Sophomore Darren Johnson (Cabrillo HS) ran for 212 yards and two touchdowns while sophomore Josh Fatu (Lakewood HS) led a relentless Long Beach City College defense with four sacks in the Vikings' 38-7 home-opener win over Bakersfield College on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Long Beach, ranked No. 4 in the state and No. 7 nationally by JCGridIron.com, totaled 499 yards of offense but it was the defense that stole the show. The Vikings smothered Bakersfield (0-3) all night and held the Renegades to negative rushing yards. The Vikings sacked BC quarterback Tarek Yaeggi seven times and added another sack of backup Noah Hollie. Bakersfield managed just 146 offensive yards, including 25 in the second half, and totaled only eight first downs.
LBCC forced five turnovers, including interceptions by sophomore Kiante Goudeau (Edison HS), and freshmen Isaia Rosten (Cabrillo HS) and Jay Maduro (Orlando, FL). Goudeau had the big defensive play of the night, returning his interception 41 yards for a touchdown that capped a 17-point third quarter for the Vikings.
In under two minutes, the Vikings turned a narrow 14-7 halftime lead into the makings of a blowout. Freshman Sergio Garcia hit a 28-yard field goal at the 7:17 mark in the third before the LBCC defense set up the next score. Sophomore Mat Boesen (West Torrance HS) and Rosten forced a fumble on a combined sack of Yaeggi that was recovered by Fatu. On the Vikings' first offensive play, Johnson ran in from 22 yards to put LBCC up 24-7 with 6:17 to go. And Goudeau's pick-six at 5:22 completed the whirl-wind third.
Long Beach closed out the scoring with a 38-yard touchdown reception by freshman Ikenna Ohaeri (Narbonne HS) from freshman Jack Lowary (Mater Dei HS) with 13:27 left in the contest.
Johnson was the breakout star for the LBCC offense, rushing 212 yards on 21 carries. His 32-yard touchdown run in the first gave Long Beach a 7-0 lead. Lowary and sophomore Jacob Kalama (Torrance HS) combined to pass for 207 yards on the night. Kalama tossed a 22-yard TD pass to freshman Mike Wilson (Washington Preparatory) at the 4:20 mark in the second quarter to give the Vikings the lead for good.
On defense, Fatu led with 5.5 tackles while freshman J'Quan Hawkins (Wilson HS) added five tackles. Boesen totaled four tackles, including three for loss. As a team, the Vikings posted 14 tackles for a loss of 61 yards.
Long Beach, now 3-0, returns to action next Saturday (Sept. 26) at 6 p.m. when the Vikings host Los Angeles Harbor College in their SCFA Central League opener.