CARSON (AP) — Freshman running back Montell Bland ran for 103 yards and two second-half touchdowns to lead Modesto’s Central Catholic High to a 36-23 win over Bakersfield Christian, and its second consecutive CIF State Football Bowl Championship, Friday night at the StubHub Center.
The city of Bakersfield didn’t go away empty-handed Friday, as Bakersfield High routed Del Oro of Loomis 56-26 for the Division I title.
The Raiders of Central Catholic, who ended their season with a 14-game winning streak, found themselves trailing early but they were able to take advantage of turnovers by the Eagles to get back on track.
Bakersfield Christian (12-3) scored on its first possession, only to give the points back with a fumble deep in its own territory. Jared Rice picked up the loose ball at the 22 and returned it for Central Catholic’s first touchdown.
The Eagles regained the lead on the ensuing drive, with Brandon Jones scoring on a 2-yard run.
Trailing 14-7, Central Catholic (15-1) inched its way closer with a 30-yard field goal by Kenny Smart, and a safety. The Eagles had 237 yards of offense in the first half, compared to the Raiders’ 115, but another Smart field goal gave Central Catholic a 15-14 halftime lead.
The Raiders added to their lead in the third quarter following Jackson Finch’s interception of a Jones pass. That led to Bland’s first touchdown, a run in which he broke six tackles and left several Bakersfield Christian players in his wake.
The Raiders controlled the ball and the tempo for most of the second half and had little trouble in securing the win.
Jones led Bakersfield Christian with 380 passing yards on a 26-for-41 night.
Central Catholic was without star running back Matt Ringer (2,348 yards, 33 touchdowns), who was out with a thigh bruise.
The Raiders defeated Ripon 38-7 in the semifinal round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs on Nov. 29. Central joins the five Manteca Unified schools next year in the Valley Oak League.