Bakersfield’s 56-26 victory over Del Oro gives the school its seventh CIF state football title but the first one since 1927. Asauni Rufus just did too much as the option quarterback.
RELATED: CIF Bowl Game Player Awards.
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Move over Bernard “Frenchy” Uhalt, the latest Bakersfield High quarterback to lead the Drillers to a CIF state football title is Asauni Rufus.
The senior quarterback, who has committed to Nevada, doesn’t have a nickname, but maybe he needs one. He dazzled with his feet, dumbfounded with his fakes and led Bakersfield past Del Oro of Loomis 56-26 on Friday night in the CIF Division I state bowl game before 5,923 at the StubHub Center in Carson.
Rufus ended the night with 184 yards rushing on 19 carries and scored twice. He also threw a touchdown pass with 71 more yards. For the season, the likely first team all-state choice finished with 1,831 yards rushing and 31 TDs to go with 1,647 yards passing and 12 scores.
Uhalt was the quarterback for the Drillers way back in 1927 when they blanked Fullerton 38-0 for the school’s last CIF state title, which also was the last CIF state title until the bowl games began in 2006.
“Before the game, we showed the boys a helmet from Frenchy and earlier this week we had a Power Point slide presentation of all the state championship teams,” said Bakersfield head coach Paul Golla. “It’s not just talk. The kids believed in the legacy and the standards those teams way back then set.”
Bakersfield won five other CIF titles in those early years, including four in a row from 1920 to 1923 and now has seven in all. The only school close to that is De La Salle of Concord, which has five and is going for its sixth on Saturday in the open division against St. John Bosco of Bellflower.
“It’s almost a disbelief that we won a historic state title like this,” Rufus said. “A lot of people overlook Bakersfield but we definitely proved tonight that the Valley has something.”
This Drillers’ team can’t be confused in any way with that 1927 squad. That previous title team, under legendary head coach Dwight “Goldie” Griffith, shut out nine of the 12 teams it played and only gave up 19 points for the entire season.
Blinding speed and offense will be the trademarks of the 2013 Drillers. They ended 13-2 and should move up from the No. 10 spot they occupied in this week’s overall state rankings.
Del Oro, which closed a 13-3 campaign and was No. 11 overall in the state this week, just could not slow up Bakersfield and had to take too many chances to get back in the game after falling behind in the first half. The team was led by senior running back Dylan Kainrath with 35 carries for 198 yards rushing and three TDs.
“We were glad to be here and I’m proud of our kids but Bakersfield was just too good and too fast for us defensively,” said Del Oro head coach Casey Taylor. “We couldn’t adjust to their speed and lost to the better team tonight.”
The first half of the contest resembled a track meet and that’s not something that favored the Golden Eagles.
After the two teams scored on their first two possessions, the Drillers took advantage of a 76-yard kickoff return by Derrick Vickers that set up their third score. That came on a 4-yard run by Rufus.
A sack of Del Oro QB Michael Moore then helped Bakersfield get the ball right back, which was followed by a 20-yard punt return by Kevin Hayes. The Drillers were then able to take a 28-14 lead early in the second quarter on a 21-yard run by Rufus.
After the Golden Eagles cut the score to 28-17 on a 29-yard field goal by Mason Humes with 6:56 left before halftime, they were unable to add another one before the quarter ended. Moore was sacked for a 17-yard loss with 21 seconds left, which pushed Del Oro back to midfield. A desperation pass was then intercepted by Bakersfield’s Darias Dallas.
The key play in the second half for Bakersfield was a fake punt by Hayes that he converted into a first down. On the next play, Jeremiah Reddick broke loose for a 47-yard touchdown. Then two plays after the ensuing kickoff, linebacker Nate Stancil intercepted Moore and returned it to the one-yard line. Vickers scored again and just like that a 28-17 lead for the Drillers had ballooned to 42-17.
“The key to the game was big plays and the work the boys did in the trenches,” Golla said. “Plus, we bent early but never broke.”