Late Field Goal Lifts Warriors Past Bakersfield in Home Opener

Photo by Dalia Joudi
Photo by Dalia Joudi

TORRANCE, Calif. – Freshman kicker Campbell Geddes' 39-yard field goal as time expired gave El Camino College a 26-23 non-conference victory over Bakersfield Saturday night at Murdock Stadium.

The victory was the Warriors' (1-1) first win over the Renegades since 2011 when ECC defeated Bakersfield 31-7 at the old Murdock Stadium under head coach John Featherstone. The Warriors had dropped the previous five meetings to Bakersfield in the "Peace Pipe" rivalry game prior to Saturday's victory.

Geddes set a new career high with the game-winning kick on Saturday night and he is now 3-for-5 on field goals this year including two makes from 30-plus yardage.

Dylan Lemle drew the start at quarterback for the Warriors and was excellent, going 7-for-9 for 83 yards and one touchdown before a lower body injury in the first quarter caused his exit from the rest of the game.

Jake Novello took the bulk of the snaps the rest of the way and went 14-for-23 for 96 yards and a 32-yard touchdown strike to Tariq Johnson, who led the team with eight catches for 106 yards and two scores.

Robert Ferrel had his breakout game for the Warriors, wreaking havoc all over the field. He returned seven punts for 130 yards including a 54-yard return for a touchdown for the team's first score of the second half, putting ECC up 20-13. He also added 99 yards on four kickoff returns, seven catches for 37 yards and one rushing attempt.

The Warriors final drive of the game began with just 1:08 left in regulation at their own 30-yard line. Novello opened the drive with a 14-yard completion to Ferrel for a first down but a holding call on the next play sent the Warriors back to the 36-yard line.

The critical play came on third-down-and-5 when Novello dropped back to pass and found no one open. He then tucked the ball down and ran for nine yards into Bakersfield territory to give ECC a crucial first down and an attempt at a game-winning kick within striking distance.

Then, Novello completed a short pass to Ferrel along the left side for three yards but a 15-yard face mask penalty on the Renegades' Anthony Villanueva moved the ball to the Bakersfield 24-yard line.

After two rushes for two yards, Geddes lined up with two seconds left and then split the uprights from 39 yards out to seal the victory for ECC.

The Warriors will get back on the road next week to take on crosstown rival L.A. Harbor in a non-conference affair on Sept. 21. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.