By Mariana Gutierrez
As football’s 2023 season came to an end, the Huskies secured one last victory against Bakersfield College in the Patriotic Bowl.
In a close game,the Huskies were able to secure the win with a final score of 31-27.
The start of the game was delayed to a time scheduling error with the referees that led to the Huskies crowding the sidelines as they anxiously awaited to start playing. The game was scheduled for 2 p.m. and started closer to 3 p.m. but did not have an effect on the player’s momentum.
The Huskies won the coin toss, which they chose to defer for the second half.
On the first kick return of the game Bakersfield came ready to play with a catch and run of 25 yards which gave them their first down. Although this kick return initially seemed promising, the Huskies defense started off strong and quickly stopped them from scoring.
A kick return to the Huskies eventually led them to getting their first down. What was thought to be a fair catch on the 45 yard line was ultimately ruled out of bounds. The Huskies then struggled to gain yards which led them to a three and out.
The Huskies defense remained focused and quickly stopped Bakersfield from scoring. Both team’s offenses were struggling to break through the defense.
As the Huskies felt pressure to score, their passes became more risky and were almost intercepted by Bakersfield, but fortunately the ball was dropped. What was almost back to back three and outs, luckily became a Husky first down when the refs called a ‘roughing the kicker penalty’ against Bakersfield. Although given a second chance to score the Huskies still struggled to complete the play.
The Huskies defense remained strong and a key tackle made by DJ Shanks caused Bakersfield to lose 3 yards pushing them back to the 7 yard line, where they ultimately failed to score.
The punt return was at the 2 yard line when dual player DeGabriel Floyd brought it back to the 20 yard line to put the Huskies in a good field position to score. A pass caught by wide receiver Keyondre Douglas gave the Huskies their first down at the 10 yard line.
After getting stopped on second down quarterback Trilian Harris made a complete pass to Floyd which resulted in a 3rd and 10 at the end of the first quarter.
At the start of the second quarter a field goal attempt made by kicker Ethan Rodriguez was good and landed the Huskies on the scoreboard. The score at the beginning of the second quarter was 3-0.
Bakersfield began to make their way down to the field, solely due to penalties against ELAC. Two back to back offsides calls against the Husky defense and a personal foul penalty, gave Bakersfield the first down in what should have been a three and out.
Due to all the penalties against the Huskies, Bakersfield scored their first touchdown. With 11 minutes left in the second quarter the score was now 7-3.
After a timeout called by ELAC, the offense struggled to score.
When Bakersfield gained possession a wide receiver Jalen Hankins was left open and it led to a Bakersfield touchdown. Seven minutes were left in the second quarter and the score was now 14-3.
After a series of completed passes for the Huskies along with their second timeout of the half, Harris was able to run the ball for a touchdown. Three minutes remained in the half and the score was 14-10.
Bakersfield punted the ball which bounced off the turf and jumped into Floyd’s hands, who then returned it to the 42 yard line. A pass caught by wide receiver Jaylin Moore then led to another Husky touchdown. With 50 seconds left in the first half, the score was now 14-17.
In the start of the second half, a series of penalties were continued to be called against ELAC which led the Huskies head coach Bobby Godinez to become noticeably frustrated.
Shortly after the second half started, key player Floyd suffered a mild concussion and remained on the sidelines the rest of the game.
With Bakersfield having offensive possession the refs did not give the Huskies enough time to substitute their defensive line which continued to infuriate the coaches and players. Godinez started questioning the ref’s calls and demanded a fair game.
With all the penalties ELAC faced they could have easily given up, but they kept fighting through it. “Only one out of four teams get the opportunity to play in this game postseason. I admire my team’s resilience.” Godinez said.
At the end of the third quarter the score remained 14-17.
Moore remained focused and scored his second touchdown of the game in the first minute of the 4th quarter. The score was now 14-24.
What was thought to be a Husky touchdown, was short celebrated. The Huskies punted the ball to Bakersfield and they caught it but then dropped it. On the bounce, the Huskies recovered the ball and ran it into the endzone. However, the initial catch was ruled as a fair catch which made the ball dead and ultimately led to the touchdown not being counted.
After a personal foul against Bakersfield due to a face mask, the Huskies were able to complete their first down at the 5 yard line. Second string quarterback Jeliun Carter who had been substituted in, was able to run the ball for a Husky touchdown.
With 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter, the score was now 14-31.
After a roughing the passer and face mask penalty against Elac, Bakersfield was able to gain the necessary yards in order to score.The score was now 21-31 with 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter.
Another penalty for a block in the back against the Huskies put Bakersfield in a position to score a touchdown. Bakersfield’s field goal attempt failed.
The final score of the game was 27-31, with the Huskies being victorious.
“A lot of my players have faced a ton of adversity throughout their lives and have no ride, and/or no money to get here. For a lot of my players just making it to the end of the season is one feat in itself. Not only finishing the season but to finish with a bowl win is something I’m extremely proud of,” Godinez said.
The player of the game was defensive end/outside linebacker Tymere Jackson who played a major role in the Huskies defense.
“I was shocked to win this award. I just went in with my usual mentality of wanting to win. It’s my last year playing at ELAC, and I haven’t decided where I’m committing to just yet,” Jackson said.
The Most Valuable Player of the Game was Jaylin Moore. “This is my first bowl game I’ve gotten to play in due to an injury last season. Coming into this game, winning this award was actually a goal of mine and I prayed about it all week. It’s my last year playing at ELAC and I’m hoping to receive offers from other schools soon,” Moore said.
“Every season me and my coaching staff have been here, our goal is always to take the program a step further. We used to play at a lower level but now we play in a national division against some of the best teams in the country. We’ve been to three straight bowls and finally overcame our hump and won the Patriotic Bowl. Our goal for next season is to make it to the playoffs and win a National Championship,” Godinez said.
The team’s overall record is 7 wins and 4 losses. They also won the President’s Cup against Long Beach City College.