Moorpark College Coach Jim Bittner started to worry about his team's winning streak just two minutes into Saturday's game against visiting Bakersfield.
There was nothing unusual about Moorpark scoring the first touchdown of the game. In their past four games, the Raiders had a combined first-quarter scoring advantage of 47-0.
But with Moorpark leading, 7-0, after quarterback Dan Nagelmann's 75-yard touchdown pass to Carlton Hines, something happened that caused Bittner's concern--Bakersfield scored.
Halfback Reggie Yarbourgh took a handoff on the Renegades' first play and raced 93 yards for the tying touchdown. Bakersfield took control after Yarbourgh's stunning dash, then held off a furious fourth-quarter Moorpark rally to defeat the previously unbeaten Raiders, 26-23.
"We stung them with that big play and then stood around and let them come right back," Bittner said. "From there on, I give Bakersfield all the credit."
Bakersfield deserved credit for stopping Moorpark's short-yardage passing attack and forcing Nagelmann to throw long. Nagelmann had trouble adjusting and completed just 6 of 25 passes for 172 yards as Moorpark dropped to 4-1 and 1-1 in the Western State Conference.
"They had an excellent game plan against us," Bittner said. "The big thing was that they took the short pass away. Now we have to worry about everybody doing that."
Bakersfield (2-3, 1-0) needed a win in its WSC opener after losing three of its first four games. Beating Moorpark made the victory especially sweet for Coach Carl Bowser.
"We probably played our best game today, which is what I thought it would take," Bowser said. "They're sound, probably the best-coached team we've played."
When Bakersfield went ahead, 10-7, on the first of Jason Pendelton's two field goals, a 29-yarder with 5:46 remaining in the first half, it marked the first time Moorpark had trailed this season. The Raiders never caught up.
Leading, 13-10, at halftime, the Renegades moved 70 yards in 11 plays and scored on Maceo Barbosa's two-yard touchdown run with 9:41 remaining in the third period. Bakersfield padded its lead to 26-10 on Yarbourgh's second touchdown, a two-yard run with 5:31 left in the quarter.
Moorpark rallied for 13 points in the final quarter, but it was too little, too late.
The Raiders scored their second touchdown when Ernie Tautalatasi, the running back who changed his last name from Tupua, plunged in from a yard out with 12:27 remaining.
After Tautalatasi's touchdown, Moorpark gambled and went for a two-point pass conversion that failed.
Bittner said after the game that Moorpark was playing for the win when it gambled on the conversion pass instead of the extra-point kick.
After regaining possession, Moorpark mounted a 13-play, 64-yard touchdown drive culminating in Tautalatasi's 1-yard run with 4:57 left. Daniel Eastman's kick put the Raiders within a field goal at 26-23.
With 3:23 remaining, Moorpark had the ball at its 30. But Eddie Thomas picked off Nagelmann's pass on the first play to thwart the drive.
The Raiders boasted the state's sixth best defense (202 yards per game), but the Renegades generated 303 yards against Moorpark, including 266 yards rushing on 51 carries. Bakersfield quarterback Stan Greene completed just 4 of 9 for 37 yards.
Moorpark had 330 yards on offense, including 158 yards rushing on 41 carries.