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CLINCHED: Football Secures Share of National Northern League Title with 13-7 Win at Bakersfield

CLINCHED: Football Secures Share of National Northern League Title with 13-7 Win at Bakersfield

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The No. 23-ranked Allan Hancock College football team clinched a share of the National Northern League title with a 13-7 victory over No. 21 Bakersfield College in the regular season finale on Saturday evening. | BOX SCORE

With the win, Hancock has secured the program's 10th conference title on record and first since winning the American Leauge in 2019. Three teams in the league will share the conference title as all six entered Saturday's events with a 2-2 record. The Southern California Football Association tie-breaking protocol will be used to determine which member of the league earns the automatic berth to the playoffs from the National North. 

Both teams struggled to find an offensive groove early as the first five combined possessions ended in punts after several three-and-out scenarios. The Bulldogs (5-5, 3-2) broke the scoring drought after Jaleel Walker snagged a 65-yard touchdown pass from Esekielu Storer with just over five minutes remaining in the opening frame. The next two combined possessions saw each team punt before Coach Damron's defense snuffed out a potential scoring drive for BC and forced a turnover on downs. K'Hari Upshaw and Issac Faagata halted the drive after forcing a loss of two yards for the Renegades (4-6, 2-3) as they attempted to move the sticks in a 4th-and-3 situation. 

Hancock made it a two-possession game when a short scamper to the end zone from John Allen capped off an 11-play drive, which featured two defensive holding calls in the red zone by the Renegades, and entered the intermission with a 13-0 advantage.

Both teams owned the ball twice in the third quarter, which featured two punts from the Bulldogs and an incomplete pass on fourth down for the Renegades. Bakersfield's second possession in the third, which trickled over to the beginning of the fourth frame, ended with a blocked field goal attempt. Teams continued to exchange scoreless drives, but the hosting Gades managed to cut the deficit after a quick three-play drive ended in a 68-yard touchdown with 11:10 on the clock. Hancock's defense came through with several big stops down the stretch to secure the victory, including back-to-back sacks from PJ Mauigoa and several pass breakups by the 'Dogs secondary. 

Storer finished the game with 134 yards through the air after going 7-for-18 on pass completions, while Walker finished the night with 128 reception yards after six catches. Latrell Brown led the rushing crew with 73 yards on the ground after 18 carries, followed by 12 from Dior Kennedy and nine from Allen.

Jesse Garza led the defense for the second straight game with 12 tackles, followed by 11 tackles and one sack by Jordan Fields. Mauigoa, who provided much-needed pressure on the Bakersfield quarterback, was credited with a career-high mark of 4.5 sacks that forced a total loss of 37 yards. Andrew Lauritzen also registered a pair of sacks while Abraham Montero was tabbed with half of one. 

The Bulldogs will now wait for the results of the Ventura/East LA and Long Beach/Canyons games to find out where they stand in the final league rankings. Announcements for the state playoffs and non-playoff bowl games are anticipated to be released by the SCFA office next week. Postseason action is slated to take place on November 26th at various sites across the state.