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Moorpark, Bakersfield to Mash in Potato Bowl


Jim Bittner could not be consoled at the time. But on Monday, after Moorpark College accepted an invitation for a rematch against Bakersfield in the 41st annual Potato Bowl, the Raiders' coach recalled a poignant moment from the regular-season past.

Minutes after Moorpark and Bakersfield completed a 10-10 tie on Oct. 17, Bittner was approached by the father of a Raider player.

"You know, you're not very happy after a tie," Bittner said, "but I remember him saying, 'Maybe if we can get back on track, we'll get another shot at these guys.' That sort of stuck with me."

On Dec. 5, at Memorial Stadium in Bakersfield, both teams will get a second chance. Moorpark (9-0-1) will play Bakersfield (8-1-1) at 1:30 p.m. in the oldest and most prestigious of all junior-college bowl games.

On the same day, Glendale (8-2) will play host to Antelope Valley (7-2-1) at 1 p.m. at Glendale High in one of two Western State Conference bowls. Los Angeles Harbor (7-3) will host Orange Coast (7-3) in the other.

In other bowl matchups, top-ranked Saddleback (10-0) will play second-ranked City College of San Francisco (10-0) in the Orange County Bowl; Mt. San Antonio (8-2) plays Palomar (9-1) in the Orange County Classic, and San Bernardino Valley (9-0-1) faces El Camino (8-2) in the Southern Cal Bowl.

Moorpark finished the regular season undefeated for the first time in the 25 years the school has been fielding a football team. Bittner, who has been head coach for 13 years, refers to the Potato Bowl as the "Eraser Bowl."

"We want to erase that tie," he said.

Moorpark earned its first Potato Bowl bid by defeating Glendale, 49-32, on Saturday for the championship of the WSC's Northern Division.

Antelope Valley earned its date against Glendale in the WSC Bowl by finishing in a tie for second in the Foothill Conference. The Marauders won their last three games in a row after consecutive losses to San Bernardino Valley and Desert.

"We're just pleased to be in a bowl game," Antelope Valley Coach Brent Carder said. After the losses, "it would have been easy to back off but our players didn't. They earned this chance to keep playing."

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