gave up a season high 231 yards on the ground, and sophomore quarterback Blake Loncar was plagued by three interceptions and five sacks as the Fighting Owls fell 31-13 to SoCal #9 Bakersfield on Saturday evening.
Citrus’ defense would hold the Renegades on their first three possessions, forcing a turnover in their opening drive and a pair of three and outs on their next two drives. The Renegades finally broke through though in the second quarter when they scored on back to back drives to take a 14-0 lead.
Bakersfield would take that lead into the break, with the Citrus offense finally finding an answer in the opening minutes of the third quarter. On the fourth play of their opening drive, Loncar connected with Dilan Clark on a swing pass that Clark took 42 yards to the end zone to cut the Bakersfield lead in half.
On the ensuing Renegade possession, Citrus’ freshman linebacker Jose Nunez would force a fumble on Bakersfield’s first plays. Eight plays later, the Fighting Owls were in the end zone again when Loncar scored from the one on a quarterback keeper. After a botched hold that resulted in a failed two-point conversion attempt Citrus trailed by just one 14-13 with over 10 minutes to go in the third.
That’s when things fell apart for the Owls. Bakersfield would drive down the field and got a 40 yard field goal to go up by four. Citrus’ next possession would begin at the Bakersfield 35 after a 51 yard Dilan Clark kick-off return. Loncar would drive the offense down to the 18 yard line before being picked off at the 16, an interception that turned into a pick six after Bakersfield’s Ian Driskill took the ball 84 yards into the Citrus end zone.
Citrus’ final three drives would end in a missed field goal and a pair of punts, while the Renegades added another score in the fourth quarter in route to the 18 points victory. Loncar would finish 25 of 34 for 179 yards and the one TD. Sophomore wide receiver Kelvin Chatham proved to be Loncar’s favorite target with five catches for a team high 53 yards. Freshman running back Demetrius Counts would carry the ball 12 times for a team high 58 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Citrus was led by sophomore defensive back Arthur Forrest and freshman linebacker Jose Nunez. Both Forrest and Nunez recorded a team high 11 tackles. Forrest added a sack, while Nunez added the forced fumble.
With the loss, Citrus falls to 1-2 on the year. The Fighting Owls have two more games left in their pre-conference schedule, and both come in Citrus Stadium. The first will be this Saturday against San Bernardino Valley (1-2). Kick-off is set for 1:00 PM.