The No. 8 Long Beach City College football team played host to the No. 16 Bakersfield College Renegades in the 2016 Western State Bowl in the final game of the season at Veteran Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. Offense shined on both ends in a 47-41 shootout with the Vikings reigning supreme and hauling in the victory to complete a 9-2 season.
In a physical game that featured a total of 29 penalties for 250 yards, both squad scored at will to set the stage for an exciting bowl game.
Bakersfield struck first on a 12 play, 76-yard drive to earn them the opening six points. Therefore, the Vikings went into attack mode on offensive early on.
After the Renegades took the lead on the following possession and carried a 13-7 advantage into the second half, the Vikings quickly responded compliments of a seven-yard tote from sophomore running back Tyree Harris to bring the score to 13-13.
Bakersfield remained pesky on offense, but the Vikings continued to answer with sophomore wide receiver Jaylen Watson calling in a reservation for six off an 11-yard pass from Maier to tie the score once again at 20-20.
Long Beach bergan to step up their defensive game by stopping Bakersfield in the latter part of the second half. Freshman defensive end Scotty Fao and sophomore defensive lineman Marcus Reynolds teamed up to record a dual sack, followed by another dual sack from freshman defensive lineman Adebayo Soremekun and sophomore linebacker Josh Allen.
The offense fed off the defense with Maier hooking up with sophomore wide receiver Jacob Welch for a 10-yard touchdown to grab a 27-20 lead entering into halftime.
Freshman kicker Sergio Garcia booted through the first points of the second half by nailing a 30-yard field to expand the Viking's lead to 30-20 with 8:50 remaining in the third quarter.
Bakersfield pulled within three points of the lead late in the third quarter, but Long Beach began to pull away with Minix reeling in another touchdown snag from a 14-yard pass from Maier to bring the score to 37-27.
Long Beach added another score in the fourth quarter on one massive play with Maier finding Watson for a 75-yard touchdown pass. Watson displayed unbelievable break-away speed streaking down the Long Beach sideline after catching a quick-hitch route, eventually leading to a 47-41 victory.
At the conclusion of the contest, Maier was named the Most Valuable Player for the 2016 Western State Bowl after being 23 yards shy of 500 yards passing. He finished the game by going 32-for-45 with 477 yards and five touchdown passes. In addition, he carried the ball five times for 22 yards.
Harris was named Long Beach's Player of the Game after carrying the ball 21 times for a career-high 126 yards and a touchdown. In addition, he caught two passes for 26 yards.
Welch led the receiving core by hauling in eight catches for 171 yards and one touchdown. Watson was a yard shy of 100 yards receiving by hauling in three catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns, while Minix was an all-around weapon by catching the rock seven times for 73 yards and two touchdowns and rushing the ball five times for 29 yards.
Fao led the defense with six stops and 2.5 sacks for a loss of nine yards. Reynolds and Allen each recorded two tackles for a loss of 14 yards each, while Reynolds notched two sacks. Sophomore defensive back DeMonte King recorded five stops as well.
The Vikings finish their season 9-2 that ended on a five-game winning streak.